While I was still on the bench I heard from several members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that they were set up financially for life because of the Sheriff’s Union. How did that come about? Because who cares more about which candidates are elected to the County Board of Supervisors than their union? So they find candidates who are sympathetic to their cause, rally around them “for safety purposes,” and make sizeable donations to their elections. Then, of course, when those candidates win, they pay the union back by providing them frequent raises in their salaries and also with lush benefits. And, if the newly-elected supervisors don’t do enough for the union’s bidding after they take office, they know full well that the union will support a different candidate in the next election. And the same situation is present for other public employees’ unions as well, like the state’s prison guards’ union.

What kind of benefits do they get? (You’ll love this.) Most public employees through their unions have a provision that when they retire they will get let’s say three percent of their last year’s salary for every year they were employed. So if they worked for 20 years, they would receive 60 percent of their last year’s salary. (Conceptually I don’t think that is unreasonable, up to a point.) But how is their last year’s salary computed? Here is the huge problem. They take all of the overtime in their last year that they can possibly take, and since their supervisors are a part of the game, that is a lot. Then that is counted throughout their retirement as their last year’s salary. But there’s more, because they also don’t take any of their vacation during that last year, which they sell back – and that counts as well! So by the time the last year’s salary is computed, it often is more than 100 percent of what their base salary was – for the rest of their lives! And with the so-called “California Rule,” it is prohibited to change that equation after they first are hired. So throughout this process, no one is there to protect the taxpayers. And that is mostly and precisely why most cities and counties have so much un-funded debt today. And guess who will be saddled with paying those deficits? Mostly our children and our grandchildren! Does that make you as upset as it makes me? In fact, you might remember that even pro-union FDR actually was against public employee unions. So if you are opposed to what is happening so rampantly today, vote Libertarian every time you can! We are basically the only salvation in sight.

Irony of the week: Probably the most misspelled word in our language is the word “misspell.”

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

As stated above, feel free to listen to our radio show entitled All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray as we discuss timely issues and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches. The series has concluded, but you can still hear any edition On Demand by going to https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3883. And, by the way, these 2 Paragraphs columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty. In addition, my new book with the same title as my radio show is now available at Amazon.com. Please read and discuss it with your friends, and send in a review.