To the Editor,

Over the last ten years there have been many sad tales of people in financial difficulty. There are underwater and foreclosed mortgages, students having difficulty paying for the cost of their college education, small businesses going bankrupt, layoffs, pay cuts, and short hours. Even our teachers and state employees’ benefits were cut in order to avoid a financial catastrophe by the state of Wisconsin and our local municipalities and school districts. All of these circumstances caused financial pain to the unfortunate individuals unwittingly caught during the course of living their life.

Add to that, the Teamsters pension fund is about 50% funded and set to cut pensions of their members. The shortfall was caused by a bad economy and bad planning. I am sympathetic to the plight of the Teamsters as I am to the problems of everyone else who has suffered losses. We all know that the Illinois and New Jersey pensions will at some point need to be curtailed and I will sympathize with those unfortunate individuals as well. But, I find it difficult to understand why taxpayers, including many who do not even have a pension, should bail out the Teamsters or anyone else.

Perhaps, the Teamsters are their own worst enemy. They have had the economic and political clout to negotiate wages and benefits that eventually drove many of their union companies out of business and no longer able to support their retired employees. In Wisconsin we avoided the spectacle of a bankrupt pension system through Governor Walker’s Act 10 reforms. Unfortunately, the Teamsters did not have the foresight of Governor Walker and now want government help. If congress chooses to subsidize Teamster pensions, will we have to bail out Illinois and New Jersey pensions next?

Dennis Gasper

Chair, Sheboygan County

Republican Party

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