Thursday, November 20, 2008

Public Sector Costs and Benefits

Rio Vista, California is yet another morality tale about how government spending, which includes public sector benefits, has spun out of control:

Link1 [replaced dead link]

Link 2 [replaced dead link]

In Vallejo, CA, another city that had to file bankruptcy, police and firefighter unions tried to force the city out of bankruptcy court so they could preserve their own government benefits--at the expense of the general taxpayers. How many more California cities have to go bankrupt before our government starts protecting taxpayers from unreasonable government spending, which includes comparatively much higher salaries and benefits in the public sector? (See Malanga article for comparison of private vs. public employees)

The costs of pensions and lifetime health care benefits depend on employees' lifespans and are difficult to estimate, because some employees may live longer or may need care that far exceeds the estimated costs. As a result, it's very difficult to ascertain employee pension liabilities because so many unpredictable factors are involved. Inevitably, because of the uncertainty involved in calculated how many years a public employee has to be paid after retirement, the government will have under-funded pensions. The result is that the taxpayers--and our children--will suffer as a result of the government continuing to provide itself with generous and hard-to-estimate benefits. Almost no private sector employees receive pensions anymore because companies figured out they shouldn't be in the insurance business. If a voluntary 401(k) or 403(b) plan is good enough for most engineers, nurses, and lawyers, why isn't it acceptable for government workers, firefighters, and police officers? Who exactly is the government protecting and serving?

No comments: