By Hillel Aron
Have you heard? California is broke. Its cities fall into bankruptcy one by one. Its growing pension liabilities threaten to sink us into the cold black pacific ocean. And so the California Legislature has bravely decided to take the bull by the horns and…
No, that’s not quite right. But they’re at least holding the line by… wait, what?
Assembly Bill 2451, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan (is this a twilight zone episode?) support in the legislature, awaits its final vote in the State Senate.
The bill would, in all seriousness, fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars to the surviving relatives of public employees who die of natural causes.
I swear I’m not making this up.
Let’s say a firefighter, policeman or prison guard dies from a heart attack. As the law stands now, if he’s still employed, his surviving family is entitled to compensation. The statute of limitation is 4 and 1/2 years– so if he dies of a heart attack 4 years after retiring, his family still gets the money. AB 2451 would remove the statute of limitations– i.e., the cop or firefighter dies of a heart attack or cancer at age 95, the state will still pay out like a slot machine– we’re talking $250,000 to $300,000.
Nary a mention of any of this, by the by, in the LA Times. Here’s the Sac Bee’s editorial:
Its practical effect is to give every police officer, every firefighter, every prison guard or park ranger a taxpayer-funded life insurance policy. To pay for that extraordinary benefit, services will have to be cut. In some jurisdictions, even police and firefighters could be laid off to pay for it.
In a year in which three California cities have already filed for bankruptcy protection and more are at risk of insolvency, when the governor is begging voters to approve a tax increase and seriously contemplating cutting the school year, this bill represents a gross overreach by the state’s most powerful unions.
This is happening because:
a) California lawmakers don’t care how much things cost years from now, long after they’re termed out
b) California lawmakers are completely in the pocket of public employee unions, who rule this state like a workers’ soviet
c) California lawmakers just aren’t really paying attention most of the time, are not very good at their jobs
d) All of the above
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to cry.