Buzzflash: Beware of the Invisible Financial Hand

March 8, 2011- In California, the state government currently spends more than $34 billion a year paying private contractors to do jobs that civil servants can perform for half the cost. Another $900 million of taxpayer funds is wasted annually propping up the state's failed enterprise zone program. Common sense dictates that any proposal to balance the state budget begin here.

Instead, what is being implemented in state capitals across the country are plans to eradicate traditional retirement and health care benefits for civil servants and, in some cases, to return civil servants to 19th century working conditions by eliminating their First Amendment right to assemble, organize, and bargain collectively as free citizens.

These developments are part and parcel of an ongoing strategy to steal our taxpayer dollars by redirecting them from public services and democratic institutions and into the pockets of private companies and individuals through wasteful subsidy programs and corrupt private contracting practices in government.

Case in point, the Little Hoover Commission recently recommended that retirement benefits for new and current public employees be essentially eliminated and replaced with 401(k)-style plans in order to save taxpayers money.

What the Little Hoover Commission left out of their report and avoided saying in testimony before the state legislature was that no one with a 401(k) has ever been able to afford to retire with one.

They also failed to mention that 401(k) plans are about three times more expensive to maintain than traditional, defined benefit retirement plans due to the fees that Wall Street investors charge to manage a 401(k).

It's akin to the way technology consultants have repeatedly taken advantage of Sacramento's lack of computer know-how by promising quick fixes for low prices on projects that routinely turn out to be more complicated and expensive.

Clearly, the move to eliminate traditional retirement benefits for civil servants is simply another attempt by Wall Street and their business associates to redirect our hard-earned tax dollars into their pockets.


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