Ex-Government Workers in California Make More Than Those Still Working in the Private Sector

Last week the California Policy Center released a new study that compared the average full-career government pension to the average annual earnings of a full-time private sector worker. Not surprisingly, at least for anyone paying attention, ex-government workers make 26 percent more than people make in the private sector who are still working. The average government pension after 30 years work? $68,673. The average private sector pay? $54,326.

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Pension moneyHow is it possible to pay government workers more when they’re retired than the rest of us make while we work? How can we afford this? When you try to answer this question, you begin to see just how misguided the left in California has gotten – at least the “left” as it is conventionally understood.

Because the left wants everything. And the government unions who control the “left” in California, along with the state Legislature and nearly every major city and county, promise everything. If any politician or public speaker stands up to them, they help organize demonstrations by left-wing activists, where, when they aren’t breaking windows and spraying innocent people with mace, they chant silly little phrases.

For example, they want to turn California into a “sanctuary” and invite millions of destitute immigrants to join the millions who are already here. But at the same time, they want to block development of land, energy, water and transportation assets, because that might harm the earth.

Please come on in, we welcome millions more
but building homes is sinful, so go sleep on the floor

The reason leftists are dupes is because despite all their resentment of “privilege,” they ignore the agenda of the most privileged special interest that has ever existed, which are the government unions in the state of California. They’re so busy insisting that California’s government invite the entire world’s destitute population – while simultaneously doing nothing to make room for them – that they’ve failed to realize that it is the government unions who are the only winners in this miserable equation.

Neglect the roads, let dams give way
but increase public servant pay

Every era has had its dupes, but the reason California’s leftists are the biggest dupes in the history of the world is because they haven’t figured out that their supposed friends are actually sleeping with the enemy. The left demonizes the wealthy, they demonize the banks, they demonize “Wall Street,” but fail to realize that their own state government – leftist to the core – is partnering with these corrupt financial special interests.

Who do they think invests nearly $800 billion of pension fund assets, collecting billions in fees? Who do they think lends billions to cash-strapped state and local governments that have gone broke paying government workers twice what ordinary citizens make? Who do you think benefits when restrictions on land and energy development cause asset bubbles at the same time as they drive the cost of living through the roof?

We hate wealth, we hate greed
but we are Wall Street’s friend in need


Invest your savings in the market, and lose it in the crash
but we’ll increase your taxes, so pension funds have cash

No expose of California’s left is complete without mentioning how they have corrupted environmentalism. In a practical world, we would strike a reasonable balance between development and preservation, so prosperity might lift billions out of poverty, empower women who actually need empowerment, and stabilize those burgeoning populations who eye the developed nations with understandable envy. Instead, California’s leftist oligarchs, supported by millions of leftist dupes, have decided to encourage immigration while actually curtailing our supplies of energy, water and land.

If this were all based on pure and naive idealism, one might forgive it. But these Malthusian, misanthropic masochists have embraced rationing as a substitute for development, abetted by surveillance systems that would make George Orwell blush, to make sure nobody uses a single kilowatt-hour or gallon of water more than they’re allotted. Want to plant a hedge, a lawn, or a “water guzzling” tree? Do you love to nurture living things on a lot bigger than a postage stamp? Not in California. Meanwhile, wealthy Silicon Valley “entrepreneurs” develop the mandatory sensors that will let your appliances monitor your behavior, at the same time as wealthy corporate interests plant vast new orchards of thirsty nut trees on the arid western acreage of the Central Valley.

Take short showers, pay excessive fees
so corporations can plant Walnut trees

California’s leftists aren’t helping themselves, the rest of humanity or the earth. They are dupes of the oligarchy. They have been duped into ignoring a profound, counter-intuitive, and very nonpartisan political reality: Government unions and wealthy elites are working together to undermine our liberty and our prosperity. At best, California’s leftists are blinded by their ideals and biases. At worst, they are seditious traitors to the people and the culture that gave them the time and the freedom to crowd our public spaces with their vandalism and their vacuous rhymes.

Ed Ring is the vice president of policy research for the California Policy Center.


  1. One thing this study doesn’t show is ex-government workers also pay more in taxes than the private sector does. It should also be noted that more than half of the private sector is also on welfare and receiving food stamps while ex-government employees pay their bills.

  2. Thom Raasio says

    I find it hard to even pray for these creeps. Let them live it up. This is their heaven, but its a short tiny stay compared to the hundreds of thousands and millions and billions and trillions and quadrillions of years they will spend screaming in HELL. Leave ’em alone. that’s more than enough punishment for their crimes.

  3. It’s not just leftists. When Republicans have been in charge, what have they done? They’re happy to let the gravy train continue when it’s their people at the trough. If you’re tired of this sort of thing, stop supporting the 2-party cartel and vote Libertarian for a change.

  4. My wife has worked as a Children’s Librarian for her career but her retirement sucks. Mainly because LA County pays squat to the employees as to opposed what the bigwigs get. The only good thing about retirement income is it will be paying our medical care during our retirement. My 401k will be our income (plus the little Social Security may pay me). Also because of where she worked she cannot get Social Security (the spouse share or her own). If she had not worked at all she would receive the spouse portion of my Social Security.

    Starchild – We have pretty much a one party system in California. How often do you see a Democrat and any other party on the ballot for a state office other than in the primary? There are are almost always 2 democrats.

  5. Patton'sGhost says

    100% spot on accurate description of Cali’s dysfunctional political system and general culture & EXACTLY why we’ve determined that the best solution to this problem is to flee while we can…
    Before the Hispanderers figure out that their tax base is cashing in & moving out & they legislate an “exit tax” on our real estate sale proceeds…
    Think it can’t happen??? Out by Memorial Day…Earlier if possible…
    Viva La Reconquista y Viva Las Unuiones…

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