Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Steve Malanga on State Governments

Steve Malanga, senior editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, is my new favorite writer. The WSJ included an opinion piece by him in today's paper:


A study...by the Employee Benefit Research Institute estimated that the average public sector worker earns 46% more in total compensation than his counterpart in the private sector, largely because government employers spend 60% more per worker on benefits than counterparts in the private sector. States have collectively ranked up some $731 billion in unfunded liabilities for pensions and other retirement benefits, according to a study...by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Center on the States...

California state and local governments are paying some $12.8 billion a year to finance public employee pensions, up form $4.8 billion in 1999.

You know who's on the hook for all those benefits, don't you? We, the taxpayers, and our children. What is the reason government employees, on average, receive more benefits than private sector workers? It is becoming increasingly apparent that our elected representatives believe that we should work for them, instead of the other way around.

The next time you vote to give more money to government programs, just remember what we were told as kids: "Money doesn't grow on trees." Perhaps these days, it should read, "Money may not grow on trees, but what's wrong with getting money through bond sales?" Well, remember OCM--Other Countries' Money? Other countries are and have been the major buyers of our bonds, meaning they have become American Express, while we have become debt-holders, working each month to pay them off. I guess our own government is selling us out to other countries. Who can blame them? Other countries are the ones effectively paying for their benefits and for their inefficient programs (Bridge to Nowhere, etc.) through the purchase of municipal and Treasury bond sales. Although I am opposed to unnecessary regulation of private citizens, that doesn't mean an irresponsible government doesn't deserve to be regulated. Maybe we should require all public sector bond sales to have at least 51% American citizen ownership before being offered to other countries--once Americans realize we don't have the money to buy back our own debt, much less our future debt, we might become more frugal.

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