November 14, 2012

How Public Employee Unions & Politicians unite against citizens [Darleen Click]

Reuters’ headline reads How a vicious circle of self-interest sank a California city, but as you slog through the debacle of the city of San Bernardino’s ugly descent into bankruptcy you notice the complete absence of one important participant

The Taxpayer.

“It’s total political chaos,” said John Husing, a former San Bernardino resident and regional economist. “There is no solution. They’ll never fix anything.”

Yet on close examination, the city’s decades-long journey from prosperous, middle-class community to bankrupt, crime-ridden, foreclosure-blighted basket case is straightforward — and alarmingly similar to the path traveled by many municipalities around America’s largest state. San Bernardino succumbed to a vicious circle of self-interests among city workers, local politicians and state pension overseers.

Little by little, over many years, the salaries and retirement benefits of San Bernardino’s city workers — and especially its police and firemen — grew richer and richer, even as the city lost its major employers and gradually got poorer and poorer.

Unions poured money into city council elections, and the city council poured money into union pay and pensions. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), which manages pension plans for San Bernardino and many other cities, encouraged ever-sweeter benefits. Investment bankers sold clever bond deals to pay for them. Meanwhile, state law made it impossible to raise local property taxes and difficult to boost any other kind.

No single deal or decision involving benefits and wages over the years killed the city. But cumulatively, they built a pension-fueled financial time-bomb that finally exploded.

Note how the reporter’s line about how the difficulty in raising taxes is considered part of the problem. Not one quote from any person who actually pays the city’s bills is presented.

There really are two Americas … and it has nothing to do with “rich” and “poor.”

And no one should labor under the delusion that California is alone with these issues.

Posted by Darleen @ 8:08pm

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Comments (33)

  1. Have I mentioned, lately, our stupid light rail extension that not only will cost over a billion but will also cost more money to run than the buses it will replace? It also has already screwed up traffic on some busy streets, and that will not go away because the light rail will be running on those streets.

    Dumb knows no borders.

  2. No, there’s a solution, and Hell’s coming with it.

  3. It was interesting today to see one of my attorneys actually say out loud “I’m afraid this is all going to end in civil war”

    Spoken by a black woman.

  4. Darleen, just make sure she knows which side has her back.

  5. – Don’t think for a minute that the smarter folks in a certain demographic aren’t scared wirless that their greedy assed leaders have pushed a good thing waaaayyyy past the safety zone.

    – You didn’t really think the victim industry was ever going to go “sensible” did you?

  6. I live in San Bernardino, and I would be willing to bet that the problem goes back a couple of mayors to Tom Minor. He was a former police officer and long time coucilman before he became mayor.

    For the record, San Bernardino and the rest of the area took a major kick in the nuts during all of the base closures. Norton AFB in San Bernardino was a major MAC base before it closed, and George AFB a half hour up the road closed also. That is a major hit for a community like this.

  7. Is George still serving (growing, even?) as a boneyard for major carriers?

  8. That is a major hit for a community like this.

    the solution: pay local gov’t workers more!!11!!

  9. – The wicked witch of the House gets a hickey. Thats going to leave a mark.

    – I’ve been wondering how long it would be before the young turk Proressives would start noticing they’re being used like rented mules.

    – Wait til they realize who ‘else’ is among the 1%. The naval gazers on the Left are so breath takingly un-selfaware. Its like they’re all Val-gals, even the metrosexual pukes.

  10. As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for X. As for A and B, who get a law to make themselves do for X what they are willing to do for him, we have nothing to say except that they might better have done it without any law, but what I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is thought of. He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist, and I hope to show you before I get through that he deserves your notice both for his character and for the many burdens which are laid upon him.


  11. Myron Magnet: The Americanness of the American Revolution

    The Founders’ study of history taught them that the British constitution under which they had lived—“originally and essentially free,” as Boston preacher Jonathan Mayhew described it—was the ideal embodiment of such a contract. It was “the most perfect combination of human powers in society,” John Adams wrote in 1766, “for the preservation of liberty and the production of happiness”—until George III began to violate it. So Americans didn’t take up arms to create a new world order according to some abstract theory. They sought only to restore the political liberty they had actually experienced for 150 years, and they constructed their new government to preserve it.

  12. – I thought it was precious the way Jug ears mentioned the invisible non-existant WMD’s yjay everyone is worried about in Syria today in the presser. Obviously many countries, including us, are worried about them, even though they’ve never existed and are invisible to the Left.

    – Obama’s just being careful. You never know when invisable non-ezistant WMD’s might sneak up and bite you. They’re very difficult to detect, being invisible and all.

  13. WMDs are like one of those recurring traps on the original Star Trek. You just never know when they’ll pop up to prop a weak story line.

  14. – Things are reaching the boil-over point in the ME.

    – Ticklers over at Drudge….

    – Top Hamas commander killed in Israeli airstrike…
    – VIDEO…
    – Target tied to Iran…
    – ‘WAR’…
    – Israel launches Operation Pillar of Cloud…
    – Recommends That No Hamas Operatives ‘Show Their – Faces Above Ground’…
    – Hits 20 underground rocket sites in Gaza…
    – IDF ‘ready to initiate ground operation’…
    – Rockets explode in Israeli border town…
    – Friedman: Obama’s Nightmare…

  15. I so want to assure them there are still adults here. But, I worry we’re the only ones left.

  16. There are a lot of us, William. I’m FB friends with tons of them and actual friends with quite a few in real life.

    The IDF is the best.

