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As a retired state employee, I was bewildered to read Mick Mulvaney’s July 4 column “Trading short-term benefits for long-term security is wrong.” I could not believe that he did not better understand how public pension plans work. They pay benefits out of the assets of the retirement system, not tax money, and they use the average of the good years and the not so good years in deciding how much to pay retirees.
For example, last year the retirement system earned almost 13 percent, but retirees got a 1.4 percent cost of living adjustment. This year the fund is not doing as well but by using a five year average, retirees will receive an increase of up to 2 percent because the cost of living has gone up more than 2 percent.
While our economy is not doing that well today, it is generally considered safe to assume that over the next 30 years our gains will be greater than our losses and the retirement system’s assets will grow. At least that’s what the experts tell us.
I was also bewildered with Mulvaney’s accusation that his opponent would use taxpayers’ money to buy votes. His statement not only unfairly besmirches Mandy Powers Norrell, but by implication the 154 members of the S.C. General assembly who voted to pass the retirement bill he opposed. In fact Mulvaney was one of only seven members of the state legislature to vote against it.
In conclusion, we need a senator who will represent his or her district constituents.
We need a senator who will listen to other people and admit that he or she is not an expert at everything. We need a senator who will work with his or her colleagues to achieve a public good.
We need a senator who will not resort to using unwarranted accusations against his or her opponents just to score points.
I will cast my vote for the candidate who best meets this standard and who commits to faithfully serving the citizens of Lancaster County and S.C. Senate District 16.