Turns out the unions suffered another defeat Tuesday night:
The most significant election on Tuesday wasn’t in Wisconsin.
It was in San Jose and San Diego, where nearly 70% of citizens voted for public-sector union pension reforms, introduced by Democrats, that could save their cash-strapped cities billions of dollars.
California voters rallying behind pension reforms introduced by mayors shows the sea change in the politics of public-sector unions. Connect the dots between Scott Walker’s decisive defeat of the recall effort spurred by his rollback of collective bargaining and the push by Democrats and Republicans to restore a semblance of fiscal responsibility and you’ll see this once controversial idea is beginning to garner bipartisan support.
The union is suing, incidentally.
This is part of a nationwide shift toward reigning in public pensions. Let’s be clear: the public doesn’t want public employees to go without pensions or to be deprived. What they realize is that We. Are. Out. Of. Money. And we simply can not afford the hundreds of billions in future liabilities these pension plans are racking up. We can not afford to have people retire after 30 or even as little as 20 years and then be paid their maximum salary plus wage growth forever.
Note also: it was Democrats who introduced these changes, just as Democrats have introduced such changes in Massachusetts and Democrat Tom Barrett, in the Wisconsin recall, dropped the union benefits issue from his platform. The Democrats know that this must be done. And they’re fine with it being done … as long as they do it. But when Republicans do the same thing, it’s too big of an opportunity to scream blue murder for them to admit that it’s the right thing.
(As a contrast, the new French government wants to lower the retirement age. French socialists: making Democrats look smart.)
We are finally seeing the defusing of the fiscal time bomb that has been hanging over us for a decade.. If we ever get some movement on Social Security and Medicare, there may actually be hope for this country.
Update: Miguelito points out that the San Diego provision was strongly opposed by Democrats. And it bears remembering that Jerry Brown opposes reform and Michigan is currently in a big union fight. Most of the Democrats are still in the union pocket. But there are cracks in the facade. That Tom Barrett dropped the union benefits issue was it was a ten-pound maggot tells you they can read the writing on the wall.