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How Public Employee Unions are Bankrupting the Nation

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HS - Jason Hartman Income Property Investing (1)Jason talks with Steven Greenhut who is director of PRI’s Journalism Center, which will be launched in January 2010 to provide in-depth news coverage of California government, with a focus on uncovering waste, fraud and misuse of taxpayer dollars. Visit http://www.holisticsurvival.com/category/audio-podcast/.

Previously, Greenhut was deputy editor and columnist for The Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif. He joined the Register’s editorial page staff in 1998, after serving as editorial page editor of The Lima News, a daily newspaper in northwest Ohio. Both newspapers are owned by Irvine-based Freedom Communications. He is author of the 2004 book, “Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain.” His columns have been published in newspapers across the country including the Wall Street Journal.

In 2005, Greenhut won the Institute for Justice’s Thomas Paine Award for his writing promoting freedom. He is a senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix. His new book on public employee unions will be out in November. It is titled, “Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation.” He graduated from George Washington University, is married and has three daughters.

Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, how to understand threats, and how to create the ultimate action plan. udden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Jason Hartman.

Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show. This is your host Jason Hartman and this is show number 27. Today we’re going to talk to Steven Greenhut who is the author of Plunder. And I tell you, it is just amazing what is going on in big unions, big government, and the massive abuses that are taking place nowadays. It is nothing less than despicable. USA Today article I’m holding in my hand talks about how federal workers are earning double their private counterparts. This whole thing is coming to an end and it’s coming to an end fast. People are outraged and you should be outraged too. It is a total abuse of your tax dollars, of the public treasury, and it has got to stop. Check this out. Federal compensation has grown 36.9% since the year 2000 after adjusting for inflation, compared with only 8.8% for private workers. And we see the businesses in this country, the small businesses. And when I talk about big business, big business is just part of the government bureaucracy really. I mean big businesses purchase the government, they get favorable regulations to limit competition written for them through their lobbyists. And Main Street, the small businesses, the backbone of this country, are getting taken advantage of it every level. It is totally ridiculous that they cannot come up with government spending and government taxing and government regulations, and they can’t afford to fight it. They can’t hire lobbyists to do all this stuff that the big companies can do. And really looking back in history, you can thank John F. Kennedy, in 1962 I believe it was, who allowed federal workers to unionize, and then Jerry Brown in California in the 70s who allowed the state workers to unionize. Double check my history on that if you want. Those are some fairly loose statistics there, but it’s just unbelievable these abuses. In this article in USA Today, it shows compensation for the federal civilian, the state and local government, and private. And it shows salary and benefits. So the federal civilian, get this, is earning a whopping $81,258 and they’ve got another $41,791 in benefits, totally disgusting for a total of $123,000. The state and local government person is earning $53,000 in change, another 6…Well, basically $17,000 in benefits for a total of basically $70,000 a year. Well the person who is the real backbone of America in private enterprise is earning $50,462 and only $10,589 in benefits for a total of $61,000. People are totally outraged. This is coming to an end. So don’t think you’re going to be jumping to some federal job and have it easy because people are just fed up in this country. They are totally fed up and I hope you are and I hope you’re talking to people about it. I hope you’re talking about it on the social media, Twitter, Facebook, etcetera, because for those who aren’t paying attention it is our duty to bring it to their attention.
So we’ll go to the interview here. I hope you enjoyed that last show, number 26, which was with Robert Higgs who talked about neither liberty nor safety, fear ideology and the growth of government. It’s along the lines of the same subject. And we’ve got a bunch of good shows coming up for you here. I know we’ve been producing more slowly of late, but we’ve recorded a few great ones and they’re coming up soon. So watch for those. Make sure you tell your friends about the Holistic Survival Show. And if you’re interested in the financial component of Holistic Survival, remember we’re all about protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in uncertain times. Here, we’ll cover people and places. Profits, on the financial side, check out my other shows on that, the Financial Freedom Report, the Creating Wealth show, that’s the biggie, the Speed of Money show. And if you’re a first responder, if you’re a police fire or emergency medical people, check out our heroic investing show. And younger people, check out the Young Wealth show for learning how to get a good financial start in life. And those are all on ITunes, they’re all on their respective websites. JasonHartman.com links to all of them, so does HolisticSurvival.com. So check all those out. They’re all free, they’re all there for your benefit. Spread the word about all the shows and we will be back with the interview right after this where we will talk to Steven Greenhut after his quick message.

