Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Democrats "Play With Dynamite" On Pensions

I thought THIS Washington Post editorial today incisively analyzed one aspect of yesterday's elections.  It reads in part:

"One portion of the progressive coalition — public-sector unions — used the good economic times of the 1990s and 2000s to lock in generous health and pension benefits at the state and local level through collective bargaining...  Other members of the progressive coalition value public services highly -- parks, libraries, public safety, education, support for the homeless and such...These voters have seen the commitments made to public-sector unions devouring state and local budgets, leaving little room for any initiatives in the public good.

"In California cities where unions have been successful in securing advantages, the fiscal crisis is acute... Payments by the city of San Jose, Calif., to its public retirement fund have gone from $73 million in 2001 to $245 million this year — crowding out spending on libraries and public safety.

"By siding with public employees in the state and local budget disputes, the national Democratic Party is playing with dynamite. Voters are sometimes willing to accept new taxes to purchase shared public benefits such as roads or schools. But even in liberal California cities, voters are reluctant to raise tax revenues to transfer directly to the retirement benefits of a middle-class interest group."

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