Friday, August 19, 2011

A Million Laughs: The Emergent Emergency

After the deal goes down, the chattering class gets an opportunity to weigh in.

Following passage of Plan A2, the Hartford Courant observed (“State Workers Play It Smart By Approving Deal -- Concessions: One of the best deals for government workers in America this year”) that there was something sweet in that pot for everyone, even taxpayers, who are out $1.6 billion:

“The agreement with labor eliminates the needless expense of longevity payments for new employees, increases the retirement age, requires a 3 percent contribution for 10 years to the retirement health care trust fund and other such provisions that will make pensions smaller and retirement health care less costly to taxpayers over time.

“Mr. Malloy estimates that the structural changes in the agreement will mean $21.5 billion in savings over 20 years — or $6,100 for each person in Connecticut. We applaud these projected long-term savings — but also see them as just a start.”
These savings, however, will be considerably diminished by increasing costs. The plan guarantees no layoffs and salary increases of 3 percent a year for three years. The most effective measures a chief executive may take to reduce costs are layoffs, staff reductions through attrition, reductions in contractual obligations and work outsourcing. Nothing in Plan A2 should give Connecticut taxpayers, whose own resources have been diminished by a sizable tax increase, reason to believe that Governor Malloy will resort to any of these measures in an attempt to control costs.

Indeed, the editorial asserts the opposite:

“But compared with public-sector employees elsewhere in the country — who have been forced to accept draconian concessions and had their collective bargaining rights severely curtailed — Connecticut's 45,000 unionized state employees have been treated with kid gloves.”
And here comes the first of a million laughs:

“They can't be laid off or asked to take unpaid furlough days for four years. (That raises the question of whether government's hands might be tied during an economic emergency.)”

Both the nation – but especially Connecticut – is teetering on the cusp of bankruptcy right now.


A second deeper and perhaps more intractable recession looms because the federal government has shown it cannot repair its debt or curb its looming entitlement costs, and the brewing European financial crisis may very well be the fuse that sets off a double dip recession here in the United States.

Stop spending money, cut regulations and throw the bums out.

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