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County workers fund pensions

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As a former employee of Placer County who retired “early” after only 37 years of service, I feel obligated to respond to Jim Ruffalo’s Perspectives column of Nov. 22. In his column he raises some points that may warrant further discussion. What I don’t think Mr. Ruffalo takes into consideration is that 15 percent or more of each employee’s paycheck is withheld and invested by the Public Employee’s Retirement System, which is then used to make monthly payments to retirees. Monthly pension payments are not paid directly from county coffers, but from PERS investments. This is money that employees have earned whether or not they get to “touch” it before it is invested. The decision as to whether the agency pays the contributions up-front or later is made by upper management and elected officials, not your everyday public employee. It is easy to say that the everyday tax-paying citizen funds these pensions, which they undoubtedly do, while overlooking that I and every other consumer in this country pay the wages and thus the retirement accounts, big or small, of the entire private sector every time we buy goods and services. I also find it interesting that many question why public employees receive the pension that they were promised, but don’t seem to mind that thousands of able-bodied people receive taxpayer money for welfare, SSI, etc., for contributing little or nothing in return. Bob Woods, Colfax