April 24, 2010


The New Fat Cats: The indefensible pensions of public-sector employees. (Fred Barnes, May 3, 2010, Weekly Standard)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, state and local government salaries are 34 percent higher than those for private sector jobs. Okay, that’s partly because government workers tend to have white-collar jobs. Benefits, 70 percent higher for these workers, are the real rub. And benefits for government retirees are the most flagrant. They’ve become a national scandal, a fiscal nightmare for states, cities, and towns, and an example of unfairness of the sort liberals routinely complain about but are mostly silent about just now. [...]

The lofty pay scales and benefits for government workers—as compared with those in the private sector—suggest the idea of “public service” isn’t what it used to be. Once, taking a government job meant a sacrifice in pay and benefits. No more. Most bureaucrats have secure, recession-proof jobs with automatic salary increases, paid leave, and lavish benefits, notably in retirement. And they get to retire earlier than private sector workers.

Christie has asked, Is this fair? The answer is no. But if you happen to think it is fair, I’d advise you to click on the website pensiontsunami.com. It’s operated by one person in California who daily posts fresh examples of pension abuse across the country.

But lack of fairness isn’t the biggest problem with exorbitant pensions. The pension explosion has created a fiscal crisis in many states, cities, and towns across the country, California being the worst off. Not only are pensions for government workers a perilously unfunded liability for many states, their soaring cost is causing sharp cuts in other programs.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 24, 2010 5:57 PM
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