April 11, 2016

BLUE MODEL BLUES: It’s Not Just Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico’s rolling bankruptcy crisis is just a taste of the fiscal storm that lies ahead if American state and local governments can’t find a way to bring their own gaping pension shortfalls under control. For decades, rapacious public sector unions and craven politicians on the mainland have also been also been propping unsustainable state employee retirement systems, and—crucially—using accounting tricks to dupe the public and conceal the magnitude of their unfunded obligations. Congress’s proposed relief package for Puerto Rico would require the island to be more forthright about its pension costs going forward, but it would allow state and local governments to continue downplaying the size of their debts….

The resistance to honest accounting is apparently coming not from Congressional Democrats, but from Republican state legislators eager to keep their pension Ponzi schemes in place—a reminder that corrupt blue model practices are thoroughly bipartisan. Hopefully Congressional Republicans will have the good sense to reverse course and require state and local governments to come clean as well.

Meanwhile, state Attorneys General who want to punish “climate deniers” may want to ponder the personal consequences of criminalizing political lies. Because who lies more about politics: Corporations? Or politicians?

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