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Roger L. Simon

The Obvious Message of Jerry Brown’s Pension

August 13th, 2010 - 2:46 pm

We’re paying for them. We have a right to know who is getting them and how much they are getting. It’s so laughably obvious, it’s astounding there isn’t such an ironclad law already.

It will be interesting to see if Jerry does this. Although a cool guy on the surface, with all the best Zen moves of an aging-Boomer, in the crunch he has almost always shown himself to be a coward and to behave and act in the tradition of the hack liberal pol, pandering to interest groups and preserving the status quo ante.

Only in this case the status quo ante is a disaster. I am reminded of the lyrics of Woody Guthrie’s classic “Do Re Mi”:

California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot
If you ain’t got the do re mi.

Well, right now most of us don’t got the do re mi, not just those poor migrants Woody was writing about. The whole state is on the brink of collapse — from the redwood forests to the Whiskey a Go Go. Pension transparency is just the tip of the iceberg of what needs to be reformed. But pension transparency is a good place to start, because if we are to avoid permanent bankruptcy, a number of these pensions are going to have to be cut substantially. There’s no other way I can think of.

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