Rock the Capital co-founder Eric Epstein was quoted in the Dec. 13 Patriot News article Departing Pa. lawmakers to reap pension benefits; Piccola receives $211K lump sum, $83K yearly as saying, The math doesnt add up: The city is broke, the pension system is broken, but one guy is retiring with more than his salary and the other guy is being paid more than a middle-class family earns in a year to play golf.
Epstein called the pension payouts to the departing lawmakers unsustainable, and serve to create a special class of retired, ruling class welfare recipients. It is compelling rhetoric.
Im all for an honest and open discussion regarding the financial crisis of the state of Pennsylvania, including the impact of what is now being described as the pension liability, but to this point, that has not happened. The real numbers are rarely cited, and the truth is deliberately distorted because it needs to be more than mildly provocative to be sold effectively.
The truth is that in the past 10 years, 52,000 SERS members retired with an average monthly pension of $2,233 and an average lump-sum disbursement of $47,000. So, the average pension benefit is worth a fraction of the outlier, and paid out to a much larger group in the bell curve that has nothing to do with making law.