Public employees have become the new American elite. In the past, government workers earned less money but had slightly better job security and benefits than Americans working in the private sector. These days, government workers not only earn more than other Americans, but they have vastly superior benefits, including pension plans that often allow them to retire as early as age 50 with 100 percent or more of their final year’s salary. These pensions often top $100,000 a year and come with cost of living adjustments and free lifetime medical care. Getting a government job and sticking with it is like winning the lottery. This plundering of treasuries, made possible by aggressive union tactics and spineless politicians, results in higher taxes and massive debts that ultimately will be borne by our grandchildren. The current situation is “unsustainable.”
The problem goes beyond finances. Government unions protect even the worst public employees from accountability. Schools don’t attempt to fire incompetent teachers—and union protections make it nearly impossible to even fire ones accused of sexual abuse and other misdeeds. As government gets bigger and more powerful, government officials have more uncontrolled power over the rest of us—to enrich and protect themselves at the expense of the public good. The public’s servants have truly become the public’s masters.
Greenhut has performed a great service for ordinary citizens and taxpayers with Plunder!But be forewarned: If you take high blood pressure medicine, better take a double dose before reading this book. It will surely amplify the current distrust and disgust with government today as reflected in the resurgent taxpayer revolt and the Tea Party movement. With clarity and a compelling writing style, he reveals how public employees have, indeed, become “America’s Protected Class.” The good news is that Greenhut gives valuable advice at the end of the book on what we can do to turn the tide on this seemingly unstoppable socialistic encroachment. Frederick Douglas, when asked how to affect change, famously responded “agitate, agitate, agitate.” With Plunder Greenhut does more than his share of agitating. Except for government labor bosses and bureaucrats, we will all be better for it.
—Jon Coupal,President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Government employees are supposed to work for the public—not the other way around. Unfortunately, because of the overwhelming political influence of government unions, public employees have gained an unsustainable level of pay and benefits. Taxpayers will be saddled with higher taxes, depleted services and unconscionable levels of debt. As Greenhut’s timely book explains, the public servants have indeed become the public’s masters.
—Robert W. Loewen,President, The Lincoln Club of Orange County
The tax-eaters must pin Steve Greenhut’s face to their dartboard. His latest blockbuster should end their career of abuse against the taxpayers. Cut government, and free the people. And stop the abuse!—Llewellan H. Rockwell Jr., President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama Editor of LewRockwell.com
Greenhut is finally exposing the depth of greed and undue political influence among those who are supposed to protect us—police and firefighters. —Marcia Fritz, President, California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, Sacramento, California
Everyone knows our elected representatives plunder the taxpayers. But the real loot is to be had by unknown and unaccountable public employees who use the muscle of organized labor to bloat the government payroll into a black-flagged cruiseship of cushy jobs and outsized benefits. Greenhut shows there’s no returning to the principles of limited government, much less fiscal sanity, unless reformers make these public service pirates walk the plank.
—Nick Dranias, Director, Goldwater Institute, Center for Constitutional Government
Steven Greenhut’s PLUNDER! is a must-read for those who have any doubts about the insidious impact of public employee unions in policy and politics in America oday. After reading it, you realize that until the influence corrupting unions can be addressed, nothing else really matters.
—Jon Fleischman, Publisher, The FlashReport on California Politics, Vice Chairman South California Republican Party, Former Executive Director California Republican Party
Greenhut probes the relationship between government expenses, public employee retirement obligations, and the political decision making process. If you want to be fluent in the current public policy discussion you should read this book.—Steve Frates, Senior Fellow, The Rose Institute of the State and Local Government Claremont, CA
All too often, critics of government concentrate upon the real abuses committed by the federal government but ignore what happens at the state and local levels. Steven Greenhut has not forgotten the federal spending scams, but he turns here against the abuses being committed in our backyards by public employee unions and state and local politicians, who band togetherto pick the pockets of taxpayers while exempting themselves from huge swaths of the law. He correctly challenges the “public servant” fiction, pointing out time and again that those who supposedly “protect and serve” people are the ones who are protected, who receive salaries out-of-proportion to the work they do, and who ultimately control the local councils and state legislatures. Many conservatives will react negatively to this book because he challenges the so-called heroes of the police and fire departments, but Steven Greenhut has done his homework. Governments at all levels have fostered a culture of abuse against regular citizens, who not only bear the brunt of official abuse, but are forced to pay for it, and no one better exposes this sad state of affairs better than Steven Greenhut.
—William L. Anderson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Frostburg State University, Maryland
Steve Greenhut deserves credit for shedding light on an issue that deserves far more attention than it has gotten so far: the sweeping powers and reckless actions of government employee unions. As Greenhut shows, the people of states like California and Michigan where public-sector unions are at their strongest tend to wind up with dysfunctional governments and have suffered the worst in the current economic slump. This is an especially timely book and one can only hope Greenhut's warning is heeded through the country.
—Paul Kersey, Director of Labor Policy, The Mackinac Center for Public Policy
As the country’s economic crisis ripens into catastrophe, state and local governments are dropping all pretense of being `public servants’ and are behaving like tax-subsidized robber bands. Actually, this comparison is unfair, since most private criminals don’t enjoy the security, income, and benefits lavished on government employees. Steven Greenhut’s timely and provocative book Plunder documents how governments at every level have degenerated into criminal oligarchies siphoning away what remains of our wealth – and suggests some ways we can put a stop to this institutionalized larceny.
—William Norman Grigg, Publisher, Pro Libertate (freedominourtime.blogspot.com)