Friday, February 22, 2008

Ah, Fiscal Responsibility

Beautiful, bankrupt Vallejo, CA

So Vallejo. CA is going bankrupt. Overspending means the Bay Area enclave is going to run out of money in April; the fiscal year ends in June. Vallejo will be the first California city to declare bankruptcy. Ever.

Less than 500 American cities have ever claimed bankruptcy since the Feds first allowed it during the Depression. In fairness, the OC went bankrupt in 1994, but no one is really surprised or feels bad about Laguna Hills having to wait more than a day to get their pot holes fixed.

Basically, everything that is wrong with America.

Vallejo is a microcosm of what the entire United States is going to face in the coming decades. Spending that out paces taxes. We all know the Democratic answer is to raise taxes. We all know the Republican answer is to ignore it. Neither of these approaches is adequate or fair. What it will take is a rethinking of current policies.

Attrition is a polite way to reduce spending. Yet when active workers are forced into massive amounts of overtime because there are not enough employees at government agencies, then attrition has gone too far. Likewise, when public employees can bargain for ridiculous pension plans (I mean 95% of the average of their three highest paid years and such) it is the public that is being jammed. The perpetual myth that increasing spending will improve schools is also hurting us. Our education system is not significantly better now than it was 30 years ago, while salaries (particularly for administrators) are significantly higher. By no means do I intend insult teachers, but I take issue with the way that teachers' unions have hijacked the system. Charters, in every district in the nation, are a step in the right direction. But we will never have the best possible system until there is free mobility for teachers and students.Lastly, have you ever been to a government agency? The DMV? The Post Office? The Registrar of Voters? Do any of these agencies strike you as particularly efficient? Are you satisfied that seven of the top ten recipients of earmarks in the House are Democrats, who "swept into Congress" on a message of cleaning up Washington? I'm not. I'm tired of rhetoric and "change" and "hope" and "experience" and Good 'ol boys. Someone needs to sit down, make a commitment and do something about the fact that we cannot support our spending practices and we cannot cripple our down trodden economy with 70s era taxes. Cuts will be made. We should start with streamlining government, then eliminating subsidies, then looking at entitlements.

Tighten that belt America. Or we are all going to end up like Vallejo.

Murtha - $176 million in earmarks, Kerry - do they teach about Genghis Kahn at Boston College?


Brandon said...

I should note that I am a descendant of the Vallejo family and thus feel a special connection with the town. Even though I have never been there.

No, the picture of Murtha and Kerry has no particular relevance, but hey, we know that Jack just likes to throw people under the bus, so take it as a sort of stand with our soldiers at Pendelton who are not guilty of massacre in Haditha.

Anonymous said...


Of course. You know, because Kerry can recall fighting him in Cambodia -- where he never was.