Skip to comments.Plundered by Our Own Employees
Posted on 10/04/2010 10:21:14 AM PDT by Kaslin
Steven Greenhut may be the most annoying man in America. No, its not because hes a mean guy or that he has created some silly reality show like Jersey Shores. Its because Steve, a former Orange County Register columnist, writes books that you need to read, but are totally infuriating and raise your blood pressure a good fifty points.
Even though I met Steve while he was covering a variety of political events in his pure journalism days, he didnt inform me when his first book, Abuse of Power, was published in 2004. I actually learned about it when it appeared on the great Thomas Sowells year-end book list, and I figured that if it was good enough for Sowell to recommend, it had to be worth reading. After Steve shipped me a copy of the book which addresses the issue of eminent domain I immediately began to read it over that holiday season. After each chapter, I sent Greenhut cursing emails about how disgusting the abuse of eminent domain was, and how reading his book had made me peeved. Yet despite my fury, I bought 24 copies and had them mailed to local politicians I knew in California so they too could understand the abuses that wPlunderere taking place in the name of our Constitution.
Greenhut is up to it again, but this time Steve had the book shipped to me upon release. The subject of this book is one with which I am much more familiar how excessive public employee compensation and benefits are driving our local, state and federal governments into bankruptcy.
Plunder! still managed to infuriate me and teach me more than I could have imagined.
Greenhut not only addresses the financial exposure we face from the unsustainable pension and health care benefits that our public employees are receiving, but describes how they are taking advantage of us in other ways. For example, several years ago unions argued that in order to protect their privacy, police and firefighters should not have their addresses available in the Department of Motor Vehicles database. Whether or not that makes sense, it has now been expanded to virtually every government worker in California. That amounts to over 1 million people, which is 1 out of every 22 California licensed drivers. If you get a photo-ticket for a questionable move at an intersection, you will likely have to pay a very hefty fine. But because their information is not in the DMV database, public employees and their families virtually never receive that same ticket. There are a myriad of other traffic violations they escape because of this exclusion, and its not just cops who are protected its also the school janitor!
Most of us have still not gotten the message that our public employees are soaking us. We want to believe it is still the 1960s when government jobs were unattractive except for the extra holidays they got off. If you watch TV shows made today, they leave you convinced that the hardworking cop is struggling and if he crosses the line he will lose his pension. Neither is true in the real world, and there is a reason you cannot get some of these jobs. After all, if you could retire after 20 years with a lifetime pension almost equal to your final pay and then go take another job wouldnt you sign up? Greenhut told me that the one thing that upset him most of his findings was how impossible it was to fire any government employees. Layering union contracts on top of civil services rules has made it near impossible to dismiss the worst scofflaws.
But you say their job is really dangerous. You would be shocked to see the list of eleven professions that are statistically more dangerous than law enforcement, including taxi cab drivers and roofers, and they dont earn nearly as much or receive any of the benefits that your local cops get. Plunder! largely uses examples from California, but dont think this book is applicable only to the Golden State. Thirty states allow public employees to unionize, and each one of them is suffering most of the same consequences of out-of-control public employee unions and the related costs. These people want their money and they dont care if they drive your state into bankruptcy. In California, the unions are pressing the legislature to eliminate bankruptcy as an option for local and county governments. First, they create utterly unaffordable contracts, and then demand that they be paid no matter what by eliminating the taxpayers last means of legal protection. There is no limit to the greed of these unions, or to their desire to manipulate the tax laws to extract all of your money. If you live in a state that doesnt have public employee unions, this book is also for you. It is a wakeup call to make sure that you do not allow this to happen in your state. In addition, we are all affected by the excessive salaries and benefits now almost twice the rate of the rest of us that are now given to federal employees.
A highly readable book, Plunder! will make you wonder why the Tea Party movement does not include everyone in America who isnt a public employee. It is time, if you have not already, to realize that your local teachers, firefighters and policemen are not selfless individuals, but people who live by different rules than you and I. Read Plunder!, and then buy copies for your unaware friends. It will be the nicest thing you could do for them.
Public employees are the barbarian hordes of our time.
Which is why public employees shouldn't be allowed to unionize. They already have employment protection via civil service rules.
All of what is happening now is simply a return to feudalism, where a self selecting monarchial class runs a protection racket and extracts money from the serfs for "services" they don't need and wouldn't pay such high prices for.
