Public Safety Unions and the Financial Apocalypse: “The money won’t be there.”

Public employee unions work hard to ensure ever-increasing payoffs for public employees. But if the public pension system continues as it is today, the very real consequence of pushing for higher retirement payouts is likely this: the money that retired public employees are depending upon may dry up.

The California Policy Center ran this story posing such a hypothetical situation: Public Safety Unions and the Financial Apocalypse

We think it’s worth a read, even while admitting that it seems a little alarmist to us. Here’s a chilling quote from the piece that sparks our interest:

“Millions of retirees and active public safety workers still expect pensions that are roughly equivalent to the amount they made at the peak of their careers. But the money won’t be there.”

In their pursuit of “championing the rights of working people,” do you think these unions are aware that they may potentially be ushering these same folks – and the state as a whole – to financial ruin? It will come as no surprise to you, but THC thinks they sure are. It’s just a shame that the people theses unions claim to represent may end up taking the brunt of the damage when CALPERS, or any public employee pension system, goes belly up. (Fun fact – CALSTRS, the teacher pension system, saw its unfunded liabilities go from $76 billion to $97 billion practically overnight.)

This is especially relevant for Humboldt County; even if there is no financial apocalypse for the world, the nation, or the state, you can bet your ass that there is one coming for Humboldt County. Once the pot bubble bursts – and burst it will – a huge portion of our local economy will collapse.

Our County government is already hurting financially, and is already hard pressed to cope with mounting debt due to unfunded public pensions. What do you think will happen when the cash cow they hung their hats on fails them?

Couple the specter of potential collapse with the fact that public unions are even now pushing to exempt all aspects of public employee contract negotiations from disclosure, and it paints a bleak picture for the future.


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6 Responses to Public Safety Unions and the Financial Apocalypse: “The money won’t be there.”

  1. Sylvia Teague says:

    There’s a history of how the state got here and it’s not pretty. Apparently pension funds were used to balance the state budget during administrations dating back to Reagan. Here’s an article in Forbes magazine from 1992, not long before they passed legislation to prohibit using the pension funds to balance the budget.

    Also, the average pension collected by retired state workers is approx 2500.00 per month.


    • As always, be very careful about the average pension. That is heavily slanted towards those who receive the huge salaries and pensions. If you would like to have the discussion about what to do about pensions for those making over a certain amount, we should have that discussion, but this should occur while figuring out how to expand pensions, once again, to the private sector.


  2. ken d says:

    And, does the tax payer get his moneys worth? Hardly.
    A case in point being the never ending painting of the Eureka Slough bridge over the last 2-3 years. It’s a safe bet that the “Cal Trans Painters Union” or its equivalent, has a big fat tax payer funded retirement plan.
    Hell, they built, painted and finished the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930’s and it only took 4 years.


  3. Just Watchin says:

    Funny how jonboy fails to mention that the “average” government pension is for less than 20 years worked. Normal workers labor for more than 40 years for that much…..


  4. Lynn Mae says:

    It’s not just the public unions, pension funds for large companies could be hit, and the Feds asked to bail them out:
    “WILMINGTON, Del. — Marsh Supermarkets filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and may close all 44 stores, and need a federal bailout of a $76 million pension shortfall, according to court filings and press reports.”
    So now it’s not just the public employees that tax payers are supposed to bail out, but employees of commercial businesses. Of course no laws saying the employee retirement funds can’t be touched…of course not. I worked for two companies that went belly-up and while my own funds went into an IRA, the matching funds from the companies went bye-bye.


    • Rusty says:

      The worst is yet to come. Most if not all County, State and Federal jobs of a clairical nature ie: eligibility worker, social services worker, social security workers ect. will be transferred to a phone app.
      You need SSI there’s and app for that. You need to apply for unemployment, disability, worker’s comp yup there’s and app for that too. What do you think the free phone’s are for ? Other than a tracking device for law enforcement the indigent can just get their monthly stipend credited to the phone. There are companies already cutting out low and mid level positions from maintenance director to comptroller. It’s a easy jump to eligibility worker, replace the easy to fool compassionate human with a un influenceable algorithm. After all the pension buy outs maybe they’ll be some savings, after all, algorithms​ don’t take sick leave, vacations​ or need pensions. Technologies already exist for this and more just us your imagination ……. Scary huh? Self driving cars, robo cops, drones. Funny thing is when the company replaces the human with the technology they call it “Going Live”
      Better look for job in the service industry. Still need trimmers in so hum….. Nupe that bubbles​ about to burst… Shouldn’t been a Fireman.


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