I’m sure you know all about the problems in Wisconsin with budget deficits and the wailing by public employee unions and their ilk. The same budget problems are occurring at the state level across the country, virtually no state is exempt. What they don’t all share is a Governor like Scott Walker who is confronting the problem head-on an is winning. I can assure you the eyes of the nation on are on Wisconsin and if the Republicans will just hold their ground and break the stranglehold of the unions we should be seeing similar fights won in places like Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida for starters. All, coincidentally, have Republican Governors. NEW Republican Governors.
The problem these Governors are facing is one of runaway employee and retiree costs. It’s a problem that both parties have been ducking or running from for decades. Well, it looks like it’s time to pay the piper. For those same decades that both parties have been creating the problem we see today, the media has been complicit by not bothering to pay attention and hold people accountable. That could well be changing. From yesterday’s Washington Post…
…whatever happens in Wisconsin, states and local governments across the country are faced with chronic fiscal problems rooted partly in unsustainable employee compensation systems. One way or another, they will have to be addressed, and there is only so much that can be achieved through raising revenue, since many of the most troubled states – California, New York and New Jersey – are already high-tax jurisdictions. Much of the issue is rooted in health-care costs, especially benefits for public-sector retirees. States face a combined $555 billion in unfunded retiree health coverage liabilities.
Yet in 14 states, taxpayers pick up 100 percent of the premium tab for retirees, who often collect benefits for a decade or more before going on Medicare. This is not only unfair to taxpayers, for whom free health care is usually a remote dream. It also encourages overconsumption of medical goods and services, thus raising the cost for everyone. If you want to bend the curve on health-care costs, trimming unjustifiable benefits for public-sector workers and retirees is one place to start.
Yep, the Washington Post.
I was going to highlight parts of those two paragraphs, but when I got done, the whole thing was bold.
I’m not ready to declare victory by any means, but I am ready and willing to admit that I thought I’d never see those sentiments written in the WaPo. It’s not a stirring endorsement of Governor Walker (or Governor Christie), but it’s a huge first step. Folks, it’s beginning to look like we may be on the road to fiscal conservatism, and that’s the step that is required to see the size and scope of government at all levels reduced.