These supposedly smart college students aren't smart enough to connect the dots; perhaps they're so desperate to be provided an education:
Hundreds of University of California students rallied against a 32% tuition hike last week. Let's hope their future employers get a better work product. With just a little research, the students could have discovered that compensation packages won from the state by unions were a big reason for the hike.In 1999, the Democratic legislature ran a reckless gamble that makes Wall Street's bankers look cautious. At the top of a bull market, they assumed their investment returns would grow at a 8.25% rate in perpetuity—equivalent to assuming that the Dow would reach 25,000 by 2009—and enacted a huge pension boon for public-safety and industrial unions.
The bill refigured the compensation formula for pension benefits of all public-safety employees who retired on or after January 1, 2000. It let firefighters retire at age 50 and receive 3% of their final year's compensation times the number of years they worked.
In 2002, the state legislature further extended benefits to many nonsafety classifications, such as milk and billboard inspectors. More than 15,000 public employees have retired with annual pensions greater than $100,000.
In the last decade, government worker pension costs (not including health care) have risen to $3 billion from $150 million, a 2,000% jump, while state revenues have increased by 24%. Because the stock market didn't grow the way the legislature predicted in 1999, the only way to cover the skyrocketing costs of these defined-benefit pension plans has been to cut other programs (and increase taxes).Memo to marching students: The governor can't save you. You guys need a new legislature. This one is selling you out. Organize an opposition and vote them out in November. Plan B is quit school and become a state billboard inspector.