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As we noted, Jerry Brown has jacked up gasoline taxes and fees by $5.2 billion, and the governor slams those less than worshipful of this hike as “freeloaders.” Brown is a big booster of “subsidiarity,” which means that bureaucrats can use tax money designated for needy school children to boost the salaries of bureaucrats and government employees. Something like that is now going on with the governor and state politicians. They will be getting a pay raise of 3 percent, their fifth raise in five years and coming on top of a 4 percent raise from last year. Those bagging the raises include lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom, attorney general Xavier Becerra and treasurer John Chiang. This is instructive in several ways.
Last year’s 4 percent followed a 3 percent hike in 2015, a 2 percent hike in 2014 and a raise of 5 percent in 2013. This year the Citizens Compensation Commission said it was only fair that politicians be “made whole following the reductions.” So in government parlance a raise can be a “reduction.” More important, the raise is not linked to any performance measure on the part of the governor and other politicians. They have made few if any cuts in government waste, and failed to boost accountability and transparency in any meaningful way. But the politicians are getting raises anyway, and as the news report helpfully notes, legislators also get tax-free per diem payments every day the legislature is in session, and these average about $34,000 for the legislative years. So politicians are always taking home more than they claim.
Meanwhile, according to news reports, 5 percent raises are also in store for CalPERS bosses such as CEO Marcie Frost, whose salary is $300,000, general counsel Matthew Jacobs, $338,000, and investment officer Wylie Tollette, who bags $378,000, though her total compensation package is $537,000. The raise is not tied to performance but based on a survey of other organizations that gave out raises of 6 to 7 percent. So for ruling class politicians and bureaucrats, envy is part of the process, total compensation is always higher than they claim, and a raise is really a reduction. That’s how it works for the government greedloaders.