GOP Targets Public Workers 060111
Republicans in the state are lining up on what some call the “taxpayer rip-off” of pensions for public workers.
The battle is being waged hardest in Costa Mesa where council-people are considering slashing the workforce in half. Anti-public worker councilmembers site “union bosses” and say they’ll outsource services to corporations.
The most radical Republicans celebrate the breaking of collective bargaining of public employees as a step toward reducing the increasing costs of pensions. In some instances, pension costs constitute a significant portion of local government expenditures. Some estimate public employee pension costs in California to be $3 trillion dollars.
Tea Party members support the end of collective bargaining and the start of privatization of government services. The leader in the Costa Mesa city council effort to dismantle public service is James Righeimer, a wealthy real estate developer who has long been opposed to working people negotiating effectively with employers.
As the gap between the wealthy and the middle class grows, U.S. Executives continue to earn hundreds of times more than their lowest paid workers. The average pay and benefits for the executives of our large corporations is about $11.5 million dollars a year. Each.
Indeed, the wealthiest 1% of our population controls 35% of the wealth; the top 20% control 85%, leaving the other 80 % of us to share the 15% that’s left.
The family home, the largest investment for most average people, has lost value even as executive salaries, benefits and pensions stay remarkably high.
The pensions the GOP complains about were agreed to at a time when public employee compensation and benefits were lower than their private enterprise counterparts. The cities counties and states that negotiated those pensions should have planned to pay them. Do we, as a society, feel we shouldn’t properly compensate teachers, engineers, social workers and the others who do the work we citizens need done?
Part of the justification for extremely high executive salaries is that it takes a big paycheck and plenty of benefits to attract qualified people to the job. How is this not also true of our teachers and engineers, our snow plow drivers and our eligibility workers? What jobs do we want to attract the worst candidates for?
For many, particularly those in rural areas, government jobs are the only way to ensure a comfortable retirement. The pensions targeted are the rewards for years of competent public service.
Collective bargaining has given us the 40 hour work week and a living wage. Are we really so eager to diminish our ability to negotiate with our betters?
Private enterprise has not shown that equal services can be provided for the same costs as public employees, and there is no question they do not create jobs of the same value. Privatization of tasks once performed by public servants caused the costs of the wars in Iraq an Afghanistan to skyrocket. There is only one reason to support privatization: to reduce the benefit to workers in favor of benefits to corporations.
If you believe capital makes a nation strong, continue to vote for the wealthy. If you think good jobs, stable families and a skilled public work force makes a nation strong, don’t vote for these greedy job killers. Our public jobs should be the minimum standard of employment any of us should expect, with a measure of fairness and compensation commensurate with the job we want done.
The legislators are, themselves, public employees, and they get retirement benefits. Learn about the system HERE
More on executive pay from the other people who exploit workers, the union:
Want to learn more about the disparity of the wealthy from the rest of us? Go HERE