Things that make you say WTF!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

From the Cato Institute. "Employee Compensation in State and Local Governments"

I always thought that Big Brothers henchmen at the State and Local level made less than their private sector counterparts due to the trade off for "job security" and pension plan. Boy was I wrong!!!!!

"To reduce deficits, large savings can be found in the generous compensation packages of the nation's 20 million state and local workers. In 2008, wages and benefits of $1.1 trillion accounted for half of total state and local government spending."

So HALF of Big Brothers' "revenue" goes to salaries and benefits?!?! From what I remember, the percentage of a private company ranges between 10 to 30%. They are stealing your money and spending half of it on their workers who as we all know are all incredibly hard working, efficient, and courteous not to mention the fact that we, or at least I, now know that they are grossly overpaid. They are living of off the money YOU make and in return you/we get crappy schools, holier than thou attitudes and condescension, roads full of potholes, bridges to nowhere, etc. They are NOT providing a good or service worth that "price". It's like paying Nordstroms prices for Wal-Mart quality.

Table 1. Average Compensation 2009 / Dollars per Hour Worked

Big Brother Private Sector Ratio
Total Compensation $39.66 $27.42 1.45
Wages and Salaries 26.01 19.39 1.34
Benefits 13.65 8.02 1.70
Paid leave 3.27 1.85 1.77
Supplemental pay 0.34 0.83 0.41
Health Insurance 4.34 1.99 2.18
Defined-benefit pension 2.85 0.41 6.95
Defined-contribution pension 0.31 0.53 0.58
Other Benefits 2.53 2.40 1.05

Note the HUGE disparity in Health Insurance and Defined Benefit Pension plan. So not only do they make more than their private sector counterparts, they receive more in health benefits and the majority of them receive Defined-Benefit pensions which are ridiculously expensive. I'm curious as to how the propsed Health Care legislation will affect them, if at all. I've read that the proposed tax on "cadillac health care plans" in the bill would affect them and so the various Unions are lobbying hard to have that provision removed.

Not surprisingly "a study by Robert Novy Marx and Joshua Rauh found that governments are "severely underestimating" their pension liabilities by the use of high discount rates. Using more realistic assumptions, the authors found that state and local pensions were underfunded by $3.2 trillion, or three times more than the officially reported amount. At more than $27,000 for every U.S. household, that indicates a huge exposure for state and local taxpayers."

Who wants to give me odds on whether or not the states will raise taxes to cover that shortfall when the bill comes due? It's either that or go bankrupt.

Some more juicy tidbits in the article.
Early Retirement: "Public sector workers generally retire earlier than private sector workers and enjoy generous pension benefits for life indexed for inflation. They can typically retire at age 55 after 30 years of work, as in California's CalPERs system. In CalPERs, workers receive an annual pension equal to 60 percent of final salary after 30 years. Public safety workers in CalPERs can retire at age 50 after 30 years of work with benefits equal to 90 percent of their final salary."

Double Dipping: "In California, New Jersey, Utah and other states, public workers can "retire" early and then either resume their existing job or take a new job, thus receiving a salary and pension at the same time."

Excessive Benefits: "In California, there are 6,144 retired public employees in the CalPERs plan and 3,090 retired teachers in the state teacher's plan receiving annual pension benefits of more than $100,000."

I think I'm going to hurl.

Down with Big Brother!


Obama and Unions reach agreement regarding the "Cadillac Plan" surtax.

Speak of the devil and he appears. I asked earlier in the post if the tax on "Cadillac Plans" would affect the unions. Guess not. Luckily for them, its looking like they'll be exempted.

"Officials familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday that options being considered to lessen the impact on union members included raising the threshold at which the tax would be levied - it's $23,000 for family plans in the Senate-passed bill - an exempting collective bargaining agreements negotiated before the 2013 from the tax. Under that scenario the tax wouldn't hit until union contracts were renegotiated, delaying its impact on most union health plans until perhaps 2015 or 2016."

Here's an idea, why don't they just tax the plans of anyone who's not a registered Democrat. Wouldn't that be easier?!?


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