The PJ Tatler

Why the Coming Pension Bomb Will Destroy Your City and State

Eventually, you really do run out of other people’s money:

For “Outrageous Government Scam of 2014,” it’s hard to compete with the news of the supersized public employee pensions in California. If you haven’t already heard: In 2013, an assistant fire chief in Southern California collected a $983,319 pension. A police captain in Los Angeles received nearly $753,861.

Talk about a golden parachute. And the report on Golden State government pensions contains a list of hundreds of “public servants” who have hit the jackpot with annual pensions of a half million dollars a year. It’s like they’re playing the game “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” with taxpayer money. By some estimates, the unfunded public-sector pension liabilities in California have eclipsed $750 billion, which means in a few years residents will be paying their already-highest-in-the-nation income and sales taxes not for roads, bridges, schools and public safety, but for retired employees living like Daddy Warbucks.

Glenn Reynolds likes to talk about the “worst political class” in history, but I’d go one step farther: we have the worse political criminal class in our nation’s history, disguised as usual in the satanic cloaks of “compassion” and “fairness.”

This same scandal – only on a slightly smaller scale – is happening in most states. The crisis dates back 20 to 30 years ago, when public employee unions negotiated fat pension deals with state and local politicians that were like ticking time bombs in municipal budgets. The politicians who bought union votes didn’t care much. They’d be long gone when these grenades detonated, and the fiscal carnage began.

Americans know instinctively that this is no way to run a city or state, and that the enormous pensions border on larceny from public treasuries. This will eventually cause rip roaring problems for state and local budgets. But now we have a story from middle America of what happens when the crisis hits a financial boiling point. Look no further than Scranton, Pa.

Read on; it will make you sick. They won’t quit until they have the entire country dead, retired or on welfare.