It’s no wonder Gloria Allred wants Californians to think the letter Meg Whitman’s husband says what the Democrat wants it to have said — and not what it actually says. She wants to distract us from the real problems facing the (once-)Golden State will have to face, problems that her candidate for governor, Jerry Brown, as I pointed out on Tuesday, helped create when, in 1978, he signed the Dill Act, giving powers to public employee unions that even the father of the modern Democratic Party opposed.
California’s public retirement systems are more than three times underfunded than state officials projected, a total of $326.6 billion when combining the state’s teachers’ and public employee programs, according to a new study released today by the Foundation for Educational Choice. . . .
“These numbers are mind-boggling,” said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice. “It’s a pipe dream to think that California can provide a quality education, keep prisoners behind bars, pave roads and meet other obligations when such enormous bills are coming due.”
The state of California reports a $75.5 billion pension shortfall — $40.5 billion to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System or CalSTRS and $35 billion to the California Public Employee Retirement System or Cal PERS.
But the Foundation’s study found that if more accurate, private-sector accounting measures were used to determine outstanding pension obligations, the total pension shortfall would be an astounding $326.6 billion with an additional $51.8 billion in unfunded employee health benefits.
The state of California faces real fiscal problems which can’t be swept under the rug about a news media eager to demonize a Republican and powerful state public employee unions eager to keep the Democrats in power.
While reporters are obsessed with how much money Meg Whitman has been spending on her campaign, they seem entirely disinterested in the amount public employee unions have been spending on behalf of Brown — and other Democrats. And their spending is far more consequential, given that such special interest spending indicates influence.
We can’t contain this problem of public pensions unless we have a governor willing to stand up to the public employee unions. Unfortunately, Brown, is too closely tied to those organizations which helped create the problem to offer a real solution.
No wonder those unions — and their allies — are so eager to demonize Whitman. She is aware of the problem and has put forward proposals, like this one, to address the crisis.
UPDATE: Steven Malanga has more details on how public employee unions are corrupting our politics and bankrupting our state.