What Republic?

How public sector unions are destroying California.

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…

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Shripathi Kamath July 19, 2012 at 05:49 PM
"Just two simple words can explain the financial crisis: PUBLIC UNIONS." I'd like to see how, besides that bare assertion. We did not elect those people, and the crisis was not caused by a sudden increase in pension costs from 2007 to 2008. Something else happened. Think risky MBS deals run by investment banks, unregulated, unfettered, and still that way. To be sure so that your point is not lost, public pension liabilities are a HUGE concern, a HUGE one, but that is not what caused the financial crisis that has become the Lesser Depression today. "In California many police officers and firefighters receive $100,000 each year in pensions. " Whose fault is that? Their fault for negotiating good contracts, or our politicians' for not being careful when they did that? Whose fault is it electing those politicians? Before this degenerate to "oh, yeah, liberal politicians", this is the case also in red counties, local governments that have been redder than red. In the 1990s, OC, the reddest county in all of California declared bankruptcy. In a county where just about every official is either a red Republican or a red Democrat who will claim that he has never voted blue. With a red governor. Yes, one has to deal with the pension bubble. Through negotiations. Mission Viejo did this recently, and have mitigated their liabilities. Demonizing a group as the sole cause of the financial crisis is not only absurd, it will also bear no fruit.
bbq July 19, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Right on, Blake Driver. Not only that, but there is still a ton of $$$ wasted at the state government level and they still want more from us, even though the middle class is struggling in this economy. The pensions ARE unsustainable. People must not be fooled into thinking that all of the new tax initiatives on the upcoming ballot are to "help the children," they're not. They are to help the pensions! The only long term solution I see is to let the state go bankrupt, break the unions and start fresh.
Blake Driver July 19, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Shripathi, To address your first point, I am not talking about the financial crisis of the country just the one here in california, when I am talking about the unions destroying the states economy. In response to the "oh, yeah, liberal politicians" it is unfair to assume that was where my argument was headed. I did not mention either political party in this post because both are to blame in the pension bubble. As for the rest of your concerns, they will be addressed in my next blog post. Make sure to keep checking the site, you can see it.
Blake Driver July 19, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Good point about the new tax initiative!
Katheryn October 01, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Why isn't Gov. Brown and Attorney General Harris doing anything to stop this? Please click on the You Tube Link below and then watch the You Tube Video in the story. If you are as angry as many of us are then please add this video to your Facebook, we need to get the word out to the world. http://temecula.patch.com/articles/citizen-reader-shares-mining-sounds


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