LAT’s Steve Lopez: Pension crisis real — not unions’ fault. Huh?

April 24, 2013

By Chris Reed

The unsustainability of the public employee pension system in California has been obvious for at least six or seven years to anyone who understood two simple facts: the demographics of our aging government workforce and the irrationality of CalPERS’ argument in 1999 that retroactive pension giveaways could be paid for with a perpetual boom on Wall Street.

The unsustainability of the public employee pension system in California was no longer a matter of serious debate after August 2009, when then-CalPERS lead actuary Ron Seeling said CalPERS’ benefit structure was “unsustainable.”

So for all those inclined to hail Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez’s decision to finally acknowledge reality in his column posted Tuesday night, hold your horses. Lopez should have been able to figure this out long ago and tried to force honesty from his fellow liberals.

YTTC_104_Steve_LopezAnd then there’s the ridiculous fact that Lopez absolves unions from their key role in the creation of this status quo. Here is how Lopez puts it:

“It’s time for public employee unions to wake up and take a look around. Government services are shrinking, cities are crumbling, and they’re enjoying pay and benefit packages that many in the private sector would kill for. They need to give a little back. Yeah, I know, some of them already have. But it’s time for a little more.

“On healthcare contributions. On raises. On pensions. On retirement ages.


“Because up and down the state of California, and beyond, public officials foolishly negotiated contracts they can’t pay for without taking a cleaver to basic services, including police and fire protection, park maintenance, street repair. It’s not just the fault of those contracts. There’s also the economic dip and the housing crash, which put a squeeze on revenue. But that perfect storm has led to big trouble in San Jose and Stockton and Fresno and San Diego.

“And of course in Los Angeles.”

C’mon, Steve!

It’s all irresponsible “public officials'” fault, you see, not the puppet masters who chose them, got them elected and controlled their political futures. The union members who control CalPERS? Also not to blame!

Steve Lopez, 37 percent candid!

This is remindful of the 8,000-word New York Times Magazine 2009 analysis of California’s deep problems that didn’t mention unions at all except for passing references.

To quote Keyshawn Johnson: C’mon, man!

Steve, Steve, Steve! More, more, more! You can do it!



Write a comment
  1. Ken D.
    Ken D. 24 April, 2013, 08:51

    Nice to see Lopez taking some time off from race baiting.

    Reply this comment
  2. art
    art 24 April, 2013, 09:02

    The public will always idealize their kid’s teachers, police, and fire and demonize white collar service types(the countries biggest employer now) like IT, accounting, R and D, administrative, sales.. LOok at every TV show and movie..we (private sector service) are the enemy

    Reply this comment
  3. eatingdogfood
    eatingdogfood 24 April, 2013, 09:38

    If The Democrats Didn’t Give ” Sweetheart Deals ” To Your Public Service Union.
    Goon Employees To Get Reelected; You Would Have Plenty Of Money and The.
    Taxpayer would have Some Spare Change in His Pockets! Democratic Hustler
    Politicians + Corrupt Union Goons = BANKRUPTCY BABY! Time To Bring.
    RICO Conspiracy Charges Against The Hustler Corrupt Democrats and the.
    Criminal Unions!

    Reply this comment
  4. doug
    doug 24 April, 2013, 09:43

    gee, he almost pulled his head completely out of his ass.
    guaranteed pensions?
    or as the cop in redondo beach stated, “save a union job at any cost”
    in reference to parking meter maids making 90k a year.

    Reply this comment
  5. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 24 April, 2013, 11:01

    It appears Steve is already auditioning for his newspaper’s new owners: the Koch brothers.

    Reply this comment
  6. Kris Hunt, CoCoTAX
    Kris Hunt, CoCoTAX 24 April, 2013, 12:43

    I have sat in the Contra Costa County retirment board meetings and heard the union reps on that body say “that will cost our people money!” I even went to the then legal advisor and told her to admonish them about whose interests they were protecting.

    Reply this comment
  7. Tough Love
    Tough Love 24 April, 2013, 13:13

    Public Sector Union are a Cancer on Society …

    Reply this comment
  8. Hondo
    Hondo 24 April, 2013, 13:26

    Union math:
    $5+$5= $500,000,000,000 which equals a conservative guess on the unfunded Kali pension liabilities. That doesn’t even take into account the 127 billion in other debt the state owes.
    Math is hard.

    Reply this comment
  9. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 24 April, 2013, 15:00

    If U kin red dis tank a teechur.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  10. Jim Palermo
    Jim Palermo 24 April, 2013, 19:21

    C’mon man is Cris Carter’s line, not Keyshawn Johnson’s.

    Reply this comment
  11. Donkey
    Donkey 25 April, 2013, 20:56

    The RAGWUS is vehicle used to create the pension debacle, it was concieved in their back rooms!! 🙂

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

CA inequality much worse for Latinos than blacks

A new study of the state workforce by UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education shows income inequality rose

'Almost non-existent'

The Legislative Analyst’s Office released their long-awaited 2010-11 Budget Analysis this afternoon, and it’s not likely anyone will have any trouble finding

Brown seeks to prop up doomed bullet train with AB 32 $

As warned in this spot, Gov. Jerry Brown is conflating two of the state’s worst programs: “Brown plans to propose