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Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation Paperback – November 23, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: The Forum Press; 1st edition (November 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984275207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984275205
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Government employees are supposed to work for the public-not the other way around. Unfortunately, because of the overwhelming political influence of government unions, public employees have gained an unsustainable level of pay and benefits. Taxpayers will be saddled with higher taxes, depleted services and unconscionable levels of debt. As Greenhut's timely book explains, the public servants have indeed become the public's masters. ----Robert W. Loewen, President of the Lincoln Club of Orange County

Greenhut has performed a great service for ordinary citizens and taxpayers with PLUNDER: How Pubic Employee Unions are Rading Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation. But be forewarned: If you take high blood pressure medicine, better take a double dose before reading this book. It will surely amplify the current distrust and disgust with government today as reflected in the resurgent taxpayer revolt and the Tea Party movement. With clarity and a compelling writing style, he reveals how pubic employees have, indeed, become "America's Protected Class." The good news is that Greenhut gives valuable advice at the end of the book on what we can do to turn the tide on this seemingly unstoppable socialistic encroachment. Frederick Douglas, when asked how to affect change, famously responded "agitate, agitate, agitate." With PLUNDER, Greenhut does more than his share of agitating. Except for government labor bosses and bureaucrats, we will all be better for it. ----Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

The tax-eaters must pin Steve Greenhut's face to their dartboard. His latest blockbuster should end their career of abuse against the taxpayers. Cut government, and free the people. And stop the abuse! ----Llewellyn H. Rockwill Jr., President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Editor of LewRockwell.com

About the Author

Steven Greenhut is a California-based journalist and columnist who recently joined the Pacific Research Institute to head its journalism center in Sacramento. On The Orange County Register's Editorial Board for eleven years, his columns have been printed in newspapers throughout the country. He is author of Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain. He won the Institute for Justice's Thomas Paine Award and is a senior fellow for the Goldwater Institute in Arizona.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 152 people found the following review helpful By John Seiler on December 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
How's your government treating you lately? I thought so. Unjust wars. Torture. Inflation. Wild spending. Record deficits. Record debt. Bankruptcy. Police brutality. Officious officials. Depression.

It's time to get even. Or at least get an explanation.

That's just what you get in Steven Greenhut's shocking Plunder!: How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation. Although it covers government at all levels, it mainly focuses on state and local governments' assaults on citizens' pocketbooks and liberties.

Greenhut is familiar to LRC readers as the deputy editorial page editor and columnist for The Orange County Register from 1998 to 2009. He was my colleague there for eight of those years. He is the best journalist of local and state government in America, digging into the roots of corruption, largesse, and repression that have grown so alarmingly in recent years.

This fall he left The Register to head the new Investigative Journalism Center and News Bureau at the Pacific Research Institute in Sacramento.

You won't find a better writer, so this is an easy read of 240 pages - plus some resources in back to continue the fight. But you'll find yourself stopping every few pages to open a window, stick your head out, and scream, like Howard Beale in Network, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking this any more!"

Although the central ("federal") government's oppression is increasingly pervasive and poisonous, most of us still deal more often with local or state authorities. Most of us also have a favorable opinion of a great school teacher, a fireman who brought down a child's cat from a tree, or a cop who helped change a flat tire on a car.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By S. Kumana on February 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Steven Greenhut has identified one of the key problems with our political system - the power of public employee unions to control and manipulate the legislators who are beholden to them.
Usually the unions donate most of the money and provide the foot soldiers for election campaigns - and thereby "own" the legislators.

The legislators in turn give juicy contracts to the union members. This sort of thing was supposed to have gone out of style with corruption and ethics rules, but is alive and well.

Notice that autoworker unions donated over $ 40 million and countless hours of campaigning in three key midwestern states that provided a margin for victory for Barack Obama. Their payback?
Billions of dollars of Federal (ie your and my tax dollars) subsidies supposedly to the automakers - but in reality simply a way to preserve the wages and benefits of the those who had helped him get elected.

Chicago-style politics at its worst.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Russell H. Buckey Jr. on January 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This insightful book clearly explains why and how California got into the fiscal mess it is mired in. It describes inordinate power of Public Employee unions: their money, organization and aggressiveness and their control over the State Legislature. It is contemporary and specific. Have your blood pressure medication close at hand as you read, because it will incense you (unless you are a member of a public employee union). It may spur also you to action, as it did me.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By G. Knapp on January 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had a fairly decent understanding of the ticking fiscal time bomb created by pension obligations to public employees before reading this very informative book. What I didn't know was the shocking scope of the problem and the flagrant greed of the unions at the public's expense. I knew the public employee unions were powerful and had great influence. I was shocked at just how much influence they have and how they use it with total disregard for the public. This book not only deals with the problem at the local and state level but there are some very scary statistics about the scope of the problem for the Federal entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and prescription drugs as well. The statistics on the growth of government and the rise in unfunded liabilities for public employee pensions are beyond alarming.

If you wonder why this problem is all the sudden showing up and is so big (e.g. why hasn't this come out before on center stage?#... think Bernard Madoff. He ran his Ponzi scheme for many years without detection, but the financial crisis exposed him when more clients wanted to withdraw money than new investors could be found to contribute in order to cover the withdrawals. This is exactly what is happening with the Public Employee unions as the huge losses the pension funds have recently taken #and not properly recognized# combined with the dramatic raises in pension benefits over the last decade #often awarded retroactively# will have to be picked up by the tax payer. The tax payer is being asked to contribute more money they don't have to cover the lavish pensions. The pension funds such as CALPERS were able to take reckless risks, even borrowing money to invest knowing that if they lost the money #and they did) that the taxpayer would be on the hook.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By S. Murray on February 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
PLUNDER exposes many things that I found in over 30 years of public school teaching. Teachers, police, firefighters, and other public employees benefit from the myths that they are self-effacing public servants that they are underpaid. When reforms of compensation, termination practices, accountability measures, retirement benefits, or other extraordinary benefits are proposed, the myths are publicized and voters are fooled. When the myths wear thin, Potemkin reforms are proposed and adopted with much fanfare. Quietly and quickly, out of sight of the public, these reforms are gutted and business as usual continues. This was true of the new math in the 60s, behaviorial objectives in the 70s, and the current Race to the Top. One of the most outrageous things I observed in public schools is how little money and how little concern went to and for the children. People don't wake up because education is "free." The only true reform is full school choice.
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