PLUNDER! “those who work in government have manipulated the system to enrich themselves… they write and manipulate the rules for their own advantage…”

28 Jan

Having discussed the effect public employee pensions have had on our economy, Steven Greenhut attacks the arguments the unions have used again and again to justify the salaries and benefits. 

Public Choice Theory” is the public sector’s “childish defense used to protect their outsized pay and benefits.”  And we’ve been drowning in it around here eversince the Camp Fire. 

Who do you really think is paying for those “Thank You First Responders!” billboards? The signs on bus shelters saying “Awesome Dads Have First Responders!” A very slick advertising campaign – anybody care to call the billboard companies and ask them who paid for it?

Because that’s “Public Choice Theory” – “We put our lives on the line every day to protect you. We are doing the public good. You need us to provide these essential services.” 

I’m not saying we don’t need government, but we do need to put these people back in their proper place. Which, according to the statistics, is Number 12.

According Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the time this book was written (published 2009), law enforcement was the 12th most dangerous job in the US, with fisherman and logger Numbers 1 and 2, and garbage collector Number 11. Even taxicab driver and farmer came in ahead of law enforcement.

Why? Here’s a statistic – a cop hasn’t been killed in the line of duty in Chico since the 1930’s. Every year the chief of Chico PD and his top brass take the day off, PAID, to have a little ceremony for the man. They trot his relatives in from out of town. This is what Greenhut is talking about, pretty shameless and blatant self-promotion. 

My husband was a construction worker for over 20 years – also ahead of law enforcement on the list. When he was working on a job at an apartment complex, he looked out a window just in time to see a stucco worker fall  from a second story scaffold, land on the concrete below with a muffled thump. He’d stumbled over his own feet, those scaffolds are not even as wide as a public sidewalk. 

Our electrician friend was doing a job on an old building when the roof collapsed and he fell two stories to the floor of the building. He was injured so badly he had to retire – without the plush public pension. He was lucky to get an insurance settlement to cover his hospital bills. He now survives on disability and his wife’s wages at a sandwich shop.

Greenhut opines, “Everybody who provides productive labor in society is ‘doing the public good.'” He’s right. My husband and his friends provided housing – something the local government is always saying we need more of. My husband worked on every type of housing from high end “custom” homes to low-income housing. He put the floors in the Jesus Center, the Esplanade House, and the old folks housing complex there on Park Avenue. 

My husband worked 40 plus hour weeks, but got no overtime. When he worked on public jobs he had to pay his helper prevailing wage, but as a contractor my husband’s salary was whatever he walked away with after a job. He also had to provide all the materials beyond the actual flooring material – glue, nails, carpet strip, all of that. We paid for his vehicle and all the expenses that went with it. 

Meanwhile, cops get an allowance for everything from their uniform to their gym membership, added to their pay. We give them new cars regularly, fitted like tanks. They get free health insurance, life insurance, and long term care insurance. And when they die, their spouse gets their pension until their own death. Aside from free uniforms and gym memberships, the rest of Chico city employees get all the same goodies.

The argument that public workers “are public spirited folks” falls apart when you realize what they’re doing to our economy. Greenhut reminds us, “enrichment of certain members of government workers is coming at a high price of higher taxes, unsustainable debt, and decreased services.” 

All of which has  been threatened increasingly in Chico and Butte County. 

Here’s an article the Enterprise Record ran a couple of weeks ago – if this isn’t a tax pitch, I’m a monkey’s uncle. 

https://www.chicoer.com/2019/01/15/theres-been-more-traffic-in-chico-since-the-camp-fire-and-thats-not-changing-anytime-soon/

Every time a member of city management gets a chance, they hit the local media to run a pro-tax pitch. As Greenhut says, “those who work in government have manipulated the system to enrich themselves… they write and manipulate the rules for their own advantage…”

3 Responses to “PLUNDER! “those who work in government have manipulated the system to enrich themselves… they write and manipulate the rules for their own advantage…””

  1. Scott Rushing January 28, 2019 at 10:18 am #

    Dear Juanita:

    My complaint, which is a selfish one, concerns the officer-involved shooting of my son. Had the chief of police and DA trained the men for de-escalation and saving lives, as opposed to training only for use of firearms, batons, chemical agents, jiu-jitsu, choke holds, etc., my son might be alive, the taxpayers might not be paying retired CPD Sergeant Scott Allen Ruppel $104,000 a year pension, and the taxpayers would not be paying for staff time, legal fees, and court costs to defend the CPD.

    I enjoy your articles. *Scott Rushing*

    *Ventura, CA*

    On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 7:07 AM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: “Having discussed the effect public employee > pensions have had on our economy, Steven Greenhut attacks the arguments the > unions have used again and again to justify the salaries and benefits. > “Public Choice Theory” is the public sector’s “childish defens” >

    • Juanita Sumner January 28, 2019 at 10:55 am #

      You’re right mr. Rushing, that is just exactly what I’m talking about.

      Thanks for keeping this in the public eye. Like Mildred Hayes says, the longer you keep a case in the public eye the more likely you are to get your culprit.

  2. bob January 29, 2019 at 6:52 pm #

    Newsom is going to give billions of the state’s surplus to the pensions. Of course that’s our money and he would never give any of it back to us or even use it to fix the roads.

    Next fiscal year, Newsom wants to give $3 billion to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. He also proposes giving up to $5.9 billion over four years to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

    https://calwatchdog.com/2019/01/22/gov-newsoms-budget-shows-pension-fixes-flopped/

    And remember, in 2014 the state bailed out CalSTRS. The politicians are going to try to create a perpetual bailout of these pensions and of course you will be paying for that.

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