Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bureaucrats vs. Taxpayers, Part VII

Here's another depressing column about how government workers are getting showered with high pay and lavish benefits while people in the productive sector of the economy are bearing the economic pain of financing a bloated welfare state:

...government unionized workers often have gold-plated health benefits packages that are among the most expensive in America. Several years ago, for instance, the Employee Benefit Research Institute noted in a report the growing gap in both salaries and benefits between the private and public sector, estimating that state and local governments paid on average about 120 percent more on an hourly basis for employee health premiums than private employers. ...n places where government unions have the most influence, like California, New York and New Jersey, the cost of public health plans is well beyond what's typical in the private sector because public workers in these places make little or no contribution toward premiums, often don't have co-pays for doctor visits, and have a rich array of supplemental benefits that are rare in the private sector... Many of these benefits, by the way, don't merely apply to current government workers but also to retirees because many states and cities now offer public workers attractive retirement packages that start at 50 for public safety workers and 55 for everyone else and which include full-health benefits until retirees reach the age that Medicare kicks in. ...The health care deal, moreover, represents only the latest victory in what has been a very good period for public workers. In most places these workers have largely been insulated from the impact of the devastating recession. Hundreds of billions of dollars of the so-called federal stimulus bill actually went to insuring that state and local workers did not lose their jobs, one reason why the unemployment rate for government workers remains under four percent. ...we can't blame all of this on the Obama administration. Indeed, the Bush years were quite good for public sector workers too. In fact, the last 50 years, ever since governments began allowing widespread organizing by public workers, have been one upward arc for government workers, so that today they surpass their private counterparts in pay, benefits and working conditions. And now they've gotten their hands into the tax code, too.

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