thanks to a system that worked damn hard to stay solvent and keep politicians fingers out of it(added: yes, every member contributes, out of every paycheck). I keep reading about public employees in some places- like the city manager and police chief in Bell, California- and wonder just how the hell they got into that position? Did the people who set it up just not CARE what trouble they were setting up for the future? Or did they somehow think they could always take enough from other people to keep it going?
For that matter, on a lot of workers just how the hell did they wind up with paychecks so much above what a similar worker in private industry gets? Positions I was in, it was a major accomplishment to get within close reach of private industry for similar work. Screwed up as it is in some ways, seems Oklahoma was a lot better organized on such.
I mentioned politicians fingers; the state teacher retirement system was/is royally screwed up for precisely that reason; the teachers unions spent so much time sucking up to (Democrat)politicians, in many cases by letting them raid the retirement system("Hey, they'll pay us back! And we're gaining influence with them!!") that they, some years back, found themselves deeply in the hole(lots of people had warned of it for years, but...). And then the bastards basically expected the state to step in with other people's money and fix it. Fat chance; there was enough knowledge of the problem and how it came to be that the "You raise my taxes to fix their problem- especially when you crooks plan on keeping using their plan as a slush fund- and I'll lend a hand on the rope!" response stopped that. They tried to wiggle it in, but it didn't work. Despite all the "Teachers are IMPORTANT! Teachers should be helped!" pleading/threatening.
Unrelated to the above, I've notice two things over the past year: one is that an amazing number of people seem to think that 'retired from this job' means you're wealthy; not here, not me. The other is a lot of people seem really upset that you actually have some free time to do what you want, or need; and they want to find things to fill up your time, whether you're wild about it or not.