- Apr 12, 2008
- Reaction score
- real world
Greedy Unions Raid Pensions, Then Blame Wall Street
Posted 06:56 PM ET
Politics: Reports from a variety of media reveal California state employees are spiking their pensions to stratospheric levels, leaving nothing for their brother employees. Sorry, can't blame Wall Street for this one.
In a laudable instance of the mainstream media doing its job, the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, Bloomberg News and City Journal have all exposed "pension spiking" by California public employees. Basically, they manipulate rigid unionized pay and promotion systems to raise their pensions well above what they earned during their working years.
The Los Angeles Times on Saturday pieced together tough-to-get data from Kern and Ventura counties and found a fiscal horror story: In Kern, 77% of public employees with pensions greater than $100,000 actually get more than they did during their working lives.
In Ventura, the figure is 84%. Kern has a $761 million pension shortfall, in part due to the practice.
Both the practice and the lack of transparency are signs of a rotten system. Bigger counties like San Diego and Los Angeles also permit pension spiking.
But L.A. asked the Times to fork over $63,000 for "research" or they won't reveal a thing. Seems it doesn't bother these bureaucrats to pay out the spiked cash, but knowing how much it is is too much of a bother.
That "not my job, mac" mentality brings to mind that California, according to City Journal, is ruled by a triumvirate of public employee unions — the California Teachers' Association, the public safety unions and the Service Employees International Unions — all of whom pay politicians off to let them spike their salaries.
The SEIU is especially worth looking at, since it pushes the idea that Wall Street — not out of control spending — is to blame for California's disastrous finances.
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SEIU leaders like Stephen Lerner were there at the creation of the Occupy protest movement and have filled those crime-infested campouts with their members. Occupy blames bankers and the private sector to soften up the public for for higher taxes.
Now, it turns out, SEIU members and the elected allies they've supported with campaign cash have been ripping each other off blind. Some "spike" their pay and reward themselves with hefty pensions — leaving nothing for the others — while blaming "the rich."
The reality is, either the system goes bankrupt and the pension obligations turn to dust, or it thrives as a new system is put in place, one which links effort with reward, such as in Chile.
Will that come? Not as long as the SEIU has decided to blame Wall Street for its own rent-seeking thievery from the public purse.