As I was sitting at school the other day waiting for my next class to start, I was watching the California flag waving peacefully in the wind. The words on the flag read “California Republic,” and I chuckled to myself because those words could not be any further from the truth.
Dictionary.com defines the word “republic” as “ a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.” Now at first glance you might be nodding your head in agreement, that yes this is exactly how government in California works. But if you take a closer look, I can guarantee you that this couldn’t be further from truth.
California used to be fourth largest economy in the world. Since the days of the Gold Rush people have been flocking to California in search of a better life and more opportunity. Unfortunately, our mighty state has fallen. Unemployment is over 11% percent, and we have the worst credit rating of any state and now over eight California cities have declared a fiscal emergency. That isn’t even including the cities of Stockton and San Bernardino, both of which have filed for bankruptcy. How has our great state veered so off course? Just two simple words can explain the financial crisis: PUBLIC UNIONS.
Yes, public unions are the primary cause of much of this state’s financial collapse. Remember when I said before how the words California Republic couldn’t be further from the truth? This is the reason why: public sector unions are so large and powerful that they are able to control politicians with their large contributions to each politician’s campaign. Sure politicians still need the votes from voters, but once they get to Sacramento they start pulling strings for the people who financed their campaigns. Take a look at californiawatch.org to find out which politicians have been financing their campaign with money from public sector unions.
Now, you may be asking yourself what is wrong with public sector unions. Aren’t they our teachers, police officers, nurses and firefighters? Yes, that is true, and these are all hardworking men and women who use our tax dollars to perform a public service that benefits all. Where the problem begins is how much are we willing to pay to have them provide these services and when are we going to say enough?
In California many police officers and firefighters receive $100,000 each year in pensions. This is one of many reasons why these cities are going broke. It unreasonable and unsustainable to pay these outrageous pensions to these men and women, and until this changes we are going to continue to see California spin down this downward spiral.
Part II coming soon…