California Pension Scandal Exposes Greed

Look at this story from foxnews.com:

Efforts to overhaul California’s public pension system are getting a boost as taxpayers voice outrage over a former sheriff who asked a court for $75,000 more a year in retirement pay — on top of his current annual pension of $276,000.

The latest battle in Ventura County is being fueled by the case of former Sheriff Robert Brooks. He retired in 2011 with a salary of $227,000. Today, he collects $50,000 a year more than that, with guaranteed cost-of-living increases. But that wasn’t enough. Now he’s suing for $75,000 more, claiming it’s allowed under the law. (end of foxnews.com excerpt)

This guy Brooks is not a unique corporate executive with special talents. He is a member of the new Robber Baron class in California – unionized government workers, mostly Democrats, whose salary, benefit and pension payments are bankrupting entire towns, counties and the state itself. This is happening in many very liberal states and cities.

This comes after private-sector unions bankrupted hundreds of companies including General Motors and Chrysler, broke the freight railroads, and busted the entire steel industry in the decades following World War II, killing millions of American jobs or sending them overseas. In 2012 a strike permanently shut down Hostess Bakeries, sending 18,000 workers nationwide to the unemployment line.

This guy Brooks is a classic liberal. He has every possible monetary reward, including decades of generous public salary, but then ends up saying, “Why can’t I have more?” This is what drives all labor-union behavior; obsessive, compulsive greed for more, more, more. This is like Michelle Obama saying that she was never proud of America after she had gotten a free scholarship to Princeton and was ushered into Harvard on affirmative action. In short, you can never satisfy a liberal. They are congenitally insatiable people who always want more.

This greed grows as Democrat power grows. Corruption in America is no longer manifested by judges getting envelopes-full of cash. It is happening out in the open because the socialists like Brooks have become so brazen.

Have you ever heard of a US military member seeking exorbitant pay and severances? No, in fact hundreds of thousands have died defending our nation and they have given the ultimate sacrifice with honor. Do you see Tea Partiers demanding multi-million-dollar government subsidies like National Public Radio gets? No, they just want to be left alone by the government to make their own way. Meanwhile a sheriff in California wants more, more and more taxpayer cash. It is shameful. This is why our nation is suffering. Because certain people are demanding and getting more of our national wealth, leaving less and less for the rest of us.

California now has the highest tax rates in America to compensate all of these overpaid government employees, and these taxes are driving prosperity away. Wealthy people are packing up and leaving, just like they are leaving heavily-taxed New York state too. The productive middle class is departing California by the hundreds of thousands per year, reversing a 150-year migration into California as a Land of Opportunity. Even Intel, the “grandfather” of the Silicon Valley computer industry, is moving much of its operations out because California has become yet another high-tax, anti-business, socialistic enterprise.

California today is controlled with an iron grip by the Democrat party, which is what happens when prosperity departs taking along with it the more conservative people who build wealth and opportunity through hard work, sacrifice and ingenuity. Today every single statewide office in California is held by a Democrat and Democrats are using their political power to steal the people blind. The famous corruption case in Bell, California was stunning. In that case, city officials of Bell, a small blue collar community, were receiving public salaries that were reported as the highest in America.

How has this all come about? It is because California in the 20th century became one of the richest places on earth, and wherever there is money liberals follow it and steal it.

Finally, however, the people of California have had enough of these politicians like sheriff Brooks and are demanding reforms. “People are so excited that finally somebody is going to do something about this problem,” said Jim McDermott, of Ventura County Taxpayers Association. “I’m pretty confident that we are going to follow in the success that we’ve seen in San Diego and San Jose. We’re going to be successful without question.”

This is a national trend, to take on these public-employee unions. Republican governor Walker did it in Wisconsin and won accolades in a liberal state. And of course it is the Taxpayers Association that is leading the charge… you know, the conservatives who represent the hard-working people who pay the bills. Public-employee unions, as might be expected, support the sheriff.

The new proposals say that public employees need to maintain their own 401k retirement plans, where they save their own money out of their paychecks – which are lavish to begin with – rather than getting a public pension which is guaranteed by and paid directly by the taxpayer. But the unions want no part of that.

Union activist Rick Shimmel said, “I think (the new proposals are) ideologically driven by people who simply don’t believe that there should be a pension system for public employees, period. We don’t see the 401k as a pension plan. We see it as a savings vehicle to help people during their retirement years. 401ks carry no guarantee, and that’s the distinction between a defined-contribution system and defined-benefit system.”

Look at that… he says that 401ks carry no guarantee. Yet most Americans have them but somehow a 401k is not good enough for the precious California public employees. This shows the arrogance of the public sector in a place like California where the unions have enormous power and have gotten whatever they want over the last 30 years as the Republican party has largely disappeared.

But now 73% of California voters favor moving new public employees into 401ks, according to a California Public Policy poll. So even the liberals in California are finally getting the message that liberalism is ruining them. Reported foxnews.com:

Analysts say the long-term erosion of private sector pensions is breeding a resentment over generous public payouts. That disparity helped fuel votes in San Jose and San Diego in 2012. In San Jose, voters moved new employees into 401ks and gave current employees a choice of raising their contributions or taking a cut in future benefits. San Diego approved the 401k transition for all employees but police. Both measures are being argued in court by unions who claim vested benefits and contracts can’t be changed.

Brooks’ attorney told the Pacific Coast Business Times his client was promised his retirement package would include the standard pension and supplement, a nice boost in addition to already generous pension terms — which allows retirees to “spike” their pensions upwards by using banked vacation time, sick time, bonus pay and uniform allowances. (end of foxnews.com excerpt)

So in other words the unions want to maintain a salary system where they can get regular and generous taxpayer-funded increases and then a retirement system that allows them to “spike” their pensions. This is classic socialist theft. Then they claim that a 401k type of plan will prevent the government from getting the best people.

“Well, that’s just nonsense,” McDermott said. “Somehow the private sector throughout the country has attracted and retained great talent with the 401k-type system, so I have no doubt that we’ll be able to attract and retain top quality talent.” Reported foxnews.com:

An analysis by the Los Angeles Times found 84 percent of the roughly two-dozen Ventura County retirees with pensions in excess of $100,000 made more money in retirement than working. When chief county executive Marty Robinson left in 2011 making $228,000, his annual pension totaled $272,000. The chief executive of Solano County retired with a $371,000 pension. A police chief in Stockton left with a $204,000 annual pension after just eight months on the job. An Orange County attorney retired with a pension of $226,000 — $14,000 more than his final salary. He also got a check for $352,097 for nearly 2,500 hours of unused sick and vacation time. In California, 20,000 employees have pensions in excess of $100,000. (end of foxnews.com excerpt)

Friends, look at those figures. These are not superhuman Bill Gates-type individuals. These are government workers in California who usually choose this life because it is their meal ticket and because most of them could never find this type of salary in the private sector. They are living sumptuous lifestyles, with everything guaranteed by the taxpayers who are being hammered to pay for it.

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