  17. – I have a feeling that something is going to happen in the not too disrant future that gives these last few generations of adult children a crash coarse in ‘real’ reality, and its not going to be pretty.

  18. “Romney was not a drag on the Republican party. The Republican party was a drag on him. Aaron Blake pointed out in the Washington Post that Romney ran ahead of most of the Republican Senate candidates: He did better than Connie Mack in Florida, George Allen in Virginia, Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Denny Rehberg in Montana, Jeff Flake in Arizona, Pete Hoekstra in Michigan, Deb Fischer in Nebraska, Rick Berg in North Dakota, Josh Mandel in Ohio, and of course Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. In some cases Romney did a lot better. (He also did slightly better than Ted Cruz in Texas, a race Blake for some reason ignored.)”

    My response to Ramesh:

    This is the early stages of the stupid party that ignored its base for 12 years finally starting to break up as its base realizes that nothing truly binds them in common purpose anymore.

    The “Santorums” you so despise will soon leave you taking perhaps 20-25% of your voting strength away. Or maybe you’re lucky and it’s only 8 to 15%. Still fatal.

    The imaginary and horribly misnamed “undecideds” who are just low information and low interest voters that don’t like you (because you aren’t cool and celebrities don’t like you), STILL won’t vote for you, respect you, quote you accurately with anything like honest intent, or even listen to you.

    You will STILL be describes as rich quasi-criminal ultra right wing radicals who want to clap everyone in your corrupt corporate chains.

    Your access to political money will be much tighter.

    Worst of all, ultimately, you will have stood for absolutely nothing.

    Having no use keeping your own base down anymore, the left will stop talking to you altogether. Then the political money will get even tighter than it did as your active base thinned out, as you become completely irrelevant.

    You will live in the 2008/2012 ditch and politics will simply go on without you.

    Karl Rove spent 100 million dollars trying to get a raft of nine or ten supposedly reasonable moderate centrist republicans into blue leaning and toss up states, and he got only two of them in. Two. With a struggle. That’s your actual capability of reaching undecideds.

    You will give away the store and get nothing for it but silly comforting illusions of progress that will melt, nay sublimate, when the actual elections come.

    You are a party of faithless, lilly pad hopping, timid, empty, Bobby Jindals who’ll wear any mask and speak in lines to play some small part in the great play of undeserved power. God help us that feckless fools such as you were ever seriously taken to be our representatives and allies.

  19. palaeomerus —

    Also conveniently bracketed: Romney did better because he was running against Obama.

    See? Leave out one little variable and all the pretty words just suddenly look kinda silly!

  20. Slow motion replay:

    ” (He also did slightly better than Ted Cruz in Texas, a race Blake for some reason ignored.)”

    Yeah. Romney, the guy who lost, did slightly better than the guy who won. A “conservative” republican pundit just typed that and he wasn’t kidding or messing around. Sheesh. Boneheaded doesn’t begin to describe this.

    National Review is worth more as a snot rag than a magazine.

  21. – Rudy could have rolled over Obama like a frieght train, for reasons too numerous to even list. But only a Rudy that still had the fire and passion he once displayed, and that seems to be gone from him now.

    – Why did Romney lose. Because he wasn’t a Reagan, a candidate that every non-Progressive could get behind. So the vote was fragmented just enough for a dupshit the youngsters think is ‘not daddy’ to win.

  22. National Review is worth more as a snot rag than a magazine.

    My nose deserves better. My ass on the other hand…

  23. how do you raise property taxes on properties what are in an increasingly squalid union-raped shithole exactly

    seems like one of those things what works on paper better than in real life

  24. Just look at what unions are doing to Hostess/Merita. No more twinkies for happyfeet, maybe.

    And, more sadly for the union employees: no more union job to pay the bills.

    Which will probably make them really really a lot more angry at corporate America than at themselves and their union leadership, because that’s who they are told is at fault.

  25. twinkie twinkie union whore
    no one knows what you’re good for

  26. Twinkies are declasse. slewfoot eats designer shit.

  27. Hey, don’t diss the Twinkie. After the nuclear apocalypse, the cockroaches will need to eat something.

  28. Bimbo will probably end up owning the brand. They are already a big regional distributor.

  29. Not to be confused with Bimba.

  30. You have to pronounce it BEEM-bo or you might offend Sandra Flucke and lose your radio show advertisers.

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  32. I remember the Tony Bourdain show on Cleveland where a former Twinkie factory was now a bookstore.

    00:03:02 That’s stainless steel.
    00:03:03 That’s a1 stainless steel inside of that insulation, and it’s still got twinkie sauce in it.
    00:03:09 A happy consequence of the twinkie people’s rapid departure is the gallons of still-fresh filling trapped in the pipes.
    00:03:15 Whenever you’re ready.
    00:03:18 Here it comes.
    00:03:20 Bourdain: Oh, man.
    00:03:22 Wait a minute.
    00:03:23 My twinkie doesn’t look like that inside.
    00:03:26 When it’s aerated, it does.
    00:03:28 That sauce is aerated.
    00:03:30 What a brave man.

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