Tell The Why Straight Damn It
The New York Times had an article on Sunday about the ongoing fiscal crises and service cuts that are wiping out public services throughout the state, in large part due to past debts and pension costs. But the Times doesn’t tell the why straight. First of all, pension costs are much lower as a share of payroll in the rest of the state than in New York City, and the pension plans for the rest of the state are better funded. No one wants to talk about how much worse off NYC is. Second, in mentioning reasons the Times mentions the stock market decline of 2008 but not the bubble that preceded it, nor the retroactive pension enhancements. The Times doesn’t want to mention the retroactive enhancements because the older generations it cares about made out like, well, bandits, younger generations are being sacrificed, and that is what the Times favors. And the News and the Post, and the legislators and the Mayor and the Governor and the unions. Governments are not going broke because of low stock prices, because stock prices are not low. They are high, relative to dividends paid, and temporarily inflated by Fed policy.
“These municipalities will not recover when the economy recovers,” said Richard Brodsky, a former assemblyman who is advising Yonkers. “Everybody was complicit in this tsunami, and now it’s landing, but not in Washington or Albany,” he said. “It’s in places like Yonkers, where the choice is between school kids and safe streets.” Wrong. Everyone who was around you working the system in Albany was complicit. You were complicit. Wall Street was complicit. The one percent were complicit. The retired and soon to retire public employees were complicit. The unions were complicit. They made out. Others are victims, irrevocably. You did the deal Brodsky, and you benefitted. Celebrate, you have no right to commiserate! There is one thing we cannot tolerate, just cannot. We cannot tolerate the idea that it was a mistake. It might have been a mistake when their predecessors did it, in the 1960s, leading New York City public services to collapse in the 1970s. But this time, they knew exactly what they were doing. And by the way, slashing benefits for new public employees will not stop public services from being gutted. In fact, they’ll probably just end up being retroactively enhanced again, with not enough money having been set aside, by the next set of Brodskys.
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