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The Beginning of Outrage

January 2, 2011

Nobody can help you find your way. It’s up to you Guido.

– Nine, the movie

For two months I have been writing of the pent up anger that will spill over into 2011 as job creation stalls, tax cuts for the wealthy further reveals the corruption of government, the banking oligarchy recovers showing billions in new profits, housing remains anemic with continued devaluation, and finally the looming municipal bond failures take hold — this is it, the days of rage have arrived.

State education cuts, millions of state workers laid off, state pensions underfunded…… real? or imagined?

Real.


In California, pension costs now crowd out spending for parks, public schools and state universities; in Illinois, spiraling pension costs threaten the state with insolvency.

And taxpayer resentment simmers.

Across the nation, a rising irritation with public employee unions is palpable, as a wounded economy has blown gaping holes in state, city and town budgets, and revealed that some public pension funds dangle perilously close to bankruptcy. In California, New York, Michigan and New Jersey, states where public unions wield much power and the culture historically tends to be pro-labor, even longtime liberal political leaders have demanded concessions — wage freezes, benefit cuts and tougher work rules.

It is an angry conversation. Union chiefs, who sometimes persuaded members to take pension sweeteners in lieu of raises, are loath to surrender ground. Taxpayers are split between those who want cuts and those who hope that rising tax receipts might bring easier choices.

And a growing cadre of political leaders and municipal finance experts argue that much of the edifice of municipal and state finance is jury-rigged and, without new revenue, perhaps unsustainable. Too many political leaders, they argue, acted too irresponsibly, failing to either raise taxes or cut spending.

A brutal reckoning awaits, they say.

Entire NY Times article, click here

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