“Plunder!” is a book worth your time (Part 1)

Steven Greenhut’s book should be read by anyone trying to figure out how in the world the federal, state, and local governments have made such a mess. The title and subtitle are:

Plunder! How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives, and Bankrupting The Nation.

Using words like “scam” to describe government policies is harsh, and I’ve used it on occasion to describe government pension plans. Steven Greenhut uses the word often. Here are a few definitions of the word from online dictionaries:

  • A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle.
  • To defraud.
  • A stratagem for gain.
  • A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme.
  • To deceive someone.

When government employees and employee unions construct circumstances using political power to award themselves generous pay, benefit, and pension plans, the word scam certainly fits. As much as possible is done in secret. Now the lid has been blown off through the work of many people across the country.

Greenhut’s book outlines in great detail every facet of the scam. Congressman Tom McClintock writes in the book’s first Foreward that “Plunder!” is “the tale of how the rise of a pampered mandarin class systematically and methodically gain political power and use it…”

In the book’s second Foreward, Mark Bucher writes that it’s “a field manual of information and examples for the millions of Americans who are wondering what has gone wrong in American and what can be done to fix it.”

Bucher writes that politicians are “beholden to, or fearful of, the war chests of the public employee unions.” Of course that’s exactly right – so the only way sanity will return will be when politicians fear the activism and war chests of those who support good economic sense and balanced budgets.

Even with the downturn in the economy, Greenhut writes that “the pillaging of the public treasury goes on to this day.” One of the big points to take away from the book is that the pay, pension and benefit levels have been granted by government. So while it is a pillaging, it is a pillaging with the help of the people that voters elect to run the store.

Greenhut writes:

Public employees should receive a fair level of pay and decent retirements, but they should not be able to use their political muscle to secure absurd compensation levels, or be allowed to engage in dubious pension-spiking schemes or get such rich deals that future generations of Americans are going to be stuck with the debt.

Up next: More Plunder!