Union Head Downplays Rise of City Bankruptcies

Union Head Downplays Rise of City Bankruptcies

In a recent USA Today article written by Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, he addresses the financial woes facing a handful of municipalities.

Well, he sort of addresses it, in a fashion similar to the “occupiers” addressing Wall Street bankers as the culprits who destroyed the financial system.

No word from those who would have been better off paying a visit to Bed, Bath & Beyond than Zuccotti Park about the benefit-heavy entitlement system and its orchestrators – the politicians and union leaders who made reckless promises that are now bankrupting cities and states.

No mention of the socially progressive policy makers who declared that everyone, even those with no visible means of support, should be able to own a home with no money down, courtesy of their government.

We aren’t in “an epidemic of bankruptcies,” Saunders says, “despite the efforts of alarmists on Wall Street to gin up the public’s fears.”

Yeah, Lee, high on bankers’ to-do list is to “gin up the publics’ fears.”

Saunders continues, “The myth of massive bankruptcies has a cousin, the big lie that public employees – and their salaries and benefits – are the culprit. That, too, is simply untrue.”

“There are over 50,000 cities, counties and communities in the United States, and only five of them have filed for bankruptcy protection,” Saunders explains.  

That’s a nice bedtime story.

A 2011 study by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management estimates that the states have roughly $3.3 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities.  

Then you need to add another $574 billion to represent the unfunded pensions of all the counties and cities within the 50 states.

In Chicago, if all other spending were shut down today, the city would need to allocate about eight years of dedicated tax revenues to cover pension promises it has already made.

AFSCME has 20,000 members in Chicago and 1.4 million nationally.  

The United States has 1.4 million active military personnel.

General Saunders continues, saying, “Some of the cities problems might stem from incompetence, corruption, bad investments, poorly thought out economic development deals and declining real estate values.”

No kidding, Lee.

And who was responsible for those disastrous decisions?  

Doctors? Farmers? Soldiers? Engineers? Chemists? Rabbis?

No; they were public employees!

Saunders’ hallucinations continue. “We shouldn’t be surprised that some cities are near the breaking point, particularly when states and the federal government are providing no support.”

Presumably, Saunders forgot about the Keynesian trail of $790 billion in taxpayer dollars spent thus far, akin to Joseph Hazelwood not remembering exactly how much he had to drink.

Welcome aboard the Exxon Valdez, Lee, and happy sailing.


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