Steven Moore writing in the Daily Signal.
For “Outrageous Government Scam of 2014,” it’s hard to compete with the news of the supersized public employee pensions in California. If you haven’t already heard: In 2013, an assistant fire chief in Southern California collected a $983,319 pension. A police captain in Los Angeles received nearly $753,861.
Talk about a golden parachute. And the report on Golden State government pensions contains a list of hundreds of “public servants” who have hit the jackpot with annual pensions of a half million dollars a year. It’s like they’re playing the game “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” with taxpayer money.
By some estimates, the unfunded public-sector pension liabilities in California have eclipsed $750 billion, which means in a few years residents will be paying their already-highest-in-the-nation income and sales taxes not for roads, bridges, schools and public safety, but for retired employees living like Daddy Warbucks.
I had an opportunity to meet Stephen Moore when he was writing for the Wall Street Journal at Free Market Conference sponsored by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. I was impressed with his knowledge and ability to peal back the layers of a problem.
He is writing about all Cities and our State, but the County and our towns are in similar trouble. I wanted to discuss the County budget impact of rising fuel prices with a Supervisor, but he told me I was takling small ball, the big ball budget issue for the County was public service salaries and pensions. SESF raised the pension issues in 2007, in a paper TR0712-1: Unfunded Liabilities – Our Community’s Fiscal Time Bombs. The authors Mike McDaniel and George Rebane made a presentation (NevCO_UL_BOS_27oct09_final_MCM) to the BOS and they were dismissed with a wave of the hand, the BOS assuring Mike and George they had the problem under control.
How can they have a problem under control, which they have no ability to change. The problem was baked in to the pension process by political leaders that are long gone, they will not be around to see our children pay for their scam.
The crisis dates back 20 to 30 years ago, when public employee unions negotiated fat pension deals with state and local politicians that were like ticking time bombs in municipal budgets. The politicians who bought union votes didn’t care much. They’d be long gone when these grenades detonated, and the fiscal carnage began.
As taxpayers, you would be wise to pay attention to this growing time bomb in a City and County near you. Yes, those!