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Saturday, January 25, 2014

How Public Employees Have Superior Rights and Entitlements

Source: statebudgetsolutions

By Bill White On January 23, 2014

America’s founders left us one of the most thoughtful documents ever written. The U.S. Constitution is the basis of our republic, not democracy, and what has allowed the United States to become the most prosperous nation ever. 

The freedoms and rights written down on that document are what makes America so prosperous. Within the 14th Amendment to the Constitution there is a clause that reads:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Most people who read that think it is good, and believe that here in America we are all equal. Well make no mistake, some are more equal than others. Many states and the federal government have laws that are in direct conflict with the 14th Amendment. These states have laws that grant superior rights to public employees over the rest of its citizenry. This is a clear failure of equal protection. Here are three examples:


Currently there is a fight in Michigan over these rights. The public employee unions argue that under State law their pensions cannot be reduced. There are numerous examples of private sector workers who have had defined benefit pensions that were substantially reduced in bankruptcy. Steel and airline union members must be wondering why they didn’t enjoy that kind of constitutional protection with their pensions. Apparently the government didn’t find it necessary to provide them the same kind of equal protection under the law. Or more appropriately, these constitutional guarantees of pensions and benefits to public employees are unlawful, since the government has no business guaranteeing pensions.

The case in Detroit is very important nationally. The city is using the Federal Bankruptcy Code to reduce its pensions, because the pension funds are insolvent and unsustainable. As reported in the Detroit Free Press, on December 3, 2013, Judge Rhodes cleared the path for Detroit to proceed into bankruptcy and put the pension debt on the table with all the other debt to be cut (ref. “Judge rules pensions can be cut in Detroit bankruptcy“).

As a city, Detroit is subject to federal bankruptcy laws, however states are not. The next battle will be over state employee pensions, which are equally insolvent and unsustainable. It is here that the idea of “equal protection of the laws” should be applied. If a state is unable to guarantee pensions to every private citizen, than it should not be allowed to guarantee the pensions of its employees.


Imagine being able to buy a home for 50% the appraised value. Well, if you work for the government, you can do just that through the Housing and Urban Development’s “Good Neighbor Next Door Program.” The federal government is in the business of making risky home loans through HUD and the FHA. When these loans go bad the foreclosures are known as HUD homes. Some of these home are put into the “Good Neighbor Next Door Program” and eligible for the 50% off discount. Under this program all one has to do is enter a lottery to be the lucky person to buy these homes. And lottery is a appropriate term, because if you win you can essentially be gifted over $200,000 in public funds. As they describe it on the HUD website:

“Buying a home through HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door initiative is designed to encourage renewal of revitalization areas by providing an opportunity for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and teachers to purchase homes in these communities. HUD provides a substantial incentive in the form of a 50% discount off the list price of eligible properties.”

An example of a home recently listed in this lottery is 30 Jerome Ave., Thousand Oaks, CA. The home has been appraised at nearly $495,900, so the winner of this house will receive a nearly $250,000 windfall from the government. Now there are two caveats to this program. First, after purchase, you have to live in the home for three years as your primary residence. But the big one is you must be a local teacher, fire fighter, or police officer. One has to ask what business the federal government has awarding windfall financial lotteries to these “special people.” Of course it is no coincidence that these special public employees represent the most powerful public employee unions in the country.

The real question that needs to be asked about this program is, why is the federal government giving away public property at half its value to certain special people? Where in the constitution is the government allowed to gift public funds to certain favored people? Of course we all know the answer is that these powerful unions have yet again used their influence to milk the taxpayer even more. In Californian in particular, these public employees are some of the most highly compensated people in government and in the state.


Another area of superior rights is in the disability scam. We all know that Social Security Disability Insurance is riddled with fraud. What most do not realize is that the fraud in SSDI is mere child’s play when compared to what many public safety union members get away with. The scary part is that many times what any reasonable person would consider fraud is actually legal, because the unions essentially wrote the law. MORE