The last time there was a major fire around here (the Summit Fire), it was instructive to note the line of CDF trucks for days on end in a staging area miles away, having nothing to do with firefighting, sitting there burning diesel and "earning" overtime, laughing, carrying on... The guys taking most of the real risks were the pilots and prison crews.
The work rules for firefighters have been rewritten so that women can do the job. Needless to say, they were under-represented in the officer corps, so bunches of them were promoted over experienced males. When they come to "inspect" our place, these babes pretend to be the experts, when in fact they are clueless. I've fought massive burn piles on this land in places they tell me they won't even go. If there is a blaze some day, I don't want these people even near my house unless I'm somehow not home so that I can start a backfire down the hill in peace. A suit, a hose, and a drip torch is all I need. From what I can tell, they don't give a crap if my home stands or falls anyway.
There's no amount of money I should spend to make things easier for them, even if their specifications are unproven and turn out to be ineffective or even counterproductive (like enclosed sofits). As things are now, the County fire captain is clearly in cahoots with the local material suppliers, constantly rewriting specifications to sell more and more of their goods, whether they work or not. I had to install 275' of 4" pipe because they wanted it for the trucks they might have "someday." I know one neighbor who, to get a remodel permit, had to triple the size of the driveway in front of his house for a hook and ladder truck, even though there is absolutely NO WAY that truck could ever get up the county road to the house, much less up the lower part of his driveway!
I dedicated a hilltop for emergency evacuation on my plot plan before I built my home. They approved it and then wouldn't take the landing coordinates for two years (I raised hell until they did). Then, years later, they showed up demanding four times as much land for the purpose.
It wasn't that way even twenty years ago. Those guys knew what firefighting is about but they're long retired now on fat pensions. The real dirty work of firefighting these days is done by CCC prison crews.
Juicy bucks for life... and retirement too.. even after a few months of "service"..
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
Alexis de Tocqueville
And that goes double for bribing government employees.
>>It wasn’t that way even twenty years ago.<<
Agenda 21 wasn’t that way twenty years ago.
This trend started a LONG time before Agenda21; it got started with Jerry Brown in the 70’s. It just took ten to fifteen years after that for the dedicated goons to take over the unions and the courts to effect affirmative action before the work force came to this misbegotten end. Agenda21 has this kind of thing as a line item, but it’s more a consequence than a cause in this instance.
After 9/11, all firefighters are heroes...beyond reproach...a good proffesion ruined by union thugs ...sad...sad...sad
When the public wizes up and cuts off their pensions, the union bosses have only themselves to blame. Here’s a little story I sent to a friend:
I am a professional forester working in what is left of the timber industry in northern California. Two days ago I had an inspection of the logging area, and three State employees showed up, two from the Dept. of Forestry and one from the Dept. of Water Quailty. I suggested we carpool, and on the way back from the woods the subject turned to the sad state of California finances and what the unions are doing.
These guys were all in their 30’s, and it is obvious that there is a major difference between the leadership and the rank & file. One of the comments was “What are they gonna do, lay-off all the field workers and just retain upper & middle management? Like that is going to work.” Another stated, “When I go to the union meetings and I hear someone in leadership say, ‘I don’t see anything in this for me, so I am voting against it.’ or ‘ I don’t care what situation the State is in, we have a contract, and we are entitled to those benefits.’ I am simply amazed. What else can I do but finish my pizza and go home.”
I asked them if they heard about what Chris Christy was doing in New Jersey; they had not, so I explained the video you posted where he takes on the teacher in the town hall meeting. They thought for a moment and all agreed that Christy was right, the teachers unions were responsblie for the layoffs because they refused to accept concessions. The leader of our small group, a voting member of the union, stated that many his age would “take one for the team” (ie reduced wages and benefits) in order to keep others in the union for being laid off. It is the older members in leadership who refuse to concede.
The kicker to all of this is the contract negotiation process. Evidently, union members sit on both sides of the table. One union member represents the State, and the other represents the union. There was nervous laughter as we drove down the mountain. I asked if this was negotiation in name only, the reply was “The process is compromised, but works if both individuals truly believe in the process.” I had no idea it was this bad.
Keep up the good work,
The situation you described is why socialism doesn’t work. Two groups deciding what to do with other peoples money. They each believe they have a right to it.
Good post! Check out the graphs on this link
see post above; sorry for the delay; just got back from a summer in the woods.
ITs Bush’s fault. He should have invaded california first!
How are things “in the woods”? Did you see anything noteworthy?
The graph is an accurate example of what occurs during the lifespan of anything using OPM. Take a look through these cities and you can see which ones are in trouble.