How Unions Are Destroying California

Steve Malanga of City journal has a great piece detailing how California’s public employee unions are destroying that once great state.

Malanga starts by repeating the ominous warning to the politicos at the state capitol in Sacramento made by a Service Employees International Union chief. “We helped to get you into office and we got a good memory” the official said on to California’s pols. “Come November, if you don’t back our program, we’ll get you out of office.”

To me this is reminiscent of the warning by the old Soviet Union’s Nikita Kruchev who said that “we will bury you.” Only, the SEIU has far more power to bury our governments than the old Soviets had!

Malanga goes on to discuss the incestuous relationship that public employees unions have to left-wing politicians and the danger they pose to effective government.

… The unions’ political triumphs have molded a California in which government workers thrive at the expense of a struggling private sector. The state’s public school teachers are the highest-paid in the nation. Its prison guards can easily earn six-figure salaries. State workers routinely retire at 55 with pensions higher than their base pay for most of their working life. Meanwhile, what was once the most prosperous state now suffers from an unemployment rate far steeper than the nation’s and a flood of firms and jobs escaping high taxes and stifling regulations. This toxic combination–high public-sector employee costs and sagging economic fortunes–has produced recurring budget crises in Sacramento and in virtually every municipality in the state.

Malanga properly see California’s woes as a “cautionary tale to the rest of the country” that will find the same “unaffordable benefits” the cost of which California’s unions foisted upon a dwindling private sector that is groaning under the weight of these illicit benefits to government workers.

From there, Malanga reviews the disastrous political history of California’s unions and why their actions have destroyed the state. It is a tale of overreach, corruption, and outright theft and a tale that is repeating itself in every state of the union.

Each state would do well to heed Malanga’s “cautionary tale.” Please do take some time to read Malanga’s long, but worthy piece titled “The Beholden State, How public-sector unions broke California.”

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