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Jason Hartman: My pleasure to welcome Steven Greenhut to the show. He is the author of Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation. This is a scary topic. It’s all too true and it’s all too timely with what has gone on in Bell, California recently where plunder is the name of the game. Steven, welcome.

Steven Greenhut: Oh, thanks for having me.

Jason Hartman: So what’s going on in the world of these rotten politicians, stealing all the money from the public treasury and the unions and…It seems like we have these sort of iron triangles if you will where all of these interests are just protecting each other and we no longer really have a government of the people and by the people anymore, do we?

Steven Greenhut: Well, certainly, one thing I find, a lot of the plundering has been going on at the city level and a municipal level, and we see that city of Bell I mean have a city manager whose total compensation package is like $1.5 million. His salary was almost $800,000. His pension is estimated to be worth about $30 million. What I find hilarious is that he got more than about 6 months of leave a year. So he wasn’t even there for most of the time. So it is plundering and it just seems like almost downright thievery. And this went on for a long time.

And one of the points I make in the book and I like to talk about is, just what you said, how these interests just seem to protect each other. And most of what goes on on city business, by the time it gets to the public hearing, by the time the public’s there watching, and few people even pay any attention in the cities we all live in, most of the main decisions have already been made and the [00:07:30] has been in.

And I give one story in the book that took place up in Fullerton in Orange County, California. But it’s just so similar of what happens everywhere, just how this massive pension increase is moving forward and it was all done quietly, legally of course, but quietly. The public wasn’t informed about what was going on. The city staff was negotiating with the unions. And of course the city stuff that was negotiating with the unions stood to benefit from that massive pension increase themselves because we’re members of the union. And most of the politicians were in favor of it because of the strong support they got from the unions.

So they put together this deal in closed session because the state’s open records law mandates that salary and type issues are done in closed session, so the public didn’t know what was going on. And the politicians are supposed to tell the public at least the nature of the closed session discussions, but you would never know by looking at the agenda item that was publicized what the heck was going on.

Jason Hartman: How do they hide this? What do they say on the agenda, Steve?

Steven Greenhut: Well, you know, I forget exactly what was on that agenda, but they say things like memorandum of understanding, number 1, 2, 3, 4, something like that. You would never have any idea what was going on. I mean I saw this a lot. My first book was eminent domain abuse and a lot of these big plans that are pushed forward, in plain English mean that the city is going to take the property and bulldoze a neighborhood, and give it to a big developer to build a series of chain stores or an auto mall, but what they send to the public is you would never get that. You’d need to be a lawyer to even have some idea what they’re talking about. So what happens is the municipalities follow the letter of the law. They send out the appropriate notices at the appropriate time, but they do everything they can to obscure the reality of the subject of what they’re doing.

And I did one column for my old employer, the Orange County Register, where I took the letter that was sent by the city of Garden Grove, also in Orange County, California too, a neighborhood, people who lived in a neighborhood that was being targeted for eminent domain. The city officials wanted to put a theme park on this relatively nice middle class neighborhood because they were seeking tax revenue, so the city pretty much was working quietly, and then they send this letter, they have to follow the law that requires the notification of people living there, but the letter, it was just jargon. It was almost like oh, congratulations. We’re doing this sort of thing in your neighborhood. And you needed to know, you needed the inside story about what was going on. And unless there’s a politician who’s willing to stand up for the public, the average person just really gets bulldozed in the process. And this process is such, as you point out, where the interested parties seem to manipulate it for their own personal gain often.

And we see that with the unions, I see it with the police and fire unions are notorious. They champion themselves as heroes in a public that likes to think highly of police and firefighters, but often they champion themselves in a way that leads to financial gain and they used…they used that. I’ve seen unions use the 9/11 tragedy as a way to really shut up discussion about their own pay and benefit packages which are quite extreme in many cases.

Jason Hartman: Well, are you saying, Steve, are you really making a statement then that police and firefighters don’t deserve $200,000 plus per year and pensions for 90% of their income at age 50?

