Published May 17, 2010
So a friend asked me to explain the whole mess in Greece and I tried to make it simple. You know those people who keep spending money, even though their credit cards are maxed? That's Greece. Now they have to cut back, but they don't want to.
Remember the phrase: "taking candy from a baby?" Well, imagine this baby is unionized and prone to arson.
But if you really wanna puke, Washington Post's Anne Applebaum points out what Greece must do in exchange for the bailout: To cut the deficit, Greece must reduce Easter and summer bonuses for its civil servants.
Easter bonuses? Summer bonuses? They get bonuses because the weather changes? I wonder if they also get "showing up on time" bonuses, too. Or special "pet bonuses" for their prized minotaurs.
Worse, because we're in the IMF, we're throwing billions at Greeks who've been living high on the hummus for years. According to Applebaum, in Athens, satellite photos show nearly 17,000 swimming pools. It's nice to know my paycheck is footing their chlorine bill.
But hey, Greece is just California, minus the togas. Right now, government employment in Cali makes up 15 percent of total employment and in 2007, state employees made 32 percent more than average private sector workers.
And like Tribbles, they multiply. Since the start of the recession in 2008 — as unemployment soared — the state added 13,000 employees! That's during a "hiring freeze."
And you know they aren't going anywhere. In the private sector, it's easy to get canned (trust me, I know), but a public sector worker is safer than Kagan at Hef's mansion. Which is why so many people want those jobs: A government gig is Christmas every day — plus bonuses.
And if you disagree with me, you're a homophobic racist who hates racist homophobes.