First pensions, and now bankruptcy tsunami

July 12, 2012 - By admin

July 12, 2012

By Steven Greenhut

First Vallejo, then Stockton, then Mammoth Lakes and now San Bernardino. As Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach told Bloomberg News, the bankruptcy dominoes are starting to fall. One California city after another — following a decade-long spree of ramping up public-employee pay and pension benefits, as well as redevelopment debt — are becoming insolvent.

Not that the state’s legislators have anything constructive to offer. California’s Democratic leaders are not only unwilling to rein in the costs of benefits for their patrons, the public-sector unions, but they have been erecting roadblocks to those localities that want to fix the problem on their own. Yet all the political blockades in the world cannot fix the basic problem of insolvency.

Stockton negotiated the new process created by a state law requiring a 60-day period of negotiations before filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. That period is over and the city – a hard-pressed port on the edge of the California Delta – has become the largest city in the country to pursue municipal bankruptcy. The cause was a pension system eating up 30 percent of the budget, an absurdly generous retiree medical program that provided lifetime benefits after working for the city for a short period, and excess bond debt for pension obligations and redevelopment projects.

Soon after, Mammoth Lakes decided to pursue bankruptcy. That city’s problem came after it lost a judgment in a development case. Although not tied to public-employee compensation, the situation was caused by city officials who prefer to play developer than tend to the nuts-and-bolts of city government – a long-term problem in that eastern Sierra vacation town. In 1996, Mammoth Lakes lost a court case after it declared its downtown area blighted because of excess urbanization, in a ruling the judge said exemplified the misuse of redevelopment power.

The latest city to declare bankruptcy is San Bernardino, which has declared an emergency situation that will allow it to evade the negotiation period mandated by state law. The city simply doesn’t have the cash to keep operating. As Bloomberg reported, “San Bernardino and its agencies have more than $220 million of debt, including $48.6 million of taxable pension-obligation bonds, according to financial statements.” Pension-obligation bonds are used by cities to pay ongoing pension expenses, yet San Bernardino’s problems show that a city cannot borrow its way out of debt.

Other big cities, including Los Angeles, are talking more openly about the bankruptcy option. Not long ago critics who mentioned the B-word were considered Chicken Littles.

The latest talking point is that these cities couldn’t control what happened to them – that they were victims of the foreclosure crisis that rocked the inland areas where housing construction boomed during the housing bubble.

Foreclosures

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported: “The city of San Bernardino’s financial woes are a directly correlation to a torrent of foreclosures in the Inland area of Southern California, the national foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac said Thursday. ‘Property taxes plunged in San Bernardino because of an avalanche of foreclosure activity during the recent housing bust,’ said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.”

There’s no doubt San Bernardino and Stockton — Ground Zero for the housing crisis — suffered from the problem described above. But what did those cities do with the rapid increase in property tax revenues during the price run-up? We know – they squandered it on increased compensation for government employees, on redevelopment projects and other questionable spending deals. They squandered the money when it came flowing in, now depict themselves as victims of circumstance when the funds dried up.

The real culprit, as I argue here in City Journal, is foolish decision making. Stockton, for instance, refused to take advantage of an exemption in prevailing wage laws – something that could have saved it money but would have angered the powerful unions.

The housing bubble hit the hardest in cities inland from the growth-controlled major metropolitan areas. When the prices went up in Los Angeles and San Francisco, developers moved inland, where it was easier to get the permits necessary to respond to the demands of the marketplace.

Coastal cities

But even coastal cities are struggling. Los Angeles is not a victim of the foreclosure crisis. Pension costs in San Jose — where the housing market has rebounded thanks to a healthy tech-based economy — rose 350 percent in 10 years and now consume 20 percent of the general-fund budget. That city passed pension reform on the November ballot to stop the fiscal bleeding.

Here Joe Mathews debunks San Bernardino’s allegations that the state is to blame for its fiscal problems: “Local elected officials who complain about a lack of state money have things backwards. The state of California is relatively spare in its spending, compared to national averages. California’s local officials are, by contrast, big spenders, at or near the national lead in compensation for local workers, especially law enforcement.”

