Just over five years ago, as we Californians considered recalling our then-spendthrift Democratic Governor Gray Davis, I read that Davis had hired 40,000 new state employees since taking office.Â I had hoped his successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would fire all those recent hires, as would as business owner whose costs far exceeded income.
In the Golden State, just as in the federal government, Democratic politicians and public employee union leaders try to ignore such fiscal realities:
While the nation’s economy is reeling, as the United States, and California, plow into a recession, public employee union bosses continue to be advocates for the notion that somehow public employees are â€œmore privilegedâ€ that their counterparts in the private sector and should be immune from the laws of economics â€” you know, that when less money comes in, less money can go out?Â Unfortunately, that â€œGolden Ruleâ€ applies in government just like it does in the private sector.
At a time when state government is facing a huge financial shortfall, directly attributed, by the way, by an overspending orgy that was completely advocated by the state’s public employee unions (I do not recall any unions calling for less spending on new government jobs, and instead calling for increasing state reserves to deal with potential shortfalls such as the one we are facing today), the unions are pouring proverbial fuel onto the fire by opposing any cuts in pay or benefits for their employees, hiding behind negotiated contracts.
I’ve always thought public employee unions should be barred by law from contributing to political campaigns. If their candidate wins, when the times comes to renew employee contracts, they’ll find themselves on both sides of the bargaining table, leaving those who foot the bill for their policies, the taxpayers, out. Shouldn’t government officials represent the taxpayers?
State elected officials risk a loss of campaign cash if they defy the unions. And now our government is short of cash.
And it’s not just public employee unions to whom our state officials are beholden. So beholden are they to environmentalists that they risk depriving the San Joaquin Valley, the most fertile region in our state, indeed perhaps the most fertile region in our country, of the water needed for irrigation:
. . . environmental groups successfully sued the state to reopen the water flow to the San Joaquin river year round, in order to try and revive the habitat for a species of salmon that used to spawn in the river. Nevermind that the salmon currently spawn somewhere else, and no one is sure if the salmon will even come back. Regardless, this means that Friant Dam just outside of Fresno, which feeds the San Joaquin River, due to this environmental rule, will have much less water that in previous years.
This is driving farmers out of business. Just read this piece to get a sense of the looming catastrophe for California agriculture. Special interests are destroying the state that once offered such promise.
On the national level, it was Barack Obama’s campaign against such interests which won him election to the highest office in the land. Let’s hope he does a better job of standing up to them than has the chief executive of the nation’s largest state.