Steven Greenhut: I think I could go out on a limb and say that. This is one of the interesting things where in some of these subjects such as pensions and pay and the imminent domain issue’s another one where there really is places for agreement among people with wildly different political viewpoints. I’m not a republican partisan. I’m a libertarian. I believe in limited government. But also, I find that, for instance on the pension issue, dealing with some folks out in San Francisco, the real true liberals who understand the degree to which in one case they were pulling out a $500,000 pay and benefit package for police officers, not even the police chief. Now, these sorts of enrichments schemes are really obliterating the programs they care about. And the way I see it is we can argue over what the ideal size of government should be at a later date, but we can agree, find common ground. Now I’ve never been a big fan of these kumbaya sessions where you sit down with someone who you don’t agree with on anything and you try to come up with some common ground which really isn’t common ground, right? As well as common denominator…But you can often find real common ground with people who disagree. On the imminent domain issue, I mean I remember being at a conference where I spoke where Maxine Waters, a very liberal congresswoman from south LA, where she’s great on that issue.

You make common ground with people wherever you can. And on these issues, I think there’s room for it because, going back to what you said, there have been a lot of folks in power have manipulated the system for their own benefit, and Bell is the most ridiculous example. It seems clear that the officials there…It’s all allegations we’re seeing, but it looks like they may have conspired to keep the public in the dark and they may have committed crimes in doing so, but often no crimes or alleged crimes are committed and people in power just…they just try to keep the issue out of the public view and benefits themselves.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, it’s really unfortunate. And it is amazing that these conflicts of interests can exist, Steve. There are all these ethics laws and so forth. But they just don’t work because people always find a way around them. They find a way to skirt the issue, don’t they?

Steven Greenhut: That’s it. I mean, I think we’re becoming a nation where we have more and more rules and laws. And yet when you think about it…Well, there’s no question about that, but we’ve reached so many. We’ve reached such a point and yet it almost has the opposite effect because the people who are not going to follow the law it’s easier almost for them in this sort of system. And then all these rules end up entrapping regular people who make honest mistakes. So I’m really disturbed by that area or aspect of our society and how we seem to be going down that road.

Jason Hartman: Yeah. No, I definitely agree with you. I mean it’s so naïve that people actually believe that the government will protect us from these self-interested iron triangles. It is so far detached that there’s this sort of elite class in media, government, unions, etcetera, that is just sort of plundering. That’s the perfect title. They’re just taking from the public treasury over and over again. And when it comes to the issue of the pension side of it, Steve, we have this tsunami of pensions. The state of California is basically insolvent for all practical purposes. I don’t know if a chapter 9 bankruptcy is coming or if an Obama bailout is coming. Print more fake money to buy votes I guess. That seems to be the strategy in Washington.

Steven Greenhut: Inflation would be the new tax to pay for it I suppose.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, yeah. And by the way, let me just expand on that. What you mean by the inflation tax is that the value of everybody’s savings, stocks, bonds, home equity, will just be attacked because those dollars will become progressively worthless, and it’s a very dangerous thing. But what’s gonna happen to the state of California? Since your focus is really on local government, you’re in Sacramento and you’ve done a lot of work here for the Orange County Register, I’m in Orange County, what do you think’s the outcome here?

Steven Greenhut: That’s a hard one to see where…I mean I’m good at pointing to the problem. Now the states can’t go bankrupt but they can become essentially bankrupt, going into insolvency. And as you point out correctly, the state really is in de facto bankruptcy. The Stanford University report found that the unfounded pension liabilities, which is the debt, is $500 billion dollars it would be. I mean that’s an incredible amount of money. So the unions have been attacking that study. Well, okay, even the conservative estimate says it’s $300 billion dollars. I mean it’s still an enormous amount of debt that we can’t possibly pay for to state as a structural budget deficit about $19 billion dollars. And the state’s democrats want to just keep raising taxes which is just going to chase businesses out of state and so it’s an absolute mess. And yeah, I don’t know what happens. And then at the federal level, yeah, the Obama administration thinks we could just bail out everyone by borrowing more money, so that’s where I think maybe we’ll get to the inflation. I assume the bond markets essentially will have to reign in some of the spending. But in the federal level, and I quote the CEO of the Federal Reserve of Dallas who had given a speech talking about just the Medicare and Social Security debt, and he said if we want to be responsible citizens…Let’s just say we want to be responsible citizens and pay that off right now. And he said “Okay fine, every man, woman, and child write a check for $330,000 and send it to the federal treasury.” So it’s impossible. How do we do that? I mean how do we…We’re at debt levels that are impossible to pay back.

