Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Greek warning to the public sector unions

Rich Lowery gives some facts and a sobering assessment of public labor unions
Growth in public-sector wages and benefits has been outstripping growth in the private sector. Some states and localities are effectively Greek isles within America. Commuter-rail workers in New York get $120,000 in annual compensation, on average, and can retire with a full pension at age 55. In the fiscal wreck of California, teachers and prison workers are the highest paid in the country. They feast on government so effectively, Greece’s powerful ADEDY union should make them honorary members.

By the calculations of Jagadeesh Gokhale of the Cato Institute, Greece’s debt is 875 percent of its GDP when pension obligations are included. Sounds outlandish. But the figure for the U.S., including programs like Medicare and Social Security, is 500 percent. The worst thing we could do is to add to the burden with an onerous new spending program, pushed by the unions and justified with Greek-style budgetary math. Of course, that’s a working definition of Obamacare.

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