Monday, October 4, 2010

Tsunami aka Death Spiral

I get the appeal of eliminating individual risks.
The Pension - the idea that too many individuals have too little competence to navigate the uncertainties of retirement planning and 'investing' and therefore, the responsibility for their livelihood, once they've become too infirm to support themselves by their own productivity, must be transferred to the government or to their employer.
It sounds great - but it isn't working.  At least, it isn't working for most folks that were employed by Delta Airlines, for example, and for the other giants of industry that will fall.  It isn't working for all the city and county and state employees who's individual benefits may be modest (or not, as some of the cases in the article describe), but who's obligation against their employer in total will be their employer's undoing (and in that case, no one wins).
It certainly isn't working for the taxpayers, who must face the vicisitudes of life on their own, while their productivity is extracted by the state to pay for those who used to work.
I don't think anything will change it until the death spiral begins in earnest.  Will the Federal, State or City governments enter the death spiral first?

"California once again leads the nation with a $26 billion budget deficit plus an unfunded pension obligation of $500 billion. Its current financial structure is clearly unsustainable. It has an operational structure that in ungovernable with often duplicative agencies, some collecting less in tax revenue than the agencies spend on collection. "

"One Orange County city has already taken bold steps to correct its $10 million deficit. It may be a model for cities and states across the country. Internally, it has decided it will not replace any city worker that dies, retires, moves or quits. The city will simply out source the employment to an outside service company and eliminate healthcare requirements and unsustainable pensions. Building inspectors will be out sourced as will city plan checkers, librarians and meter maids. Only essential services like top executives and cops will remain on the city payroll. The city staff will eventually decrease from 220 to approximately 35 personnel. This is the essence of deconstruction."

No comments:

Post a Comment