Public Employees Unions Are Sinking California

Steven Greenhut has a great piece in the Wall Street Journal about how the evils of public employees unions are destroying California.

Greenhut begins by noting that with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country California is losing its “productive citizens” to other states but is still saddled with an economy killing surfeit of public unions employees that “drive costs up and fight to block spending cuts.”

Greenhut goes on to report that the unfunded pensions that California is stuck with has increased by 2,000% in the last decade because of the overweening power of the unions.

Approximately 85% of the state’s 235,000 employees (not including higher education employees) are unionized. As the governor noted during his $83 billion budget roll-out, over the past decade pension costs for public employees increased 2,000%. State revenues increased only 24% over the same period. A Schwarzenegger adviser wrote in the San Jose Mercury News in the past few days that, “This year alone, $3 billion was diverted to pension costs from other programs.” There are now more than 15,000 government retirees statewide who receive pensions that exceed $100,000 a year, according to the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility.

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That is an absurd reality!

Greenhut goes on to offer some hope that some people are beginning to learn how bad the unions really are, but I am not so sanguine. It isn’t just California that has this problem. Thanks to New York City (in 1962’s “Little Wagner Act”) it is every state in the union that has this problem.

In any case, read Greenhut’s piece. It is worthwhile reading.

(Cross posted at

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