Cool creamy ice cream and money for your summer vacation.
My editor at CalWatchdog, Steven Greenhut, like many journalists in many states now, is really interested in pension reform, and what pensions are doing to the rest of the state as they grow more humongous. I haven’t read his new book yet, Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation (I prefer serial killer novels for the summer), but he’s been on the radio and tv talking about it, so it must be great!
Yeah, I had to read up about it to understand the nuances. Or to understand anything, really. It’s actually very simple: unions (mostly) arranged for moderate to low wages in certain industries, by including benefits on the back end, like retirement pensions, that laborers could feel reassured with.
This makes sense. Until you think about pyramid schemes. I’ve known for a while that the police can retire super young, like 40, and still get a livable pension, while even starting a different career. Since they work so hard, in dangerous situations, it seems fair. But somehow the pensions start to multiply, and with interest rates less than 1%, where will all this new money come from? The city, county and state. Oh.
It becomes more annoying when it’s state workers, who live in cubicles or offices and aren’t in danger at all, unless they jump out a window. I went to a seminar just a couple years ago at the LA Press Club when a smart entrepreneur said that all of us laid off journalists should go get state jobs, with little experience, with wonderful benefits, which you got no matter your age when you started. He teaches courses in Sacramento and other cities, and has a book out on this, too. He made it seem very enticing!
I’m into unions, really – have been in a real Hollywood one, and the NWU, which is sort of a quasi-union. And people should have a comfortable retirement. But I have no idea how to solve this problem, except have people in charge who are economists and realists.
This article by Steve on police and crime isn’t exactly about pensions, but gave me a beginning idea for the cartoon. But the ice screams truck was all mine.
Caption: Policeman: Yes, little girl, I promise to keep you safe. And my hefty pension, too! Ice screams truck for flavor.