How Government Employee Unions Plundered the Public’s Money

March 10, 2011 06:31

With the public employee unions making themselves heard in a fight against Governor Scott Walker, we thought this would be a great time to talk to Steven Greenhut. Steven is the author of Plunder: How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives, and Bankrupting the Nation.

By Steven Greenhut at Whiskey and Gunpowder


For instance, in the City of San Diego, which has not been the only city that’s struggled throughout California. I mean Los Angeles, they’re talking about bankruptcy, and the City of Vallejo in California went bankrupt, largely because of the pay and benefit packages of public employees. But in the City of San Diego, 70 percent of their payroll budget goes to retired workers for pensions and healthcare benefits. I mean you just do the math on that.

There’s a new report from the Little Hoover Commission, which is a government agency, an oversight agency in California. It’s a nonpartisan, “good government” commission. Here’s its conclusion: “Pension costs will crush government. Government budgets are being cut while pension costs continue to rise and squeeze other government priorities.” So yes, they are going to push the cities and states to the brink, and it is that serious.

And as you spend more and more money on these pensions, pay and benefit packages for public employees who are really the affluent elite, the parks are becoming decrepit. The streets are not being fixed. The schools are getting worse. So that’s the context of that.

Gary: I see. Is this a partisan issue?

Steven: Well, it’s become one to a degree because the republicans, the new republicans are taking on the unions, and the democrats are the party of unions, of government unions especially.


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