Commentary

Unions Are Hypocrites on 401(k)s


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California pension reformers are seeking to qualify a 2016 ballot measure to give state and local governments the option of placing new employees in 401(k)-style retirement plans.

Unions for government employees and teachers, who want to keep existing pensions, have deployed “truth squads” to fight this proposed reform. They vow to spend whatever it takes to defeat the measure.

But the union bosses, themselves, are not telling the truth.

The reality is that many of California’s most militant and powerful government unions provide their own employees with the same kind of 401(k) plans they are now attacking.

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Lawrence J. McQuillan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute, and author of the Independent book, California Dreaming: Lessons on How to Solve America's Public Pension Crisis.

Hayeon Carol Park is a former Policy Researcher at the Independent Institute. She graduated with a M.A. in International and Development Economics from Yale University. She also earned a B.A. from the University of Toronto, double majoring in Economics and International Relations.


  New from Lawrence J. McQuillan!
CALIFORNIA DREAMING: Lessons on How to Resolve America’s Public Pension Crisis
In California Dreaming, Lawrence J. McQuillan pulls back the curtains covering this unfunded liability crisis. He describes the true extent of the problem, explains the critical factors that are driving public pension debt sky-high, and exposes the perverse incentives of lawmakers and pension officials that reward them for not fixing the problem and letting it escalate.