100 years ago today one of the headlines on the front page of The Washington Herald (DC, November 6, 1911) reads:
PENSION DEFICIENCY SHAME TO DISTRICT / Washington Lags Behind Other Large Cities / PROTECTORS NEGLECTED
The article goes on to compare the ways in which pensions and benefits are provided for/guaranteed in Washington DC with other major American cities (Detroit, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Philadephia….) The writers argue that the situation leaves the city open to an emergency and that those who protect their fellow citizens should not ever be dependent on private charity for the benefits that they have earned from years of service and dangerous work.
An article in The Washington Times (page 2) on the same day frames strongly protected pensions as something the chamber of commerce supported:
\”The business men of Washington believe with the Commissioners,\” said Mr. Gude, \”that Congress should make provision for their pension fund being kept up to the mark by permanent appropriation. It is not a matter of charity but of duty and the needs of the fund should be supplied by all the tax-payers.
It is fascinating to look back over 100 years and see public service/government pensions and benefits being framed not only as prudent but morally required by the very businessmen who are now being claimed as role models by modern political activists who wish to gut public service pensions and benefits.