An AP article today serves as a reminder of anecdotes many of us have heard (and others experienced) of friends, family members and acquaintances taking pay cuts in order to keep their jobs:
It’s one of the bleak realities of the economic recovery: Even as more employers are starting to hire, the new jobs typically pay less than the ones that were lost.
So, it’s not just our already employed friends working for less money, it’s also the newly employed.
But, while private sector employers are slashing pay checks, it remains boom time for government employees, even in cash-strapped states like California. On the last state of the year just concluded, a state judge in the Golden State
. . . ruled that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had abused his discretion in ordering furloughs of state workers, dealing a blow to the administration’s efforts to cope with the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch said the administration must halt the furloughs for workers represented by three unions, including Service Employees International Union Local 1000, which represents 95,000 state employees.
The Governor had ordered “most state employees to take three days off a month without pay as the state faced a massive budget deficit.” Even a former Democratic Speaker of the California Assembly finds that “80 percent” of the state’s budget deficits is “due to employee costs.” And, as George Will notes today, it’s not just the cost of current employees:
It took years for servile liberalism to turn the state into what [William] Voegeli calls a “unionocracy,” run by and for unionized public employees, such as public safety employees who can retire at 50 and receive 90 percent of the final year’s pay for life.
A first step toward righting the budget woes of the Golden State would be for the legislature to do for state employees what private sector employees have done for theirs: slash salaries. And while our legislators are at it, they should slash pensions for public sector retirees as well and prevent able-bodied retirees from receiving their pensions until they’re 65 (or 70).