If Teachers Only Knew…

I know teachers. I used to be one, in fact. And I know that no teacher would knowingly steal from his kids and grandkids.

That’s why I am appalled that teachers across Pennsylvania are being told by the PSEA, the public school employee labor union, that if they don’t lobby their State Representative to pass HB 2497-which is up for a vote on Monday-they could lose their pensions.

Nothing could be further from the truth. And if teachers really understood the truth about the pension “reform” bill being pushed during the lame-duck session in Harrisburg, they would be appalled.

The truth is that their union is using them as political pawns to steal money from their kids and grandkids.

Here’s how.

HB 2497 would make two primary changes to Pennsylvania’s largest public pension plans. First, it would maintain, albeit at a slightly reduced level, the state’s current defined-benefit pension plans for new teachers, legislators, judges, and state workers. This means they get a guaranteed payout, not a 401(k)-type plan like the rest of us have. Second, it would “refinance” the current unfunded liability so that legislators and school boards can put less money into the pension plans today, and push off paying for them until some future tomorrow.

It is this latter proposal that steals billions of dollars from our children and grandchildren. By allowing politicians to put off paying these promised pension benefits, they can present the façade of pension reform. But it is “generational theft,” plain and simple. And it is founded upon a lie-the claim that this will “save money.” HB 2947 will no more save money than will skipping your mortgage payments today and leaving them for your kids to pay them off tomorrow.

The teachers I know love kids, especially their own. None would try to stick their kids and grandkids with their mortgage by skipping payments now. And it’s shameful that their union has scared so many of them into lobbying for a bill that would do essentially the same thing-but on a massive scale-with their retirement benefits.

Teachers are unknowingly being used by their union to lobby for a bill that not only steals from future generations, but is unconstitutional and thwarts real reform of our unaffordable and unsustainable pension systems. If they only knew, teachers would oppose HB 2497 and encourage their elected officials to do likewise.