There’s no doubt the problem is fiscally profligate local governments, who busted the bank on public-safety pay and benefit packages and now are looking to cast blame anywhere they can.

Bankruptcy is not a great option but at least it gives cities a chance to get their house in order and start fresh. Unfortunately, Vallejo and Stockton refused to tackled existing pension debt in their bankruptcy plans. Orange County emerged from bankruptcy in the 1990s in better shape than ever, but as Chris Reed explained for CalWatchdog, subsequent boards of supervisors then began spending like crazy on public-sector compensation.

Bankruptcy cannot stop future officials from wasting the taxpayer dollar. But when there’s no money, there’s nothing left to do. In Scranton, Pa., a judge issued an injunction to stop the mayor’s plan to begin paying all city employees minimum wage. But there’s no money left to pay any more than that, he said. The city will gladly pay more as soon as it has the cash to pay it.

Only when the money runs out will cities find the necessary solutions. That’s perhaps the saddest commentary on the situation in California cities these days.

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Comments(69)
  1. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    I saw the San Bernardion FD chief on TV last night and that LOSER made the bogus claim AGAIN that FF’s die 5 years after they retire…..I aam SOOOO tired of hearing thy=at BS lie it burns me up-these LOW LIFE, GED LOSERS make me want to barf,

  2. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    ewwww you’re and angry sad person poodle—– I have never heard anyone say FF’s live only 5 years after retirement—

    A. You argue like a child.

    B. My word Moorlock is a tool. (ya think he’ll ever pay yhe county back the millions he lost on the cops lawsuit?…and….ya think he’ll give up his lavish pension and perks?????) LOL

  3. RT says:

    Fist the Cities, then the Counties then the State. We are now reaping what we have sowed.
    What will the takers do when there is no more money? They will find someone to blame just like now. The question is how long we will blame the “rich” for the problems caused by the takers and their allies?

  4. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    RT– The overleveraging and Wall St meltdown/subprime fiasco IS the primary reasons all of our economy is slack, and will be for a few more years. This had NOTHING to do with the poor or mid class and everything to do with the wealthy.

    The republispin only goes so far, which aint very far.

  5. Bill - San Jose, CA says:

    I am thrilled with this state of affairs. Not to have people suffer. Far from it. For the main reason of becoming responsible and living within our means from here forward.

    It is far past time to get this underway and help get California back to its former credible “state”. =)

  6. Steven Greenhut says:

    I have heard firefighters and police officers repeatedly say that they die 5 years after retirement. A union spokesman even made that point when we were on the Stossel show. This is very common. I’ve heard it many, many times. It is such a common lie that CalPERS of all places put together a presentation to debunk the myth. In reality, according to CalPERS, the longest-living public employees are police officers followed by firefighters. They live to be in their mid-80s.

  7. NTHEOC says:

    Opportunistic politicians are using the national economic crisis to blame teachers, police, nurses and firefighters for the nation’s economic problems rather than putting responsibility where it belongs – on politicians, Wall Street, and the impact of corporate excesses on stock market performance!!!!

  8. NTHEOC says:

    RT says:
    July 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm
    Fist the Cities, then the Counties then the State. We are now reaping what we have sowed.
    ==============
    RT,what about the cities and counties that have balanced budgets with no cut in services? there are many more of those cities than the cities going BK.Negative,negative,negative!Hey RT,are the rich reaping what they have sowed? Oh hell ya, they are just getting richer!!!!

  9. NTHEOC says:

    NTHEOC says:
    July 12, 2012 at 9:12 am
    (this was an earlier of mine, but it belongs on this board to)
    Read a little about the city of vallejo BK,lol!!!!
    Vallejo was in a similar bind when it filed for bankruptcy four years ago. Now Mayor Osby Davis wonders if the painful road to recovery was worth the cost.The Bay Area city of 112,000 was forced to shut down two of its fire stations and today fixes just 10% of its crumbling roads. Its workforce, including police and firefighters, is about half its pre-bankruptcy size and those people left are “insanely” overworked.Meanwhile, Vallejo spent $10 million on legal fees. It ended up with employee contracts that Osby thinks the city could have struck more cheaply if it had stayed out of bankruptcy court and turned to the bargaining table.
    His advice to other cities on the financial brink? Don’t do it.
    I’m sure there’s a few more “GHETTO” cities that the politicians have mis- managed financially,but overall the majority of cities in california will not go the BK route!!!Btw rex,police and fire are essential services that will never really be slashed like you want!

