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Hey, California, Public Sector Unions Love You Long Time

John on October 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

The fact that Jerry Brown or his aides talk like sailors on leave isn’t all that shocking. What’s really interesting about this audio clip is the pure public graft involved in gaining union endorsements.

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What this call suggests is that, behind the scenes, union endorsements are based on one simple fact, who will do most for unions’ bottom line. In the call itself, forget the portion after Brown “hangs up,” the issue is which horse the unions will jump on based purely on their calculus about who will win. What matters to them isn’t California’s future, it’s which candidate will be in power and, as a result, which one will be in a position to bleed taxpayers dry for the union’s benefit.

Just two days ago, the California Center for Public Policy released a report on the outrageous pensions enjoyed by California public sector unions:

Tens of thousands of public employees in the area of public safety are among the highest paid individuals in any occupation. The $2 to $5 million in annuity value that these employees may receive through pension programs in their early to middle fifties makes these employees’ comprehensive career compensation among the highest in America.

The $1 million to $2 million in annuity value that more than a million non-public safety employees in California will receive through their pension programs in their middle fifties to early sixties similarly makes most California public employees de facto millionaires by their middle to late fifties.

Another report released yesterday showed that Orange County alone is on the hook for 41.2 billion in unfunded public sector pensions. And again, that’s just one small county. The whole state is drowning in red ink of this magnitude. It should go without saying that this is completely unsustainable. The next governor needs to deal with this problem immediately.

For the record, I’m a big fan of the individual cops, firefighters and teachers out there, most of whom are good people doing important work, but none of them deserve a million dollar golden parachute for their work. Sorry, you just don’t. It’s time to cut these absurd pension packages down to size.

Brown should of course apologize and, if it was an aide speaking, perhaps fire this individual. But, honestly, I’d like to see someone ask Whitman how she got this endorsement and what, if anything, she has promised in return.

At this point, it’s fair to say that whoever the unions support most is probably the greatest threat to Californians and California’s future. Put bluntly, it’s the unions that are strutting in front of the candidates, looking for the best payout. I’m pretty sure there’s a word for that.

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