Liberalism often works by starting with an arguably good thing and taking it to such an extreme that it becomes pernicious. Public sector pensions are a prime example. Few would deny retired police officers either a pension or a savings plan. But in liberal states greed has gotten completely out of control. From Ventura County, California:
[F]ormer Sheriff Robert Brooks … retired in 2011 with a salary of $227,000. Today, he collects $50,000 a year more than that [$276,000], with guaranteed cost-of-living increases. But that wasn’t enough. Now he’s suing for $75,000 more, claiming it’s allowed under the law.
Finally the public is putting up some resistance.
Ventura County voters will consider an initiative in November, similar to a possible statewide measure, that would funnel all new employees into a 401k savings plan rather than a pension. It would also, like an initiative passed in San Jose, give current employees a choice — either increase their contributions or cut future benefits. …
Unions, as might be expected, oppose the measures.
Brooks’s case is hardly unique. Left-wing bureaucrats have turned the pension system into a looting spree.
An analysis by the Los Angeles Times found 84 percent of the roughly two-dozen Ventura County retirees with pensions in excess of $100,000 made more money in retirement than working.
When chief county executive Marty Robinson left in 2011 making $228,000, his annual pension totaled $272,000.
Their packages are emblematic of what critics consider a runaway pension problem.
The chief executive of Solano County retired with a $371,000 pension. A police chief in Stockton left with a $204,000 annual pension after just eight months on the job. An Orange County attorney retired with a pension of $226,000 — $14,000 more than his final salary. He also got a check for $352,097 for nearly 2,500 hours of unused sick and vacation time.
In California, 20,000 employees have pensions in excess of $100,000.
No wonder the state has a $500 billion budget shortfall, with wealth producers leaving the state by the hundreds of thousands to escape the excessive taxation.
On a tip from Wiggins. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.