September 27, 2013
You’ve been lied to. Pension supporters and public employee unions have long gotten away with claiming average pension payments are in the thirty to forty thousand dollar range. That was dishonest. Those averages include pensioners who worked part of their careers in jobs not covered by the pension, part time workers and early retirees. Those retirees have additional retirement income from other sources. The relevant averages are for people who work a full thirty years in a job covered by the pension system. They are excessive. Keep in mind as you look at these that the mean household income in Illinois is just $57,000:
That’s what they get for the rest of their lives, plus healthcare, automatic annual increases irrespective of inflation and survivors’ benefits. This chart was compiled by the Illinois Policy Institute using numbers published by the pensions themselves. Their full report on average pensions is here. As usual, expect to see ad hominem rejection of their work. Instead of responding with facts, their critics habitually dismiss them as right wingers or fringe libertarians. In fact, they provide the most professional, objective research available on state fiscal matters, and it’s a scandal in itself that the state does not undertake the same research they do. Every lawmaker in the state should read that report. Every voter, too.