The Golden Age of Government Unions is Over

Posted by on Jun 15th, 2010 and filed under Economy, Government Spending, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry from your site

By Neal Boortz

People are finally starting to catch on, at least we can hope that they are. The jig is up for government union workers. The people are sick and tired of footing the bill, in the form of tax increases, for the ever-increasing salaries and benefits of government union workers while they, the taxpayers, are having to cut back. Meanwhile, one would expect that the more you pay for something, the better quality you will receive. In fact, the opposite seems to be true: the more we pay to support government workers, the less productive and efficient they become. Of course this cannot be said for every government worker, but the system as a whole has returned very little for our increasing financial support. We, the taxpayers are what the San Francisco Chronicle appropriately calls, “captive consumers.” We can’t choose NOT to pay taxes that fund government workers and their unions. This is different from the private sector where you, as a consumer, could choose to spend your money elsewhere, or not at all, hence the word “captive.” We are slaves of government workers, their union demands and the growing sense of entitlement in this country.

The unions – the goons running the show and the people who buy into it – can no longer claim victimhood, upset that they are being demonized by the public at large. That isn’t going to fly because the people of this country know full well that these unions brought it on themselves. THEY are the ones who demanded pay that in no way reflected their value or any increase in their work product. THEY are the ones who demanded unrealistic pension plans, allowing members to retire at absurdly young ages with set payouts and benefits for life. THE UNIONS are the ones who used their political power to make sure that the people in office knew that the unions put them there.

Here are just a few examples from California, where government union contracts have the state on the verge of a Greece-like meltdown. In California, a state where government pension costs have increased by an amazing 2,000% over the past decade. This is from Daniel Borenstein at the Contra Costa Times:

  • A retired Northern California fire chief whose $185,000 salary morphed into a $241,000 annual pension
  • A county administrator whose $240,000 starting pension was 98 percent of final salary
  • A sanitary district manager who qualified for a $217,000 pension on a salary of $234,000.

But it is not just California, folks. By 2020, seven states are expected to run out of money to pay for government pension plans, according to Joshua D. Rauh of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Those states are Illinois, Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, Hawaii, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Knowing that can’t afford the employees they already have, this hasn’t stopped these states from hiring even more workers! At a time when our private sector has shed millions of jobs, these states have hired a combined 9,700 workers to both state and local government payrolls.

Amazing. If you’re not already disgusted, maybe you can read some stellar research on the topic. Look no further than this article by the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards: Overpaid Federal Workers.  Here are some of the highlights (if you can call ’em that) of his findings:

  • In 2008, federal civilian workers had an average wage of $79,197, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. By comparison, the average wage of the nation’s 108 million private-sector workers was $50,028.
  • In 2008, federal workers enjoyed average benefits of $40,785, which compared to average benefits in the U.S. private sector of just $9,881.
  • In 2008, federal worker compensation averaged $119,982, or double the private-sector average of $59,909.
  • Between late 2007 and mid-2009, the number of federal workers earning more than $150,000 more than doubled, even as the economy fell into a deep recession during that period.
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the rate of “layoffs and discharges” in the federal workforce is just one-quarter of the rate in the private sector. Only about 1 in 5,000 federal nondefense workers is fired for poor performance each year.

Government workers should not be able to participate in collective bargaining. Period. End of story. Not with captive consumers of their products. This isn’t rocket science. Their demands are virtually endless and there is nothing that government can do to stop them. At best, you can vote union-friendly politicians out of office. So that is a place to start – at the ballot box in November.

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This article was originally published by Neal Boortz at www.boortz.com

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