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San Diego and San Jose Vote to Cut Pensions

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 7, 2012

The results of Tuesday’s elections were ominous for public employee unions.  The election with the most publicity was the failed recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.  However, two elections in California may be of even more significance for unions.

The cities of San Diego and San Jose voted to cut pension benefits for their public employees.  The margins indicate significant voter anger with San Diego passing the measure by two thirds and San Jose by approximately 70%.  Adding significance to these results is that they occurred in California, a liberal state that traditionally votes Democratic.

The problems that San Diego, San Jose and many other municipalities and states face are bloated and unsustainable benefits going to public employees.  These benefits were substantially increased during the bubble years by politicians who are no longer in office.  Now the chickens have come home to roost and the governments have been forced to cut services and layoff workers to pay for the benefits.

The problems cities and municipalities face caused by the excessive benefits for their employees are examples as to why public employees should not be allowed to organize.  Not only do they negotiate with people who do not have to pay the bills, but often these same politicians offer the employees benefits in exchange for union votes.  This perverse reality has resulted in public employees being paid far in excess of private employee counterparts.  For example, police officers and firefighters in San Jose have the ability to retire after only 30 years with pensions worth 90% of their salaries.

The high cost of public employees has created a dilemma for Democratic politicians who run many of America’s large municipalities.  As examples, San Jose’s mayor is a Democrat and even Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago is attempting to cut public employee pension costs.  This reality places Democrats at odds with one of their most important supporters, public employee unions.  It will make a special interest group less enthused about voting.

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2 Responses to “San Diego and San Jose Vote to Cut Pensions”

  1. Jim Mahoney said

    This news is especially huge since San Diego and San Jose, two huge enclaves of liberal democrats voted to do this by overwhelming margins. Now watch for the domino effect as Scott Walker’s victory will embolden governors and mayors mayors across the country to gain control of the runaway public union featherbedding costs. Team Obama has to be pretty worried right now since a state that went for him by a 14 point margin in 2008 is now in play for Romney.

  2. […] And Romney also points out that if you look at Wisconsin, if you look at San Diego, if you look at San Jose – uberliberal places ALL – you will see that the American people are now OVERWHELMINGLY […]

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