Wages and benefits have stagnated across America—everywhere except in the public sector, that is, and especially in California. According to a new study, the average public sector employee in the Golden State makes more in retirement than the average private sector employee does on the job. The Orange County Breeze reports:
The new study found that the average pension for a retired public employee in California was $68,673 in 2015, before benefits. By contrast, active private-sector workers earned on average just $54,326.
That same year, the maximum Social Security benefit for a high-wage earner retiring at age 66 was just $32,244 – less than half the benefit of a retired government worker.
Study author Ed Ring analyzed 23 of the largest pension systems in California, representing 95 percent of all state and local government retirees – over 1 million retirees.
It may sound nice that California pays its employees so well—for the retirees, surely, working for the state is a sweet deal. But for taxpayers, it’s unsustainable. Meanwhile, current employees and some current retirees can no longer expect to get the money they’ve been promised thanks to massively underfunded pensions systems.
There’s no obvious reason governments need so many well-compensated employees. Increasingly expensive government labor means worse services for the poor and working classes. California needs to get a handle on this problem before it bankrupts the state.