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Too bad it’s the kind that can’t happen in Barack Obama’s America.
(Page 3 of 3)
As far a job creation is concerned, the great spending spree that Barack Obama embarked upon in 2009 is reminiscent of Lincoln’s remark about the loquacity of a fellow lawyer: Being a miracle of compression in using so many dollars to so little effect.
St. Louis Blues
St. Louis is facing fiscal crisis of its own. As it happens, this crisis is due a 30-year history on the part of the city’s elected officials (almost all Democrats) in topping up pension, disability, and other benefits for its firemen and policy.
As long ago as 1984, then-Mayor Vice Schoemehl warned that overly generous pension payments to fire and police pensions were putting the city on a path to bankruptcy, saying, “If the people of this city knew what the Board of Alderman was doing (after a 27-to-0 vote to support a big pension payout to firemen), they’d reduce the size of the board by lynching.”
The former mayor’s day of reckoning is fast approaching. The city’s annual contribution to fire pensions has quadrupled from $6.8 million in 2008 to $24.3 million this year. The payout to retired firefighters is now equal to 74 percent of the department’s payroll — and rising. A top aide to Mayor Francis Slay said only half-jokingly: “(Soon) we won’t have a fire department. We’ll just have a fire pension.”
Police pension cost in the city of St. Louis have also jumped and are now equal to 48 percent of payroll. Said Roth, the public safety director:
Every dollar that we spend on pension is one less dollar that we can spend on putting firefighters, police, or neighborhood stabilization officers on the scene.
The steep climb in pension costs throws everything out of order in the city’s budget and it is ultimately unsustainable and unaffordable and it will be something approaching bankruptcy if recent trends hold.
St. Louis is far from alone in facing this quandary. According to the banner story in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal (“Hard Times Spread for Cities”), the cost of pension plans for state and local governments across the country has soared from a little over 5 percent of payroll in 2001 to more 15 percent today.
Over the last four years, four California cities have sought bankruptcy protection — Vallejo, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes, and San Bernardino.
Barack Obama did not create the mess that cities and states are in today because of soaring pension costs. But he is also the last person on earth to act as savior, having taken the same reckless promise-now, pay-later approach to government that led over time to the problems that cities and towns are experiencing today.
Unlike many city and state officials, Obama is still in a state of denial — refusing to recognize that there even is a problem.
Unlike the British fire chief cited at the beginning of this article, our president has no desire to spend taxpayer money sparingly and wisely. If given the chance, he will happily spend the country into bankruptcy.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?