From Jim Flanigan’s column in the L.A. Times today:
On top of that, these public pension plans are quite generous compared with their private-sector counterparts.
But the unions’ case is weak. Traditionally, the rationale was that public employees were entitled to sweet pensions because they weren’t paid all that well. Today, however, public employees are more than holding their own.
The average weekly pay in state government is $966 — well above the private-industry average in California of $805. (Local government workers pull down an average of $850 a week.)
Meanwhile, concern about the future of CalPERS, as well as the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, is mounting. At present, the funds have only enough money to meet 88% of their future obligations because the municipalities that pay into them, beset by their own budget woes in recent years, have deferred their annual contributions.
See, this is a problem for me.
I’m a liberal; I believe that government has a vitally necessary role in aiding the weak, feeding the poor, and defending workers.
This is a great indicator of a serious problem. We’re told that we have to raise taxes to keep government from abandoning the poor – and there’s some truth to that.
But while we haven’t been looking, we’ve bought labor peace with the public employees by offering them – not only job security, superior benefits, a great pension plan – but higher wages as well.
And so the middle-class state employees soak up the money that ought to be going to the poor.
Does anyone see why a liberal might have a problem with that?