A pollster delivered strategic advice to public employees advising them how to campaign against pension reform: tell voters that San Jose Mayor’ Chuck Reed’s proposed reform is all about “eliminating” pensions.
That’s good advice from the PR perspective. “Note that ‘eliminating’ fosters a visceral negative response from voters,” the pollster reported. “Over 50 percent are VERY unfavorable to ‘Eliminating Police, Firefighters, and Other Public Employees’ Vested Pension Benefits’ (54% VERY unfavorable) AND “Eliminating Public Employees’ Vested Benefits” (51% VERY unfavorable).”
There is only one problem with this savvy strategy: It’s a lie. Reed’s proposal does not eliminate public employee pensions. That’s absurd. Reed’s proposed reform would merely allow cities going broke under the weight of unsustainable pension obligations to reduce future pension costs by trimming pensions from the present going forward.
That will allow cities to restore public services such as police, fire, road maintenance, library hours and other aspects of city governments being sacrificed to feed the pension monster. It would put the good of the many ahead of the good of the few. It is appalling that a pollster would think this reform is not only worth fighting but worth lying to the public about.