A full page ad in today's Wall Street Journal carries a powerful message from Free Enterprise Nation. It is a self-described non-partisan, private-sector advocacy group that lobbies for free markets. Its first task, aside from fundraising, is educating private sector employees about the outrageous excesses of government workers. Salaries, benefits, overall expenditures -- any metric you could name -- are on suicidal trajectories.
The chickens control not only the hen-house, but the whole damn farm as well.
Wages• One state of California pensioner retired with an annual salary of $500,000 a year.
• An Illinois driver's traning teacher earned $170,000 a year before retiring with an annual pension of $130,000.
• A Department of Energy administrator received a $63K bonus on top of his $172K base bay.
• Federal civilian wages average around $80K, while private sector wages average $50K.
• Between 2000 and 2008, wages for federal civilian workers rose 54% versus $28% for private sector workers.
• The U.S. government paid more than a third of a billion dollars in bonuses in fiscal year 2008.
• In 2008, 40% of all workers for the bankrupt city of Vallejo, California, were paid more than $100K annually.
• The state of New York paid $460,000,000 in overtime in 2007.
• A New York "Developmental Aide" worked enough overtime to earn $111K even though her base salary was $39K.
• In Illinois, 420 physical education teachers make over $100K, with the top one earning $163,000.
• Also in Illinois, 332 English teachers earn over $100K, with the highest paid at $164,000.
• And 94 drivers education teachers make over $100K. The highest paid is $170,000.
Benefits• Comparing combined wages and benefits, federal workers average $120K versus $60K for the private sector.
• This places the value of benefits for federal workers at $40K annually, four times that of the private sector.
• Only 12% of private sector retirees have defined benefit pension plans; and they are not eligible for full Social Security benefits until they are nearly 70.
• Government workers have pension plans that allow them to retire 10-25 years earlier and with far richer payments than Social Security would provide.
• A Fort Worth, Texas police chief recently retired at age 55 with an annual pension of $189K. A successor retired at age 52 with a pension of $114K.
• In San Jose, California, 256 city retirees earn more than $100K, which represents three to five times the Social Security benefit, while retiring in their mid-50s.
• Florida spent over $1.6 billon on health care coverage for state employees.
• Florida taxpayers footed the bill for $1.44 billion of the total.
• Florida worker contributions accounted for less than 10% ($156 million) of the total.
Double-Dipping/Spiking/Pension Abuse• More than 4,000 Arizona employees "double-dip" (collect full pensions and lump sum payments while working).
• A police commander in Delray Beach, Florida retired at age 42 with a $65K pension and now earns another salary.
• In Florida, more than 9,000 state employees and 200 elected officials are double-dipping.
• Florida spends $300 million annually on salaries and pensions for double-dippers
• A community college president got a lump sum of $893K, earns $442K annually, and has a $15K/month pension.
• A small college president got a lump sum of $585K and earns $286K annually, in addition to his $10K/month pension.
• A Northwest Florida State College president got a lump sum of $553,228 and earns $228,000 annually, in addition to his $8,803/month pension.
• A state attorney who "changed his mind about retirement" collected a lump sum of $519,995, makes an annual salary of $153,139, in addition to a $7,750/month pension.
• A Sheriff collected a lump sum of $311,173, makes an annual salary of $128,000, and receives a monthly pension of $5,699.
• In San Francisco, a recent civil grand jury report noted the prevalence of “spiking,” or boosting pension benefits via final work year promotions, a practice that has resulted, in the past decade, in over half of the police and firefighters earning pensions in excess of the wages they earned while actively working
• In Arkansas, at least 144 employees retired and then returned to the same job since 2001.
• In New York, nearly 700 retired teachers and administrators receive pensions over $100K.
Employment• Between July 2008 and July 2009, the private sector lost 5.2 million jobs while government grew by 238,000 workers.
• Since December 2007, private sector employment has declined 5.74% while government payroll grew nearly 1%.
• From March 2009 to June 2009, the number of government employees rose from 20,904,000 to 21,446,000.
Growing Debt and Unfunded Liabilities• The total public debt is now at $11.8 trillion
• Interest payments alone on debt came to $452 billion in 2008.
• Next year, America's debt will exceed 60% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
• The unfunded liability for Social Security is $17.5 trillion in 2009.
• The unfunded liability for Medicare is more than $92 trillion in 2009.
• The unfunded liability for state and local pension plans is more than $3.5 trillion if we use the same assumptions as private plans.
These figures are unsustainableThe public sector unions -- like the ACORN-riddled SEIU -- are destroying the budgets of cities, states and the federal government.
Now you can see why President Obama is hell-bent on nationalizing one-sixth of the economy with his thinly disguised health care "overhaul".
It helps hasten the destruction of the hated free market system and perhaps capitalism itself.
Visit The Free Enterprise Nation and see how you can help stop this insanity.