THE HAZARDS OF SMALL(ER) GOVERNMENT

An article appeared today in our local newspaper, reprinted from the Sacramento Bee, about the stress that the highest-paid retired school administrators are placing on the pension system here in California. The “[t]housands o newly retired school administrators will earn more during retirement than most Californians will make during their working careers.” Reportedly the number of educators entitled to $100,000-plus annual pensions has increased from 700 to 5400 between 2005 and 2011. While they make up 2 percent of the retirees, they consume 7 percent of the CalSTRS benefits. The article goes on to say the trend is fostered by “booming” administrative salaries, with superintendents earning an average of  $168,000, or 56% more than 10 years ago. It is estimated that because of investment losses, broad pay raises, and benefit boosts, more than the six-figure pensions, CalSTRS will be unable to fund benefits in about 30 years without the Legislature mandating higher contributions from schools districts, employees, or the state. The report goes on to state that more than 22,000 CalSTRS employees were overpaid by error last year to the tune of $43 million.

So, it appears that the people in the public sector use taxpayer money to commit even more taxpayer money they don’t have to guarantee an economic future for themselves at the expense of the people in the private sector underwriting the whole thing. These poor slobs not only don’t receive similar guarantees, but have to shoulder the increased financial jeopardy that supports this shaky tower of cards. Why would anyone allow this to happen? For those on the receiving end, the answers are obvious. And as the government grows at the expense of the private sector, there are an increasing number of them. The majority of the rest of us, it seems, have been asleep at the wheel or, more precisely, asleep in the passenger seat with a money-drunk driver at the wheel.

So, here I’ve been ranting about the excesses of a bloated Federal bureaucracy and recommending a return to the intent of our Founding Fathers to strengthen the states against a centralized government. Unless a fundamental change occurs at the grass-roots level, we’ll simply be shifting our ill-planned, politically-driven spending spree from the feds to the states.

Maybe it’s time to drink some tea. I hear there’s a party going on somewhere.

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