The Union-Driven Crisis That Could Be Coming to a City Near You

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!

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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1 Response to The Union-Driven Crisis That Could Be Coming to a City Near You

  1. Bonnie McGuire says:

    The labor unions are our government of, by and for themselves now. I remember the discussions during Gov Browns first time as Gov….and the reward battles (which Union gets what for donating how much to whom during elections) during the state’s budget process. The biggest donor union is first in line recipient. How can any government survive such corrupt division within…financed by taxpayers on the outside? They will say they pay taxes also, but they pay with tax revenue salaries. That’s why it’s long been said that there is a certain balance required regarding the size of government and the private sector that pays for it. But how do you reason with unreasonable people with a one track mind with one focus….”What’s in it for me?” President FDR expressed his concern about it last century.


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