Our fiscal paradox: Governments too costly to function
by Michael Gerson
....To fund commitments made to the providers of services, services must be cut. So piles of money go to government pensions and benefits instead of roads, education or mental health services. This is one of the primary reasons the public resists tax increases. A tax increase used to provide an actual public service might have a shot at support. But a tax increase to prop up a system that consumes endless resources while cutting services is a harder sell.Government pensions, an obesity epidemic
by Richard Cohen (definitely not from the Tea Party) key points:
....Public employees must help rein in unaffordable pension and benefits costs
Like Reagan, Walker has tapped into a feeling of disgust - the always-dangerous sense that you and I have played by the rules and saved for our modest retirements, while government workers, on our dime, have run off with pensions they do not deserve. We feel we have been played for a fool.
To their credit, some union leaders have recognized that they have gone too far. They have - or will - agree to givebacks, and the teachers unions are acknowledging that they have to do something about incompetents. (Still, if there are cutbacks, it will be done by seniority - meaning some very good but young teachers will be let go.)
It was one thing when unions went after giant corporations run by guys who played golf at restricted clubs. But when it comes to government workers, we are the boss and we pay the bill. To quote what Sam Spade told the woman he loved in the "The Maltese Falcon," "I won't play the sap for you." When it comes to public-sector unions, my sentiments exactly.
(they are really getting strong on the position in this editorial) key paragraph:
If the government-employee union movement wants to retain public sympathy and support, it must show definitively that it understands why so many people who are not Tea Party Republicans nevertheless worry about the cost of state and local pay and benefits. After all, Democratic officials - from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo - have also targeted unsustainable personnel costs. No one should demonize public employees, who by and large are as hardworking as their private-sector counterparts. But efforts to rein in unaffordable public-sector compensation are not necessarily an attack on workers and their rights. Public-sector workers and their unions should help lead the national search for equitable, creative solutions to the fiscal crisis of the states and local governments.