Our view: Uniformed workers` pensions strain government and opposing view: it`s the nature of the services

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Our view: Uniformed workers` pensions strain government and opposing view: it`s the nature of the services


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http://www. usatoday.com/cleanpri nt/?unique= 1301081451974

Our view: Uniformed workers` pensions strain governments

Updated 3/16/2011 8:36:23 PM |

Americans are rightly grateful for the men and women who protect them by becoming police officers, firefighters or members of the armed services. But with governments at all levels facing severe budget shortfalls, it is time for a frank conversation about how that gratitude should be exhibited.

Proclamations of appreciation are certainly in order, and higher pay might be warranted in some cases. But all too often, gratitude has taken the form of benefits that are more generous than those of other public-sector workers, wildly out of line with what private-sector workers get and squarely at odds with the public interest.

Topping the list of excesses are plans so indulgent that they allow people to retire and collect pensions after 20 years of service, regardless of age. That means they can start collecting something in the range of half of their final pay as soon as their late 30s or early 40s, sometimes with cost-of-living increases. They can stay longer for a bigger percentage, or take another job and "double dip." In some cases, they can game the system by piling up overtime in their final years, raising their benefits. Access to heavily subsidized health care is also often part of the deal.
This largesse drives experienced people out of service while draining resources needed to pay less qualified replacements.

Despite such absurdities, benefits for uniformed personnel tend to be the most unassailable in tight budgetary times. In Wisconsin, for example, Gov. Scott Walker exempted police and firefighters from deep cuts, and retained collective bargaining rights for their unions while terminating those representing teachers and other public employees. (Perhaps not coincidentally, some of the public safety workers` unions had backed Walker`s campaign for governor.)

This isn`t the case everywhere. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie has begun sparring with police and firefighter unions, after a year of focusing his budget-cutting attention almost exclusively on teachers. And Ohio Gov. John Kasich has his sights set on all unions, as well. But in most states and localities, putting future taxpayers on the hook for unaffordable benefits is the political path of least resistance.

Our view: Uniformed workers’ pensions strain government and opposing view: it`s the nature of the servicesNameCourse numberInstructor’s nameDate The author indicates that people serving in the police, army and fire stations receive an unjustifiable pension given the prevalent deficits in the American budget. The thesis indicates that even though these workers provide essential services, there is need to critically revise their pension plans for it to be commensurate with what the federal government can afford within its budget. The title of the article suggests that the author’s view has already earned support from many other Americans when he uses the term ‘our views’. This gives the article a sense of credibility because the title suggests that his view is widely accepted. When large masses of people support a certain view, it attracts more people to support. The author has a confident tone as evidenced by the choice of the title. It indicates that in as much as the author intends to persuade the readers to accept his view, he is almost certain that they are unable to help but agree with the argument. In the first paragraph the author attempts to appeal to the readers’ pathos when he states that the issue of pension for the uniformed workers requires a frank expose. In other words, he calls upon leaders to enjoin him in making an honest, truthful and genuine analysis of the situation. This statement also incorporates an aspect of logic in the sense that it also requires the audience to subject the issue to rational thinking so as to clearly identify its demerits. He intends for the readers to pause and explore other cost effective ways in which the government can express gratitude to the uniformed workers. This is an ingenious way to capture the interest of the reader because it sets the climate for critical analysis of his claim in the early stages of his argument. It also draws in the reader to be an active participant in the evaluation of the argument. He allows the reader to move from being a passive reader to an active reader because he presents his argument in a thought provoking style. In his first argument, he concedes that high pay is merited in some cases but it is also grossly un-harmonized with benefits that other public workers receive. He also at the same time indicates that the gratitude packs are also over and above what the private sector workers earn. This argument is inadequate and it is presented in an overly generalized format particularly because it fails to fully substantiate claims with specific examples. Conceding that some workers deserve high pay is an indication that the author is courteous and open minded. However, the argument fails to use competent and authoritative informa...

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