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Readers React: ‘Double-dipping’ lawmakers? More like elected leaders collecting the pensions they earned

The California state capitol building in Sacramento.
( Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I can be outraged about many things: people in power denying climate change, military strikes on civilians, bigoted politicians lauding Martin Luther King Jr., heads of agencies created to protect the public bent on destroying those agencies, the list goes on.

I am, however, not outraged by legislators who earn a salary for being a legislator and also collect a pension earned by working for many years in a job that had a pension as part of their compensation package. (“These 14 California legislators are getting two government checks a month,” April 4)

And, contrary to California Pension Reform Vice President Jack Dean’s assertion that “the public never envisioned … [pilng] one check on top of another,” I am a member of the public, I understand the situation, and I think that receiving deferred compensation for a former job while working at a current one is just fine.

I’ll save my outrage for something outrageous — there is no shortage of real fodder for me.

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Andrew E. Rubin, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) asserts that “early retirement is [not] the cause of the unsustainability of our state pension system,” and that “individuals that work 25 to 30 years in any profession, regardless of their age, deserve the dignity to retire.”

He completely disregards the fact that increased longevity due to modern medicine has resulted in some people living as much as half their adult lives in retirement. No defined-benefit plan with that kind of timeline, plus inflation-adjusted payouts, can sustain this, especially when financed largely by people who don’t themselves enjoy that same benefit.

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Connie White, Pasadena

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To the editor: I have several relatives who worked in the private sector for 10 or more years before deciding to become teachers. The Social Security benefits for which they paid are minuscule because of their teacher retirement benefits.

So, the jobs that they worked at before counted for much less now?

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If California lawmakers want to double dip and the state lets them get away it, then more power to them. At the very least, shouldn’t the government pay the teachers back for the money that they put into Social Security from their earlier jobs?

Mark Walker, Chino Hills

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To the editor: California legislators who have earned pensions elsewhere are receiving said pensions. This causes absolutely no outrage on my part.

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I can’t believe you spent time trying to make an issue out of this.

Susan M. Cuttriss, Fillmore

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