Nicely said, by Nick Gillespie in article #2 below:
‘There is a looming showdown in American society between public-sector employees and the rest of us, in terms of job security and, especially, unsustainable gold-plated retirement and health benefits that are working hard to bankrupt whole states.”
The massive underfunding of public pension systems results — like so many of our problems — from powerful groups exploiting weaknesses in our information systems that show future results expected from current actions. AKA accounting. Politicians give obligations to pay money and benefits to powerful civil service unions — in exchange for support. Since government accounting runs from primitive to bacterial, often insufficient (or no) funds are committed now to pay those benefits. But they are our obligations, and they’re beginning to come due now.
It’s a serious problem, part of the larger problem of adapting to an aging society — serious because we’ve prepared by covering our eyes and ears and singing “la la la.” The key fact we must realize: it’s too late to prepare. Except in the sense of “fasten your seat belts”. We must plan how to distribute the shock of the now-inevitable impact: too many retirees, too little saved.
After years of expert warnings, now the public becomes aware. Some posts about the looming crisis …
- “It’s a wonderful life working for the government“, Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, 30 December 2009
- “Public Sector Drives Deep Into The Night“, Nick Gillespie, Reason magazine, 30 December 2009
- “Employee Compensation in State and Local Governments“, Chris Edwards, Cato Institute, January 2010 — Still more evidence that government officials are often paid better than their private sector equivalents (with far greater job security).
- “Public workers under fire for cost of pensions“, Cincinnati Enquirer, 3 January 2010
- “More on The Coming War Over Public-Sector Pensions“, Nick Gillespie, Reason magazine, 4 January 2010
- “US public pensions face $2,000bn deficit“, Financial Times, 4 January 2010
- Society cannot walk away from the problem, but individuals can — see this post at the Volokh Conspiracy, 5 January 2010
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