Opinion: Don't touch pensions, healthcare benefits, says Massena man
To the Editor:
It bothers me immensely when an employer, and more important a Town government, looks to the pensions and healthcare earnings of their retired employees as a mechanism to balance their oft blighted budgets.The mindset that these “entitlements” are even open game to the budgetary axes is inhumane and abusive.
First because pensions and healthcare benefits are not “entitlements”, but rather earned. You as an employer offered up these benefits with specific conditions to be met by your employees to earn them. In return you received countless years of commitment and service to your organization. To me, modification, reduction, or even cancellation of these awarded benefits, after the fact, is simply theft.
Second, your employees planned the security of their future, and those of their families around your promises. You now swoop in to take away that security at a point in their lives in which they are most vulnerable and have little, if any options in which to recover from such a deep financial impact in their lives. To me, that is not only inhumane, but egregious abuse of the elderly.
Pension and healthcare benefits are not an on-off switch. At age 65 and older, you cannot simply “switch” to another pension or health insurance program. Have you ever seen an application for an “affordable” healthcare plan? Most invariably they ask three key questions, which I won’t detail here, but suffice to say answering any one of them in the affirmative and affordability exits out the door.
And the prospects of someone 65 and older reentering the workforce to “re-earn” or replace a reduced and/or stolen pension within the remainder of their Golden Years?
So you want to modify, reduce, or eliminate these costs to spend more elsewhere? Fine – do it for your current working employees who still have options and “grandfather” these benefits in for those who have earned them with their loyalty and commitment to you.
To do anything less is simply inhumane and abusive.