Public Employees — Ever More Untouchable

One of the most obnoxious trends in the nation, and one that is particularly acute in California, is the continued push to enshrine public employees as a special, privileged caste of Americans, exempt from the rules and obligations that apply to the rest of us.

As I documented in my 2009 book, Plunder!, public employees often now receive the kind of pay, benefits, and protections more fitting for France, where civil service is the highest calling. In the United States, we traditionally valued entrepreneurship and freedom above pencil-pushing and bureaucracy. But times have changed.

In California, a raft of public-employee groups can retire at age 50 with nearly — and sometimes beyond — their final pay. They are basically immune from firing and often from prosecution, even for the most horrific behavior. Their unions rule our state Capitol with an iron fist. It’s no wonder the total average firefighter compensation here tops $175,000 a year — and public employees in California earn double their private-sector counterparts.

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