To me, it’s simple. Pensions are wages people earn, but defer until their retirement to provide security for themselves and their families in the later years of their lives. This is not a handout, it is an earned benefit.
The biggest part of this leads back public education. My wife is a public school teacher, and has been for 26 years. Without a doubt, teaching is a calling for most people. But that doesn’t mean we can cut away every benefit, slash their pay cut school funding, and simply hope we continue to attract good teachers to our classrooms. Salary and benefits need to be competitive with other professions. I have a daughter in college, and one on the way to college. Young people are looking for a career that pays well and offers security. Take away both, and you are seriously limiting your pool of talent.