Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ghost Riders, Ghost Pensions, Fiscal Suicide

So. A snippet in the Sun Times. "Free-ride cards of deceased still in use". Can't find it online, here's the original investigation. Crain's:

The agency reviewed about 400,000 senior free-ride cards and found 3,000 users had died, Palmer said. Of those 3,000, the RTA audit found about 160 were still in use anywhere from a few times to 1,400 times. Palmer said the misuse takes advantage of the free rides for senior citizens at a time when the transit systems "is in dire straits."

How predictable. How sickening. Dead people are still getting free rides while children yet to be born will pay for them.

States are teetering on bankruptcy. Next up--municipal bankruptcies. The Tribune exposes severe pension underfunding in the suburbs.

In this case bankruptcy may be a good thing. Perhaps then we can get the politics out of pensions. Perhaps we can be responsible in whom we elect.

We can't afford union retirements at fifty. It's immoral to put this on our children.
Over the past four decades, many of the folks who run our state and local governments signed suicide pacts — spectacularly unaffordable retirement deals — with public employee unions. These pacts have committed so many of today's and tomorrow's dollars to so many pension and retiree health benefits that not enough money is left to fund everything else. Hence the suicide pact analogy: Our governments — our taxpayers, that is — cannot realistically cover all of these exorbitant retirement promises. And our public workers cannot realistically expect that their too-generous benefits will survive as written on paper.
Suicide pacts. A ghostly, ghastly future.

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