  10. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    RT– The overleveraging and Wall St meltdown/subprime fiasco IS the primary reasons all of our economy is slack, and will be for a few more years. This had NOTHING to do with the poor or mid class and everything to do with the wealthy
    ================
    RT– The overleveraging and comping of GED losers $250K per year of taxpayer money IS the primary reasons all of our economy is slack, and will be for a few more decades . This had NOTHING to do with the poor or mid class and everything to do with the trough feeding dirtbag losers feeding at the public trough

    FIXED :)

  11. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    ntheoc, Vallejo should have never filed BK because the public unions puppets on the council refused to do full court process on the contracts and pensions, why even file if you’re not going to go after the bogus contracts and pension>>>???

    Vallejo is Exhibit #1 on what not to do in BK, Central Falls RI is what you should DO- 55% police and FF pension cuts.

  12. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    BTW-Mayor Osby F+Davis was a FF union puppet, and the FD and PD made NO concessions to get the city solvent, BK was their only choice.

  13. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Moorlach doesn’t miss a meal!

  14. BobA in San Diego says:

    Rex The Wonder Dog!:

    Although you hit upon the reasons why our state and country is in the mess that it’s in, to absolve the poor and middle class of any culpability in the matter is short sighted and a refusal to acknowledge the full scope of the problem. And you also ignore the media’s culpability also.

    Start with the fact that politicians don’t elect themselves. We get the government we vote for. The poor and middle class far out number the rich and in California’s case, as it is in every state, those are the very same people who keeps voting for the same inept, vain, greedy, self righteous and imminently corruptible politicians. All for doing something for them at someone else’s expense.

    Don’t mistake my argument for absolving the rich either. They are even more culpable because their greed knows no bounds. Their only true love in life is the acquisition of wealth even if it gained at the expense of others.

    The bottom line is that there are no innocents in the problems we face as a state and country. Until we acknowledge that fact the only thing that will change is the dwindling amount of time we have left to right the ship before we all drown in a sea of debt. The sands of time are pouring against us as we speak.

  15. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    Start with the fact that politicians don’t elect themselves. We get the government we vote for

    The voting process is corrupted, with Big Business and public unions using Citizens United to game and manipulate the system……………so i disagree with your premise.

  16. Skippingdog says:

    You seem to disagree with any premise based in reality, Rex.

    BTW, what are you doing to occupy your time these days?

  17. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    I am suing some idiot that thinks he can hide behind a Facebook account, how about you???

  18. BobA in San Diego says:

    Rex the Wonder Dog!:
    “The voting process is corrupted, with Big Business and public unions using Citizens United to game and manipulate the system……………so i disagree with your premise.”

    Rex, at best your logic is flawed. The only way you can corrupt the voting process is by corrupting the people who go to the polls and vote. If you want to imply that big business, public unions and their bought & paid for media sycophants are corrupting the election process by misinformation, lies and distortion, I will agree with you. But the fact remains that politicians don’t elect themselves and we DO get the government we vote for. That is a fact you can not dismiss or pretend doesn’t exist.

    Reality is what it is. We still live in a mostly free society so you’re entitled to distort your perception of reality. You’re not to distort mines or anyone else’s.

  19. Donkey says:

    With the Baby Boomer RAGWUS feeders retiring this is only going to get worse,very quickly.

    And yes, Rex is correct, “Central Falls RI is what you should DO- 55% police and FF pension cuts.” In the end the results will be even greater than 55% if the RAGWUS feeders do not change their inbred ways, and stop acting like feral children. ;)

  20. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    It is a wonderful day!

  21. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    Hey Greeny !!