Jason Hartman: No, they really are. And there’s no way to work this out with productivity. I think the way it’s gonna be worked out is just inflation. They’re gonna inflate the debt away. They’re gonna keep all the promises in nominal dollars, but in real dollars they’ll be worthless. So people that get their social security checks in ten years, you won’t be able to buy a Big Mac with it probably. It’s just really a treacherous situation we find ourselves in. Well, talk to us more about the unions if you would, some of the nuances of the way that this is just costing our society such a fortune.

Steven Greenhut: Yeah, mean there’s no question on the pension and the benefit levels, the debt levels we have, they’re clearly unsustainable. And even some liberal democrats like Willy Brown and Bill Lockyer, the treasurer, the chief actuary for CalPERS, the California Public Employee Retirement System said it unsustainable. So there’s the first way. And it’s not just pensions. It’s the healthcare liabilities. But one of the points I like to make or two points that are beyond the financial issues, as severe as they are, is one’s an accountability issue. The unions have been able to protect their workers from serious levels of accountability and I’ve seen that in dealing with bad deputies who abuse their power, I mean how the unions seem to make it very difficult to bring justice to deputies and police who abuse their power. Impossible to fire a lot of these government workers. And I was on the Stossel Show and we were talking about LA Times had done an investigative piece on what it takes to fire bad teachers. It was a series, it was amazing. She said LA unified. The officials there don’t even try to fire incompetent teachers. That’s impossibility. We’re talking about trying to get rid of teachers credibly accused of sexual abuse and drug abuse and those sorts of things. And it could still take 7, 10, 12 years to get rid of them. They’re put in these things called rubber room where they sit there all day and collect their full checks. So that’s a union system that…

Jason Hartman: That’s unbelievable.

Steven Greenhut: Yeah, so what was amazing was he showed me…We’re kind of laughing, the audience is laughing. He’s showing this chart that’s in small print of boxes and arrows showing how you get rid of the disciplinary process and how you get rid of a bad teacher. And it goes on and on and on and on, step 1 through many steps. And then we’re all laughing because of all the many steps. And then he lets loose and there are four more pages that fall to the ground. So it’s just ridiculous. So the unions make it impossible to fire even the worst teachers. And the same thing, I’ve seen it with deputies, abusive guards and deputies, can’t get rid of them. So wow, that’s a terrible thing that we’ve created, and then the other cost…And that’s a cost in public services, right? Because we can’t reform the public services. We can’t improve the school systems. We can’t improve our policing if you can’t get rid of back actors. And then the other thing is a fairness issue. We’re creating a society, a two-tier society of the rulers and the ruled which is not what we’re supposed to have in America. And that takes a toll I think on the kind of freedoms that we have. And we’re creating a society of not only all these rules, but we’re creating a society where we’re getting used to being searched and examined and watched.

I did a piece for a column recently about how just going to a park to swim down the river we had to get searched by the park ranger to make sure we didn’t have any bear. And it’s just I think one of the biggest problems as to what kind of society are we creating?

Jason Hartman: Well, we’ve got all these draconian laws. I mean you mention the beer thing. I remember when if you’re in Huntington Beach and many beaches, it was okay to have fires and drink beer and all of that kind of stuff. And it seems like all these Draconian laws have just been enacted and enacted for a few reasons. Number one, so the government always has something on everybody. There are so many laws that we’re all unintentionally breaking laws that we don’t even know about. The old saying that I heard growing up is ignorance of the law is no excuse and that makes a lot of sense. But how can anyone be aware of all of these laws? If you are in business, it is impossible not to be breaking some law. Are your countertops the right height? Does your door have the right level of tension into the rest room? It’s just craziness.

Steven Greenhut: No, you’re exactly right, because you could at any time. And that’s one of the core ideas that our founders fought against, this idea that you could at any time be pulled over for any reason, or pulled over or stopped or harassed…

Jason Hartman: Unlawful search and seizure.

Steven Greenhut: And basically that’s what’s happening. We have so many rules and it’s impossible, yeah. If you’re a business owner, I don’t know who in their right mind would start a business in this state.

Jason Hartman: Not in California.

