Public Unions: 2013 Archives

WHAT DAMAGE CARELESS POLITICIANS ARE DOING TO OUR CITIES AND TOWNS

The incomparable Mark Steyn marvels at the efficiency of the Democratic machine working with public unions in destroying the wealthiest city in the world in less than 60 years. An amazing achievement.

Democratic Great Society programs have led to the destruction of the black family. Also pernicious was the Democrats' authorization of unions for public employees, which has led to the cannibalizing of public services and fiscal irresponsibility in states, cities and towns across the nation.

Can what happened in Detroit happen elsewhere? The seeds are sprouting everywhere. Current extravagant overspending by governments is coupled with promises of future benefits made by politicians at all levels of government without regard to or provision for the corresponding costs.

On top of the promises inherent in Medicaid and Medicare, each of which is not currently sustainable, Obama forces another everlasting unsustainable benefit on the protesting public in ObamaCare. Present unfunded liabilities of the U.S. are estimated at $220 trillion, which is about 13 times the current national GDP. How unsustainable can we get?

States and local governments aren't much better. California and Illinois are the poster children of states as Detroit is for cities and towns.

But even towns on Cape Cod are suffering from too much spending and overpromising by boards of selectmen. All Cape Cod towns get a "D" for their funding of public employee pensions and an "F" for how long they plan to take to fully fund their obligations.

And most Cape towns have done nothing about even greater unfunded liabilities -- those for lifetime healthcare for public employees and their families. Chatham's 100% unfunded liability for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPED), which includes healthcare, is right now $55 million, steadily growing each year; by 2016 it will be $61 million unless a funding program is begun or new contracts with sharply reduced benefits are negotiated. The selectmen have allowed this liability to grow unchecked for years and it is still growing unchecked.

Detroit is a warning only if it is heeded.

JULY 20, 2013
The Downfall of Detroit
It took only six decades of “progressive” policies to bring a great city to its knees.
By Mark Steyn
National Review Online

By the time Detroit declared bankruptcy, Americans were so inured to the throbbing dirge of Motown’s Greatest Hits — 40 percent of its streetlamps don’t work; 210 of its 317 public parks have been permanently closed; it takes an hour for police to respond to a 9-1-1 call; only a third of its ambulances are driveable; one-third of the city has been abandoned; the local realtor offers houses on sale for a buck and still finds no takers; etc., etc. — Americans were so inured that the formal confirmation of a great city’s downfall was greeted with little more than a fatalistic shrug.

But it shouldn’t be. To achieve this level of devastation, you usually have to be invaded by a foreign power. In the War of 1812, when Detroit was taken by a remarkably small number of British troops without a shot being fired, Michigan’s Governor Hull was said to have been panicked into surrender after drinking heavily. Two centuries later, after an almighty 50-year bender, the city surrendered to itself.

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