Saturday, July 17, 2010

Taxpayers vs. Bureaucrats, Part XXXV

Oakland politicans have created a fiscal crisis by spending too much money. This has caused strife with the police union according to a San Francisco paper. The details of the fight are not very remarkable, but I was stunned to read that the average compensation for a cop is $188,000 per year. I have plenty of sympathy for cops (at least the ones who protect life, liberty and property rather than the uniformed bureaucrats who monitor speed traps and harass pot smokers and hookers), but I am 99 percent confident that taxpayers could attract just as many competent officers at a much lower cost.
The council voted last month to lay off more than 10 percent of the police force to cope with what officials describe as an unprecedented financial crisis. The $407 million general fund budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 represents a decline of $69 million since 2005, and public safety now accounts for three-fourths of discretionary spending. With the average officer's salary and benefits totaling $188,000 a year, City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, a union leader himself, has described the situation as "unsustainable."

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