Steven Greenhut: Yeah, and it’s bad elsewhere too. But yeah, I know businesses who they’re subject to the AQMD, air quality and management district that is very odd in their enforcement and punitive even on things that are honest mistakes. We did a series, one of my reporters at CalWatchDog on about how CARB, the air resources board, is putting people in jail for really what amounts to honest regulatory mistakes. And how could anybody know what all these regulations are? So we’re all just subject to the whims of the enforcement agents. I think that’s a very troubling atmosphere.

Jason Hartman: It is.

Steven Greenhut: Eroding of freedom. And what happens is that the liberals often expand all of these laws. You know, they turn little things into environmental crimes. But then the conservatives always want more law enforcement. So it kind of works hand in hand as this kind of ruling class thing where we get it both ways. And one other thing, the Washington Post did a big story about our natural security state and how it’s called “Top Secret America, A Hidden World Growing Beyond Control” and it just talks about the top secret world the government created in response to the attacks of September 11th have become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, and how many programs exist within it. So we’ve created this enormous government that can spy and do anything it wants and we can’t even tell you how many people work for it or what they do or what their powers are. That doesn’t seem like a limited government to me.

Jason Hartman: Couldn’t agree more.  You mentioned the AQMD and I just thought I’d bring this up because I had the pleasure to spend the day there several years ago when I was in a community group called Leadership Tomorrow, a 9 month program where you went through and saw all these different aspects of the community. Well, one of our days was at the AQMD, which by the way is in Diamond Bar. It has a gorgeous building, a beautiful office, and beautiful I think Herman Miller furniture. And it was just gorgeous. I mean it was like walking into the lobby of an expensive hotel.

Steven Greenhut: I’ve been there. I lived in Diamond Bar and there were meetings there, different sort of community meetings in that building. You’re exactly right.
Jason Hartman: Well, remember, I asked our host who is showing us around the building, talking about what the AQMD does and all the good they do and how they make the air better and all this stuff, and I just asked this sort of innocent question. I said this is really quite an operation you’ve got. It’s a beautiful facility. Where does the revenue come from? And she proudly says we do not accept (at least at the time, this may have changed)…We do not accept money from the government. We are funded by fining businesses.

Steven Greenhut: Oh, great.

Jason Hartman: Oh, great. So you’re running the businesses out of the state by fining them. And she would talk throughout the day about how they come in and look at the company’s parking lot and how they had to make sure that if you drove your own car to work, it was very difficult to park. Only if you carpooled could you park in the good spots, and otherwise you have the bad spots. And all this stuff seems well intended in the beginning and it just never works in practice.

Steven Greenhut: Just torments us. I do believe a lot of these folks, that’s their whole goal is just to torment us to make us pay for our horrible consumer lifestyle, whatever it is they seem to think. But I’m here. I’m reading just back on what we were talking about, about the number of rules. I just found this quotation from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged…

Jason Hartman: Great book.

Steven Greenhut: Yeah, absolutely. And here, they quote one of the bad guys, says “Do you really think we want these laws observed? We want them to be broken. You better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against. We’re after power and we meant it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” So that’s I think the kind of idea that we’re starting to see that’s very troubling.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, it sure is. It really is troubling. Steve, I mean, what are we gonna do about it? How will this problem every…How will we ever fix it?

Steven Greenhut: You know, I just don’t know. You know, those of us, we do like what you do. We do radio shows and we write and it’s such a tough battle to get any sort of positive reform at all. And then the negative reforms, the negative things seem to come at us so quickly. I mean I really don’t know what you do except try to change the hearts and minds of the public. And I know people from the Soviet society or Eastern Europe, everyone there knew how bad things were and what a crummy system they had and a free system. And I think that’s the start. I’m not saying that our system is as bad as that. So don’t take it the wrong way.

Jason Hartman: It’s not that bad yet, but we’re moving in the wrong direction.

Steven Greenhut: People have to start recognizing that maybe we’re not as free as we think we are. And the first step in restoring some of our freedoms that have been lost is to recognize how stupid the government is and how malicious it is and how dangerous it is which is what the founders believe, that their main fear, their main threat was from their own government. That’s why we created this system of checks and balances and all different sorts of systems that were put in place to protect our fundamental right.

