Last week, California’s Little Hoover Committee, which studies ways to improve California’s government, issued its recommendations for dealing with public employee pensions. The recommendations were nearly Scott Walker-esque in their scope, but we didn’t see California’s teachers and their comrades take to the street. Why? I explain why in this Daily Caller op/ed:
Unlike their brethren in Wisconsin, California’s teachers and their allies in other public employee unions haven’t been chanting and waving signs at the state capitol. After all, why should they? The very man who gave them collective bargaining rights in the first place is back in the governor’s office. The Democrats they funded and voted for have overwhelming majorities in the Senate and Assembly — and thanks to their funding of Proposition 25 last November, a mere simple majority will be needed to pass Jerry Brown’s budget, which doesn’t lay a finger on state employee pensions.
Why should the teachers care if their pension fund is “sliding down a steep slope towards insolvency?” in the words of the San Jose Mercury News (hardly a conservative mouthpiece). After all, it’s the taxpayers, not the teachers, who will have to pick up the tab for tens of thousands of comfy retirements from the classrooms when the fund can’t cover the costs. It is a matter of “when,” not “if,” because the teachers’ retirement fund portfolio’s value has plummeted by 25 percent, opening a $40.5 billion unfunded liability.
Why should they worry about coming elections, like the one last November in Wisconsin, which gave Scott Walker and his GOP buddies a mandate for real hope and change? Not a single Democrat seat was lost in Sacramento last time around and not a single Republican won a statewide office, despite the best efforts of Tea Party activists and pension watchdogs. The state remains unapologetically and defiantly blue — in fact, even though the state’s population has grown by 10 million since Ronald Reagan was president, there were more Republicans in the state to vote for him then than there are today.
Still, even in California, public employees have something to worry about and it’s called the Little Hoover Commission. Lucky for them there’s no Big Hoover Commission because the Little Hoover Commission is generating headaches enough for public employee union bosses.
Read the rest of the piece here.