But ask yourself the same question you should have been asking then: To what extent is the problem that the retirement benefits for unionized public sector workers have become too generous? And to what extent is the problem that retirement benefits for everybody else have become too stingy?
I would suggest it’s more the latter than the former. The promise of stable retirement–one not overly dependent on the ups and downs of the stock market–used to be part of the social contract. If you got an education and worked a steady job, then you got to live out the rest of your life comfortably. You might not be rich, but you wouldn’t be poor, either.
That was the old way, when the U.S. had little competition. Half the world walled itself off from globalization because of their experiment with Marxism. Now that most countries have moved more towards capitalism, there is more competition and more freedom. The paternalistic troika of big government, big business, and big labor cannot deliver the standard of living in a more complex, competitive, decentralized economy. We had this debate in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The genie is out of the bottle, now.
Further, we can’t afford the public employees currently on payroll. There are too many with benefits that are too rich.
There are plenty of studies that show how rich is the compensation of public employees.