Jason Hartman: It seems that we’re really at a time when everybody is just looking out and they’re voting just to get their free stuff. And as they vote to get their free stuff and you do this collectively, everybody wants their little payout from government. But you mentioned earlier, Steve, that you can find common ground with people from both sides of the aisle. And, you know, I have heard Maxine Waters, who I disagree with vehemently, say one or two things that I actually agreed with her about from time to time. And pretty much everyone, it seems, on both sides of the aisle, will agree that government is inefficient. It is riddled with corruption and it’s just bad at execution. And so what I say to them is why not just make government smaller? If you agree that there are all these problems with government, why would you want to expand that entity? And the way to make it smaller is to cut off its money supply. You’ve just got to cut off the money going to it. And that’s why even people on the left will agree with that statement a lot of times that I just mentioned. Should I just vote for lower taxes? I’ve just to stop feeding the best. I know that’s why we lose them, but…

Steven Greenhut: Yeah. No, I just figure on a lot of smaller forms, I mean in a state like this we’ve got to work with everybody, but you’re exactly right. I mean here you have people will agree. You’ll be talking with folks and they’ll agree that yeah, look at the DMV, and look at our homeland security. When I’m talking to the lefties, I talk about look at how Bush abused his power, look at all this. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, why don’t we just limit those powers? Then they have a problem. But then people on the right, they agree about how awful government is and how it’s out of control and taxes are too high, but yet they support unlimited government in terms of the national security stage. And, you know, all these overseas endeavors are pretty expensive, and they’re not going to work any better than the great society worked. And then all this homeland security stuff, I mean this is government out of control. I mean obviously we need certain level of security measures, but they’re allowing their support for the general concept of security to cloud their judgment and they’re willing to allow government which is the same nature of government whether it’s doing national security or regulating our air quality. Government is government. It’s about force. So we’ve got to…We’ve got to limit government at all levels. And this assumption that if government doesn’t do something, then it won’t be done at all, which is just crazy. I mean do you think we wouldn’t have roads if the government never provided roads? Do you think we wouldn’t have schools? I mean do you think society just believes because government does something, that it must do something, do these things. And it’s just a constant education process that doesn’t seem to get anywhere, but hopefully someday the pendulum will start swinging back in the other direction.

Jason Hartman: Maybe what has to happen and maybe this will kind of be our closing thought here is that a couple states need to become insolvent completely, default on their obligations, renegotiate their contracts, God forbid we might have an actual revolution or some sort. Maybe like in Atlas Shrugged, maybe the productive will go on strike. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but something has got to change. America is headed in a very, very scary direction. And it’s so bloated it’s collapsing under its own weight all over the place.

Steven Greenhut: It does seem that way and I think the fact is most of us are affluent and most of the time we’re comfortable. And until the money supply starts drying up, I don’t think we’re going to see any change. And I’m not advocating for hard times, but it does seem as if these bad economic times, it’s only because of that as anyone dealing with these long term pension obligations and any of these other problems. So it would be nice if we could get together and fix these issues or not create the problems to begin with. And I hear a lot from politicians, will say what do we do about this pension issue? I’m like well you could have listened to me over the last 10 years when yet you voted for these things. It would have been nice to start by doing no harm.

Jason Hartman: Good point.

Steven Greenhut: So anyway, well it’s just I think at this point it’s an intellectual exercise trying to convince people of the need to reform these symptoms. And now that they’re taking advantage of down economy and trying to force our governments to at least live within their means.

Jason Hartman: Well, Steve, where can people find out more about your work?

Steven Greenhut: Yeah. I have the CalWatchDog.com website, which is just an investigative and news site dealing with California politics, so I encourage people to check that out as often as possible. It’s all about page views anymore. And also, my book is called Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives, and Bankrupting the Nation. It’s most easily available on Amazon. I still do my newspaper column, which you can see at the Orange County Register and the North County Times, and both have their websites. And I do some blogging for BigGovernment.com and so you’ll find my stuff around the web.

Jason Hartman: Excellent. Well Steven Greenhut, thank you so much for the insights and thank you for joining us today. Keep up the good work.

Steven Greenhut: Okay, thanks for having me. (Top image: Flickr | Jeffrey Beall)

A recent show you might enjoy…

Holistic Survival #145 with John Lott “America at the Brink”

The Holistic Survival Team

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Transcribed by Ralph

 

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