I am retired teacher and live on a pension that was negotiated through my union and public employer. I get attacked on a regular basis for having my nose in the government trough. My answer to those with that attitude (including a sibling) is the following:
Years ago, I was forced to change careers. My private employer of nearly 10 years sold the company, made a bundle (enough to start a local bank) when they sold to Big Business and left me without employment and benefits. I looked at my career options in Shasta County and decided on a plan. I would get my teaching credential so I could seek middle-class level employment with benefits including healthcare, sick leave, vacation and pension.
Spending two years, I took summer school and semester work at Shasta College. I commuted to CSU Chico, charged living/education expenses on credit cards and time-managed two young children, husband and household. This was not by accident, but specifically done for the benefits and pension at retirement age.
I tell those that bad-mouth my public employee retirement earnings that I regret that they didn’t make the same choices that I did. I looked into the future with my desire to stay in the Northstate during old retirement and planned ahead. I took losses in wages in the short term for guaranteed secure retirement income in the long term. Obviously, I could not see into the future that a Republican Administration was going to take the country to the brink of economic disaster. I did not know that the stock market would tank and investments/retirement accounts/property values would plummet. Many American middle-class families were devastated during those years. Because of decisions that I had made, my financial security was not affected too much.
Now that I have retired, early in old age by most measures, I do not apologize to anyone for my public employment retirement earnings. My planning ahead had no affect on your choices, or your planning. So, I will not feel sorry that I hope to have a long, financially secure existence and collect publicly funded retirement income for many years to come.
Anita Brady lives in Redding.