Ed Driscoll

'Greece has Arrived'

The Sacramento Bee has an ominous warning for its city’s chief industry — “The clock is ticking on bloated pensions:”

The Little Hoover Commission’s report, “Public Pensions for Retirement Security,” pulls no punches. The situation is “dire,” commissioners rightly warn. If something is not done to reduce retirement liabilities, “pensions will crush government.”

Public employee retirement benefits in California are the most generous of any in the country. They’ve gone from just 40 percent of pay for the average 30-year-state employee when the retirement system was originally established in 1932 to close to 75 percent of pay today.

Many local government workers earn more the day they retire than when they worked. And given earlier retirement ages – 55 for most public employees and 50 for firefighters, police and prison guards – and longer life spans, many retired state workers will actually pick up more retirement checks in their lifetimes than paychecks. Such high costs are unsustainable, economically and politically.

The report predicts that in coming years, cities like San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and Los Angeles will spend one-third of their operating budgets to finance their pension systems. It’s not just citizens who risk loss of vital government services as retirement obligations overwhelm state and local budgets. Public employees, the report says, “will pay a price for inaction – salary freezes, layoffs increased payroll deductions and the threat of a city or county bankruptcy. A pension not tied to a job is worthless.”

Meanwhile, regarding Wisconsin, Rush Limbaugh notes that the clock has run out:

No matter what the Democrats say, no matter what the fraudulent polling data says, no matter how the media spins it, no matter how many fake polls they publish, Wisconsin is still in debt to the tune of $3.6 billion.  Wisconsin still cannot afford to pay public sector union people twice what the taxpayers of the state are earning.  The taxpayers of that state simply cannot afford to pay public sector unions what they are paying.  It cannot sustain itself.  That’s the reality.  Now, they can spin it, they can spin it all they want, but eventually reality is going to catch up with them.  It has caught up with them.  That’s what we’re dealing with.  We got Greece, and everybody said Greece is coming to America.  Greece has arrived.  It’s in Wisconistan.  It’s happening there.  They’re gonna get a huge reality slap.

And speaking of “Wisconistan,” we have our first official quagmire alert; Ann Althouse notes that the troops are getting punchy and “losing their grip on reality:”

You saw Meade’s video where 2 over-aggressive protesters interrogated a couple of nice ladies who drove into Madison just to stand quietly, in the sea of Walker-haters, and hold their pro-Walker signs. In the video, you can hear that the 2 protesters are not making that much sense, and when Meade tries to mediate — meadeate — for them, other protesters in the area close in on Meade.

There’s very tense confrontation, and it flips into paranoia and incoherence. At 4:35, you hear a woman say, “Are you a plant?” At 4:57: “I think we know you’re a Walker plant?” At 5:00: “You [are a Walker plant] on this gathering and we can tell.” At 5:17, a large man barges into Meade and grabs the Flip camera, and actually gets it out of Meade’s hand. No one in the crowd does anything to help Meade in this assault, and Meade grabs the man’s arm and wrests the camera out of his hand. This man says “Get your hands off me,” as if he‘s a victim.

Once you’ve concluded that you’re entitled to other people’s money, why not their video cameras as well?

Finally, regarding the cause of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008, Zombie’s new post is sort of Catch-22 meets 1984’s Memory Hole meets the Academy Awards: “Whoa whoa whoa — stop right there. Am I reading this correctly? The head of the Greenlining Institute is in the film warning against subprime loans???”