    Firemen and cops have a dangerous job—- But I have never hard a FF say that– ever….not to say someone hasn’t. But it’s all a waste of air— the stats about occupational death are easily found out here on the informationsuperhighway.

    You can see easily that there are more dangerous jobs and less…..But certainly they are dangerous. And certainly they are some of the more dangerous guvment jobs. So, what about that?

    They deserve pensions, they were promised, the folks worked, we can and have always reformed them over the years, they need reform now, seems like col barg k’s all over the place are changing the pensions etc etc etc etc….

    Are there any other contracts you people want to welch on?

    How the mighty republicans have fallen!

  22. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Teddy again clears the smoke from whiny posts. Contracts must be honored.

    Teddy is a sage good buddies!

  23. SkippingDog says:

    Some very funny posters here!

  24. Tough Love says:

    Quoting Ted …”They deserve pensions, they were promised, the folks worked, we can and have always reformed them over the years, they need reform now,”

    So what are you proposing …. so more tinkering around the edges, or MATERIAL reforms the reduce FUTURE service accrual for CURRENT workers by 50-75% ?

    Yup THAT’s the reduction necessary to bring Public Sector Pension accruals in line with the Private Sector.

    Or are you saying the they’re “special” and deserving of greater pensions and better benefits than those (the Taxpayers) who pay their way ?

  25. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Whatever Teddy says is crystal clear. His logic is like Plato!

  26. BobA in San Diego says:

    Ted Steele:

    Am I to interpret your statement as meaning “so what if we go broke?. A contract is a contract and we must honor it no matter what the consequences.” Ever heard the term “Faustian Bargain”?

    You may be willing to sacrifice you future wages and everyone else’s but I suspect that a lot of people in this forum are not. The presumption is that you are not already a government worker with a guaranteed job and a generous (fat) pension.

    For the record, please elaborate for the rest of the folks here: what happens when the state runs out of “other peoples money”?

  27. BobA in San Diego says:

    Ulysses Uhaul:

    Plato? I think not. His logic can best be described as “Obamaian” logic.

    For example: Rich people are the reason there are poor people in the world or, you make more that I do and that’s not fair. To make it fair the government should tax more of you income to equalize our paychecks.

  28. Hondo says:

    As a former paid and unpaid firefighter in California I can tell you that firefighting, nationwide, has become a very safe occupation, compared to what it was 30 years ago and more. Outside of 911, which was an act of war, not a fire, things are much safer. In many cities, especially modern ones in the west, the number of actual fires they go to has fallen. In one city I read that only 2% of the calls for service are actual fires.
    As for the city council in San Berdoo calling the police to report that the cities’ money is gone and that the city manager lied to them: the city manager is an employee of the city council. It is the job of the city council to supervise their employees. That is the only job of a boss, to supervise their employees. When the city council in San Berdoo says that the budget has been in the red for 13 of the last 16 years and that their employees lied to them, that means that the city council hasn’t been doing their job for the last 16 years.
    If an employee has been stealing from you for 16 years, it is not their fault, it is your fault for sleeping on the job for 16 years.
    Hondo……

  29. Hondo says:

    My family was one of the many to come to California in the 30’s to escape the drought and the burning up midwest. Well now, the midwest is in a huge drought, the crops are burning up in the heat and where will the people go now? I imagine there are many people in California that would love to load up the truck like in the Grapes of wrath and GO THE OTHER WAY. For even with the horrible drought in the midwest, their unemployment rate is far lower than Kalifornia’s. But they can’t leave because of their houses are underwater.
    My family was one of those Tom Joads that came to California. My brother works for the county of San Berdoo. Their finances are horrific too. I have no room or jobs for my brother when he loads up his family and HEADS THE OTHER WAY, away from Kalifornia. Ohh, I’ll find room, but jobs……
    Hondo……

  30. Dick Sanscrotum says:

    Please stop with the they were promised routine. I didn’t promise them anything and if politicians they bought offered something that is not affordable, too fing bad!

  31. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    Bob A.–

    Yes contracts and our word should be honored, sorry.

