Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Date: Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 8:35 AM
Subject: Re: Guest Opinion: Cutting retiree benefits is not the solution
To: Andrew Brod

Dr. Brod,

I've copied my representatives in the North Carolina General Assembly, Senator John Alexander and Representative Chris Malone.

Regarding your opinion column in the Triangle Business Journal (

Illinois, with New Jersey and California not far behind, is in a position of being unable to afford current retiree benefits. As a result of an Illinois Supreme Court decision, the Governor failed to enact pension reform, leaving the state unable to pay it's bills. Being the first state to move new hires to defined contribution plans, it will take Pennsylvania two decades to close the gap in it's state employee pension plan.

The North Carolina State Health Plan has $43B in unfunded liabilities. Higher co-pays and deductibles are going to be part of the solution. Given the inability to segregate current retirees by years of service, requiring current and future employees who may have more years of service than certain retirees to pay the entire cost of reducing liabilities is an abject injustice. Cuts must be made and for retirees to demand their benefits not be touched is unrealistic.

I went to see Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles speak at “Decision Time: Bowles, Simpson and the Federal Budget” at Duke Chapel in 2012. They told the audience that without fail, everyone who came before their committee said the same thing, "please balance the budget, but don't reduce mine." How then, are we to reduce spending? I don't believe your column answers that question.

The State of North Carolina spends 2/3 more than it receives in tax revenue, the balance being made up in Federal funds which the state oversees. What happens if those federal deficit dollars were to cease? It's not a pleasant scenario. Yet, are we to double the debt again under Trump? No doubt the DOW would go to 40,000. When does interest on the debt become an unsustainable drag on the economy?

I think the answer is to shrink the public sector as spending has overreached revenues at all levels of government. Currently, those in the private sector work longer hours and for more years than their public sector counterparts. I don't think this can be explained simply by a difference in levels of education as implied in your column.

At the end of the day, repudiating the national debt, repealing the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 et al, and passing a balanced budget amendment is the way forward. While this isn't a likely scenario, we could then begin the task of mitigating over $100T of unfunded federal liabilities, not to mention state and local jurisdictions. While this may be of little concern to you, it will be to future generations.

Thank you for your time.


Name Withheld
Raleigh, North Carolina

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