No immortality in pension system; workers pulling the plug

F.M. Esfandiary, futurist philosopher and chronic optimist, said immortality could be achieved by replacing worn-out organs with synthetic substitutes.

He died of cancer of the pancreas — a body part for which no substitute has been created and which Esfandiary denounced just prior to his death as “a stupid, dumb, wretched organ.”

If the Commonwealth of Kentucky dies or has to take the bankruptcy law, will it be because of our dumb stupid wretched organ: the old-age pension system? Where we gonna get $43 billion which our political class bestowed on itself for somebody to pay down the road?

We are about down the road. State workers are running out of Frankfort like guineas, grabbing what corn can be cracked as soon as possible.

I-64 is clogged off with white SUVs as legislators run home to become judges so that their pensions will triple after one term.

Teachers might as well retire. Many of them were crushed by the recent pronouncement by the Great Leader that the matters they taught were of no consequence — yea, even harmful — to children.

Kids need to learn more practical things, like whether or not pension plans are promises, and if they are, who has to keep them. Pensions are not much of a promise in the coal industry.

Blaming its administrators for the weakness of the Kentucky Retirement System is like blaming Oliver for not having enough gruel. Decisions about pensions and investments and such are political ones, under the supposed watch of a board. The General Assembly overloaded the wagon. It is not fair to blame the mule.

Somebody needs to figure out how to get the state some money quick. They have about sold off those used Crown Victorias. For reasons we cannot explain, snake oil did not revive the coal industry, so we do not have the severance tax to misuse any longer.

We could have pay-per-view of Wildcats basketball games on television and a public auction of tickets. Only corporations would be at games but, hey, they are just people, too.

Or we, as a state or commonwealth — and I cannot remember the difference, but calling us a commonwealth is like the one guy in the room who answers “present” — could build our own roads and bridges with state workers, own our own blacktop plants and quarries, and run our own nursing homes.

Now that kind of stuff would save enough money to pay pensions, but you would have to sneak and do it.

Anybody who ran for office by going against road contractors and nursing-home owners will end up no more than a lobbyist, or even a lowly English teacher.

Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville lawyer, at

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