Liberty News

You taxpayers should be ashamed of yourselves, says Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation. You big, selfish jerks should be happy to pay the taxes that gives government employees all healthcare practically for free and allows them to retire at 50 with their comfortable 40-year-long retirement pensions that pay government union members twice what you’ll ever see in your golden years.

I mean, who do you taxpayers think you are, anyway?

Interestingly enough, even the soft-headed, left-leaning voters of California seem to be getting sick and tired of the freebies give government union members at this point.

A recent L.A.Times poll found that Californians are about done with the ritzy government employees sweet deals and are becoming tired of being the union’s sugar daddy. They are in increasing numbers desirous of caps on the spiraling unearned government union pensions.

Seventy percent of respondents said they supported a cap on pensions for current and future public employees. Nearly as many, 68%, approved of raising the amount of money government workers should be required to contribute to their retirement. Increasing the age at which government employees may collect pensions was favored by 52%.

This high statistic seems to be shocking the left coast’s left-wingers. But it comes as no surprise to Tea Partiers, for sure.

Investors Business Daily puts it in clear terms.

Fact is, public employees live high off the hog, with their earnings exceeding the private sector. Unlike the public, which must save for retirement through 401(k)s and inefficient, unprivatized Social Security, public employees get “free” pensions after far less work — and never worry in the slightest about losing their jobs.

It means Californians will work until 70 so that public employees can retire at 50. California’s Public Employees’ Retirement System now faces $75 billion in unfunded liabilities that someone will have to pay.

But remember, government employee union chief Art Pulaski thinks you are a selfish jerk if you are a bit reticent to pay someone else to live high off the hog while you do without. It’s soooo selfish of you, ya know?

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A few weeks ago I wrote that unions have driven every state budget into a hole from which it isn’t likely the states can easily dig themselves out. I did not at that time reference the Pew report on the pensions mess and I want to revisit it here.

On April 5, I said, “The worst mess that states are in is because government unions have been handed luxurious and unsustainable pensions and healthcare plans by those very Democrat politicians that unions have paid off to do so. Again all at the expense of the suffering taxpayers.” The Pew report shores this up thoroughly.

In fact, the Pew report from early April 2010 even understates the problem, not because of any bias but because the stats that they used were taken from stats assembled in 2008 because that was the last year where full records had been compiled. Further, we must remember that these stats also came before the market crash ushered in during the age of Obama.

As notes, “For example, we know that New Jersey’s pension is now underfunded by $54 billion dollars, as opposed to the $34.4 billion when Pew published its report.” (For more data click here)

All this has occurred because government unions have given millions to Democrats so that Democrats can write union-friendly laws and give union members outsized and unearned benefits with payscales higher than anyone’s in the private sector. Then, when Democrats follow through with their union payoffs, unions give even more to the politicians for even more favors. It is a never-ending circle of favors and payoffs to each other in an incestuous system of which the voters have no influence.

As Pew said, “Far too many states are not responsibly managing the bill for their employees’ retirement.” That is an understatement.

Jeff Dunetz said it well drilling the argument down to Wisconsin: “Unions have been claiming that Wisconsin was trying to break the unions. What this pension data shows is that it is the Unions who will be breaking the states.” His point works in every state.

This is a destructive, anti-American cycle that needs to be stopped. Remember, government unions never existed until about 1958. So they have not always been around. In fact, even the left’s patron saint, FDR, was wholly against government unions.

Government unions have been a destructive and failed experiment. They need now to be eliminated.

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-By Warner Todd Huston

It must be nice to work for the government. Sadly it’s the most lucrative way to make a living in American history. To “win life’s lottery” all you have to do is get a job with the government — whether the federal or state government — at practically any level and voila, welcome to easy street. Here we have yet another case of the milking of the taxpayer by our “public servants,” this time it’s school superintendents that jump from state to state in order to double or triple their pension takings.

The Chicago Trib revealed the newest way for “public servants” to rip off the public by reporting that it has become common practice for school superintendents to “retire” from a school district in one state only to migrate to another state and take the same job in order to earn another lucrative pension. Some of these guys are making upwards to $500,000 a year off the backs of the taxpayers.

When questions over their greed are put to them these “public servants” demur from being characterized as fatcat, double dippers. They say that they are acting entirely within the law. They claim that there isn’t a single thing wrong with what they are doing. Well, maybe legally. Morally is another question.

But the thing is, strictly speaking to the letter of the law, these ripoff artists are entirely right. There is no law saying that they cannot stick their hands miles deep into the pockets of the overburdened public pension systems and grab with both fists. So, what is going on here? Well, once again, the influence of public employee unions, greedy Democrat politicians, and a wholesale disregard for fiscal responsibility and the health of the state is what is going on here. In other word, it is business as usual.

See, the problem resides a bit less with the double dipping fatcats (the moral question aside) and more with the fact that government pension rules have proclaimed that these people can “retire” at but a few years of service in the first place. Where most real workers — you know, people doing useful work in the private sector — sometimes have to work up to forty years or more in order to be afforded the luxury of retiring these state workers can retire at thirty, twenty, even fifteen years of service and often at ages as young as their late 40s or early 50s. This leaves them decades of serviceable working years to glom onto another state job and earn an entirely new and separate pension.

This would not be a problem if we were not allowing people that work for the state to “retire” as such young ages and after so few years on the job. It isn’t just school officials, either. It’s all up and down the line in state pensions. People are “retiring” only to go on to a new job, doubling pensions, and becoming quite well off. All the while, the people paying the bills are lucky if they can ever retire, working themselves into the grave so that state workers can quit working at relatively young ages and lean back enjoying life to the fullest.

The fact is that Americans are commonly living into their 80′s these day. Retiring at 50 as a state worker leaves nearly half a lifetime to work other jobs or enjoy lives of leisure and this must stop. The taxpayers cannot afford the lifestyles of the rich yet not so famous folks that work for the state for a few years then retire to their own personal Midas mines of wealth!

It’s time that voters rise up, throw out of office these politicians that work hand-in-glove with the public employees unions and pension plans, and begin to right this ship of fools.

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