Government Spending

The Class War: Public Employees vs. the Rest of Us

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Nick Gillespie pointed earlier to the latest evidence that federal workers have long since lapped their private sector benefactors in salary and job growth, in addition to their traditional advantages in job security and benefits. (Fun fact! Back in February 2008, before Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and George W. Bush's disaster socialism, The New York Times reported that Dubya was "in line to be the first president since World War II to preside over an economy in which federal government employment rose more rapidly than employment in the private sector.")

Here's an anecdotal sign that conventional wisdom is turning against those who are using the guaranteed revenue stream of tax dollars to pad their paychecks and pensions: A scathing piece from L.A. Times metro columnist Steve Lopez. Excerpt:

A reader sent me a posting for an executive secretary position at the [Department of Water and Power], and the salary range is $68,089 to $97,864, with great benefits. […]

I checked with the personnel department and found that the same position in other city departments starts at $54,000 and ranges up to $72,000.

Forget it, Jake

Top pay, in other words, is $25,000 more at the DWP, and the gravy train is not limited to secretaries.

A DWP custodian can make $50,000, compared to $36,000 in other departments. A DWP gardener tops out at $56,000, versus $46,000.

And it gets even better for the utility's employees.

Today, as my colleague David Zahniser tells me, the L.A. City Council is expected to approve a five-year deal for DWP employees that includes a bonus the first year and raises every year thereafter.

And as world-weary Reason readers know, the real action is in pensions:

It's not getting better

I'm hoping to have a talk with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa before he leaves for the climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, about his pal Elliott Broidy, a venture capitalist who the mayor appointed to the Fire and Police Pensions board.

Broidy pleaded guilty last week to what New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo called "an old-fashioned payoff" involving $1 million in gifts to that state's pension officials.

OK, let's think about this: In New York, he had to pay off pension officials. In L.A., he was one.