Mrs Apostate and I had our second date at a restaurant in Newport, RI. In those days, circa 1988, the Ocean State seemed like a great place to live, work, and visit. But there was a worm at the core. My, how times change…
These days, the Ocean State is the seagull in the strip mine dug by state and local public unions and their political cronies:
[T]he state could never afford the beautiful utopia it was crafting, and so politicians and union leaders chose the path of systemic deceit. Taxpayers weren’t told what the bill for the system would be; public service workers weren’t told that the pension guarantees they’d been sold were worthless because taxpayers would not and could not foot the bill.
The future does not look bright…
[WaPo] In Rhode Island, as those investments have failed to live up to predictions, the yearly burden being borne by state and local governments is growing and is beginning to crowd out public services in ways that experts say could soon take hold in other parts of the country…
The increase in government contributions to the pension system between 2012 and 2013 would be enough to fund a dozen state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Management, the Department of Health and the public defender’s office, the treasurer’s office has said.
Naturally, union officials stamp their feet and sing “lalalalala” whenever someone proposes anything except more of the same. Michael Downey, President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, had this to say:
They are going to fix this for Rhode Island on the backs of people who have worked their entire lives.
Allow me to rephrase that, Sir: they are going to fix this problem on the backs of the people who caused the problem – union members and leaders. Thanks to your farsighted leadership, many of your members are going to be signing up to work part-time as Wal-Mart greeters instead of enjoying the secure retirement you told them you were negotiating.
This is how it’s probably going to play out:
[Pension reform] is likely to result in reduced benefits for 51,000 public workers and retirees. Officials are pondering lowering retirement payments, replacing part of the guaranteed pensions with 401(k)-type accounts, and sharply reducing generous cost-of-living increases enjoyed by retirees.
Can you say “Greece”, Mr Downey?
Citizens of California and Illinois, look sharp! Because the Rhode Island meltdown is coming your way.