How Government Workers Profit at Taxpayer Expense

The purpose of government is to provide services to the public, not enrich the people who work for it.

(Page 2 of 2)

What will happen if California voters approve Prop. 30? Check out the many bills that moved through the Legislature this session, as legislators crafted new proposed programs and benefit increases for their public-employee constituents.

Before the event, I gave Frates a tour of central Stockton. We drove by the impressive port on the edge of the Delta, past the Ivy-League-looking University of the Pacific campus, through the leafy old neighborhoods near Victory Park, and around the mostly vacant downtown, with its restored Fox Theater and historic buildings. It’s a beautiful old city, but Frates noted the decrepit situation: pothole-filled streets, litter, old shopping carts, graffiti, and scary characters hanging out in city parks and on street corners.

The purpose of government is to provide services to the public, not enrich the people who work for it. The compensation report, and the conditions in the city where it was released, remind us that if elected officials do the latter, we get far less of the former.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • sarcasmic||

    When my work took me into a government building, I noticed that the workers had this odd salutation that involved holding up some number of fingers.

    I later discovered that the number represented how many more years until they collect their pension.

    Milking the system is all they care about.

    Oh, and fristienth!

  • $park¥||

    If it isn't obvious that government workers CAN ONLY profit at taxpayer expense, will two pages of text make it clear?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    So you just want the policemen, the firemen and the public school teachers to just starve?! You monster.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    No. I want them to engage in the private sector and actually add something to the economy.

  • Tall Tom||

    They are over compensated

  • WTF||

    the purpose of government is to provide services to the public, not enrich the people who work for it


    Good one!

  • ||

    It's your own damn fault for continuing to live and pay in that shithole.

  • The Hammer||

    Says the D.C.-ite?

  • Jordan||

    Government is just a make-work program for retards.

  • ||

    as a govt worker myself, i can say - yes, i agree.

    i received a 30% raise ... 30% over a several year period during one of the WORST recessions we have ever seen, and the worst in my lifetime


    that's insane.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Union dues pay for commercials advocating a tax increase

    The tax increase is used to increase compensation for unionized government "workers"

    Unionized government workers raises mean more money sent in as union dues

    More Union dues means more commercials advocating more tax increases.

    And the rest of us all spiral down the drain....

  • Aresen||

    Canada is trying to reform its pensions for Federal Government Employees:

    Left unmentioned is the fact that the Canadian Federal Government currently has a $200 Billion unfunded Public Service Pension liability.

  • The Hammer||

    "Reform" can mean a lot of things.

  • Drave Robber||

    From my Eastern European experience, most often it means "we'll keep talking about this".

  • Phil_EngAmer||

    It’s really a vicious cycle where terrible contracts based on wildly unrealistic economic assumptions (, lead to unions and politicians asking taxpayers to pay off their debts. It’s all made possible by the deep pockets unions have that they use to influence legislation ( Until unions and politicians are held accountable, this will only continue.

  • laser pointer||

    Support for Obama

  • Chuckie||

    I was in Home Depot in Antelope, CA the other day and there was a fire truck, a hook and ladder truck, and an ambulance. There must have been eight or nine firemen there!

    Wondering what all the fuss was, I followed the lawyers (just kidding). It turned out a woman slipped and twisted her ankle. She walked out on her own.

    We are horribly over staffed in fire, and under staffed in police and sheriff.

    Every fire station seems to have a hook and ladder truck, even though the building in it's area are one and two story structures. A million here and a million there, and it begins to add up.

    I'd like to see cuts to fire down to more rational wages, and increases to on the street law enforcement. But they seem to be linked together.

  • dan'o||

    In most states medical 911 calls have both an ambulance and firetruck dispatched to the scene... I guess an average of 7 guys per call even though maybe 1 out of 4 require a transport to hospital (the other 3 we leave where they are after signing a release.) Of those requiring transport very few require more than a 2 man ambulance crew. Major, major overkill and waste

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Government takes money from the productive and gives it to the unproductive and the parasitic. Any money that trickles down to the destitute is doubtless an oversight.

  • ||

    I think it depends on which government workers we are talking about. California is rightly notorious for dramatically overpaying their employees. I believe that many government clerical workers at the federal level are overpaid. However, there are some technical occupations (engineers, materials scientists, etc.) for which the federal government pays their employees considerably less than what their counterparts in the private sector receive. A certain agency with a mission related to national security, during a Republican administration, decided to outsource certain technical work to a company, only to find that it was cheaper in-house after the contracts were inked - so we got screwed screwy libertarian style. Hey, nothing beats the lean mean private sector - ever. So, let's not be blindly ideological about this.
    As to hordes of firefighters showing up when a lady trips - you know, in many jurisdictions, firefighters are volunteer - they are not paid. They also have "day jobs" like you and me, and everybody else. They were probably fuming that they got paged at work to join the crew for something that wasn't a real fire emergency.

  • UvalDuvalCuckoo||

    Leland - Well I'm no expert on entire fed govt. compensation, but I know that entire benefits packages are seldom lower than private sector. Without speaking about the exact position it's hard to say. Also, just b/c it was bid out on a bad deal, doesn't mean it's the private sector fault. There are a lot of variables here. I worked for a vendor that had the entire business model predicated upon set aside contracts for the VA. when they lost the status, the company went under. So even though they big the cheapest of the bunch, only other small companies could compete which were all much more expensive than the big provider (and without dry snitching, there was one big vendor for the most part, everyone else was one form of set aside or another) and yes, we provided IT services for the VA. There's so much that can vary that it's hard to comment without going into specifics.

    However as far as the Volunteer thing, Googling it didn't show me any V.F.D. in Antelope, and even when you have volunteer FDs, you don't that I know of have volunteer ambulance programs. Pretty sure I'm on safe ground saying that Volunteers being erroneously called out wasn't what explains what @Chuckie witnessed

  • Coach Panto||

    A 90% pension at age 50 or 55 is so much higher than the private sector that it isnt even worth checking to see that that is dry buggery of the taxpayer on a grand scale. And comparing actual work, public pay is far higher than private pay. There's several reports on the net. Check OC Watchdog: "California’s 500+ cities and counties reported 40,845 workers earning $150,000 or more in total compensation, according to the controller’s figures."

    Do you really think that many workers add that much value to the bureaucratic process?

    California state and city workers by and large enjoy these unearned extortions at the expense of jobs and the economic future of the state.

    I moved out of that miserable state last year to a state with no income tax, and my net gain in spending power went up at least 20%.

    The real wealth creators will eventually leave that corrupted state unless they toss the Dems out. If not, all that will be left are welfare queens and hollywood bungweasels.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.