Full-time lifeguards in Newport Beach, Calif., make over $100,000 a year, with the highest paid earners topping over $200,000. And if you think that’s bad, wait till you hear this: Those same lifeguards can retire at age 50 in good health and receive a well stocked lifetime government pension and full government benefits until death, costing the city nearly $108,000 per healthy, retired lifeguard every single year. If a lifeguard lives until he’s 80, he costs the state $3 million – a huge sum of money that could be better allocated to balancing the state budget.

California is running a $15 billion dollar deficit and the state government is planning to raise taxes on its already over-burdened residents. Before hiking taxes, perhaps other cost cutting methods should be considered, like the gold-plated salary and pension packages for beach lifeguards.

Brent Jacobsen, president of the Lifeguard Management Association, says the union had “negotiated very fair and reasonable salaries” – proving, once again, that public sector employee unions have manipulated the system to jack up compensation and benefits at an outrageous price to the taxpayers.

As Heritage’s James Sherk writes:

The public pays for these benefits with higher taxes and less spending on other priorities.

…Government collective bargaining raises the cost of public services, politicizes the civil service, and directs tax dollars to special interests. The arguments in favor of collective bargaining do not apply to government: The government earns no profits and has a monopoly on its services. Government unions bargain to get more money from taxpayers. This does not serve the public’s interests.”