    The Faustian logic is employed though by you. Your only two choices are pay the promise or go broke? That’s laughable.

    There is alot of room to move here. Republicans want to do it on the backs of the workers. I don’t.

    What other types of contracts should be voided when not convenient Bob A.?

    Ted

  32. Donkey says:

    Rex, TL, BobA, myself and Hondo, all knew long ago where the RAWUS was heading, bankruptcy. Now that it has started to roll the RAGWUS fools are becoming even more animated and desparate with their pleas and lies.

    BobA hit it right on the nose with his “Faustian Bargain” note!! :)

  33. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    What’s a Rawus?????

  34. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    I still want to know— What other types of contracts should we void because of inconvenience?

  35. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    A contract must be kept on pensions. Cities do too much junk. Security is number one job. Infrastructure maintence number two.

  36. BobA in San Diego says:

    Ted:

    If you’ll re-read my post, at no point did I suggest breaking any contracts. Also, your fixation on the republicans exposes your true sentiments. I suspect that you think if republicans would only acquiesce to the democrat geniuses in Sacramento, they could fix our state’s finances and save us from the financial abyss we’re facing. Of course those geniuses only solution is to make the hole deeper. The problem with that is, the deeper the hole the harder the thud when we hit bottom.

    For all intent and purposes, California is a one-party state and has been so for quite a while. You know, I know it and anyone who’s paying attention knows it. You can fit the number of republican law makers in the state legislature inside a special-ed school bus and still have a few seats left over. They are essentially powerless to stop anything the democrats wants to do. I suppose that if you can’t sell the idea of the republicans being the problem, you’ll blame George Bush?

    BTW:

    In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a principled conservative and a registered independent. I stand on principles & values. I am not bound by the narrow confines of a particular political party.

  37. Public Policy Observer says:

    This article would have one believe that almost the entire reason for Stockton’s bankruptcy is related to employee pensions, whereas the pension costs are but a small portion of the citys’ woes. A collapsed real estate market with tumbling tax revenues coupled with bond debt taken on by the city to finance new things like a marina and conference center (some would call these things frills)are the real culprits. The city bought into the go go days of the housing bubble and escalating real estate revenues and decided to mortgage its future for these goodies. Laying the primary reason at the foot of employee pension costs is missing the mark. Mammoth Lakes, playing developer, got caught in the same collapsing real estate market and failure to do its homework with regard to FAA airport requirements. As for San Bernardino, what I am reading is that the majority of the City Council refused to make dramatic cuts as the housing values and property tax revenues in that city collapsed with the burst of the housing bubble, and they have now hit the wall. Pension costs are a factor there, but not what has driven San Bernardino to the federal bankruptcy court. Look for more cities that have exerienced the greatest housing bubble collapse to join this chorus.

  38. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Lawyers have one job….take away money from losers.

    In politics they collect money and give it away.

    Most politicans are lawyers.

    Therefore lawyers most likely are cleaning you out!

    Perfectly messed up logic!

  39. patrick schulte says:

    Lumber jacks, roofers, commercial fishermen, furniture movers and other occupations are more dangerous occupations than FF and police, they rank about 14 or 15 on the list.

  40. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    Bob A. — You make some good points about my Democrats. I agree.

  41. eatingdogfood says:

    BANKRUPTCY; Baby !!!

  42. BobA in San Diego says:

    Ted Steele:

    Trust me, I’m an equal opportunity political party basher. I have no love for the republicans either. They’re all politicians and politicians are first and foremost self serving careerists and opportunists looking to get rich on the public’s dime.

    The veneer of republican or democrat is starting to wear thin and anyone astute enough to see through that veneer will quickly come to the conclusion that there’s at most a dimes worth of difference between the two. They both feed at the public trough and invite their friends and political donors to join them while we the people get stuck with the expense of providing the slop.

    It’s high time we the people put those political hogs on a permanent diet and tell their friends to go slop themselves.

  43. BobA in San Diego says:

    Ulysses Uhaul:

    And don’t forget the lawyers creed: “heads I win; tails you lose.”

  44. JFD says:

    Yes contracts and our word should be honored, sorry

    Well if that’s how you feel, than the banks should be allowed to go after any future income of those who’s home went into forclosure – after all they signed a contract, right?

    Contracts are broken renegotiated all the time.

  45. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    Bob A– To a large extent I agree with you—– but the balance of commerce/corp/corruption/etc is in my view predominating on the repub side….that is not a defense of the dems at all. It’s an observation.

    This is the seat of all of our problems.

  46. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    BobA— on another note—- while there are a ton of bad lawyers—- (doctors, milkmen, engineers) Everyone bitches about lawyers right up until they need one, get a good one, and win, preserving their rights.

    That is just a fact.

    I have a great lawyer.

  47. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    This article would have one believe that almost the entire reason for Stockton’s bankruptcy is related to employee pensions, whereas the pension costs are but a small portion of the city’s’ woes

    Actually Stockton’s pension costs are over 20% of their budget-it is a HUGE problem, but the MAIN problem is comping GED and HS educated, unskilled/semi skilled employees like cop and firewhiner $200K per year-THAT is the problem. And although the GED’ers are at the top of the list, they also have secretary’s who are retiring at age 55 with $1 million + pensions and free healthcare for life.

    If you more education from me you have to start paying tuition :)

  48. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    BonA, please stop feeding troll Teddy, it only encourgaes him :)

  49. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    I only met two honest lawyers in my long career…and would not want to go against them.

    It appears the only way to modify everyone’s behavior is STARVE the government beast. Otherwise….the games continue.

    Never ever have I seen so much blatant deplorable corruption and theft associated with all levels of Calif. government….

    Who can you trust. Why are we the targets? I think you should consider being fearful of your economic future!

    No joking please….

  50. BobA in San Diego says:

    Ted Steele:

    I’m an engineer by education & profession and I’ve worked for several companies throughout my career. Two of the companies I’ve worked are well known Fortune 500 companies and without exception, the CEOs and corporate boards of those companies were predominately democrat party donors.

    Your “view” is based on the false premise that if you own a business and you in it to make a profit then you must be a republican. By that same logic I could just as well think that democrats are opposed to making a profit and anyone that does is greedy and corrupt.

    Let me ask you a few questions: when you go get up and go to work each day, do you only want to make just enough money to pay your bills? Do you think it’s unfair that someone has more or makes more than you do? Do you think competition and capitalism is bad?

    To a greater or lesser extent and without exception, all people are motivated by greed. How we sate our greed, whether through honest work, corruption or otherwise, is an enduring question for all humankind. No laws, no political parties,no government and no “isms” will ever change that aspect of human nature. Greed is built into the human DNA. It’s part of our survival instinct and one of the consequences of greed is corruption.

    Corruption crosses all human boundaries. Republicans are no more and no less corrupt that democrats. Until all of us start thinking that way, things will only get worse.

  51. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    BobA.–

    This is your premise- I will quote you–

    “Your “view” is based on the false premise that if you own a business and you in it to make a profit then you must be a republican.”

    Your premise fails–I do not think that.

  52. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    Mr U Haul—I don’t fear our future– sure we have hard times now and more to come. ANYone can see that. I think though that in time we will–

    1. Balance or budget

    2. Fix immigration and welfare

    3. Jobs will return—

    We are 5 years away.

    I am an positive thinker.

  53. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Teddy. No criticism here. As you read from the morbid kooks on this site polarization over “The Pie” is getting worse.

    I beg to disagree born and educated in machine politics Penna.

    It doesn’t get better. In fact, back there you best shut your mouth or your job, health/welfare are possibly at risk!

  54. BobA in San Diego says:

    Ted Steele:

    That’s good to hear. That gives me some confidence that you’re an objective thinker.

    As to you comments to Mr. U Haul: while I applaud your optimism as a positive thinker, realistically speaking, the chances of the things you mentioned happening are highly unlikely to happen anytime soon or into the foreseeable future.
    There is no political will to balance the budget, fix immigration or fix welfare. It’s just not in the interests of politicians to do those things because those things are hard and takes courage.

    The breed of politicians we have today don’t do hard or the courage thing. If they did we wouldn’t be facing the problems we’re facing today.

  55. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    Once again I agree with you BobA. Immigration and welfare reform are THE biggest cost and probably take the most amount of courage and co op to fix….we are indeed a ways off— That’s why I think in 5 years amounts…..given where our state budget and services are going, maybe with 5 years of pain we will find the required will. Sadly, that’s more the triumph of hope over experience though.

    Ted

    Slave Master to the Trolls

  56. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    Mr Pack n Ship— you are as always—correct.

  57. BobA in San Diego says:

    Ted:

    We’ve been subjected to pain for years now and have become numb to it. It’s going take more than that before we see a serious change. What’s called for now is a year or two of excruciating and agonizing pain. The kind that makes you beg for death to end the suffering. We’re not there yet.

    When California declares bankruptcy, unemployment goes upwards of 20%; crime goes through the roof; large employers and all those that can have fled the state; we will be there.

  58. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    The Doomsday will not come except for the educated middle class….college and specialized tech and trades.

    Wage compression, becoming obsolete, globalism nuances, IT productivity, taxes and regulations, age discrimination……will stunt the upward mobility to middle class….or staying as such!

    Read the history of command economies….there are elites and serfs….few in middle class.

    The cycle of economic pain will take a long long time…the historical misery….huge! Your future should is your responsibility, for politicans will sell you out to personally survive….cause it’s only fair!

  59. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    “cause it’s only fair” !!!

    Mr. Pack and Ship —I woke up laughing on that one!

    BobA. I hope you’re not too disappointed when all of your doom does not come to pass. You need to get out of the bunker into the sunshine a bit more. “beg for death and end suffering”? Oh my.

    Please tell me when that is going to start. Maybe you can make a famous prediction out here like the Poodle does? Ya know, the Poodle is 0 for 9 in his predictions. Well, like his master Glen Beck.

    A date please?

    Ted, Mentor to the paranoid.

  60. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Poodle in the bunker!

    Agree this site’s posting population is dancing on the graves of civil servants….and children and the poor!

    They are always in the gloom of the future…gargoyles man….gargoyles!

  61. Donkey says:

    In five years the entire RAGWUS will have devoured what is left of the private sector if extreme measures are not taken to reduce the costs of the individual RAGWUS feeders pay, benefits, perks, and pensions. :)

  62. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Part time legislature. Strict term limits. Privatize prisons, infrastructure development and maintenance, DMV. School vouchers.

    Cut nonprofit government grants to the bone!

  63. Donkey says:

    Cut the pay, perks, pensions, and benefits to all RAGWUS feeders. Reduce the power of the police state, cut the power of the PIC and follow the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. :)

  64. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Donkey who will do these things? Who?

    Your rants are moon barking!!!

  65. Ted Steele, The Decider says:

    zzzzzzzzzz Duncey and the Poodle are a waste of space…..

  66. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Got Bunker Fever!!!!

  67. Donkey says:

    UH, the courts will make the cuts when the math comes due, which is rolling ever faster. :)

  68. public servant says:

    I am an educator. I put myself through school, worked for nearly twenty years as a teacher, and now work as an administrator. I am watching and participating with great interest in the debate over my future and the future of our state. When pension reform hits, as it inevitably should, I hope the acrimonious attitudes of many of those who have already posted are ignored . What we need is real reform that doesn’t rely on hateful caricatures and conspiracy-mongers but takes into account the very-real commitments that have been made along the way, while addressing the problems that pensions contribute to the state fiscal crisis. The suggestion that there is an overt- or covert – plan to rape the system is not only irrational, but it is an insult to the many who provide the services that are routinely taken for granted.

  69. Tax Target says:

    Public Servant – the acrimony you hear is largely a result of the government, i.e., state, regional and local, taking advantage of those who put money into the coffers as if there is an inexhaustible supply of it. It is tragic that individual public servants will suffer in this process – I get it. However, if things don’t change and soon the only people left to tax will be the government workers….

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