Lucy D. Barker 6:13 p.m., May 23
When Governments Cut Spending, It's Citizens, not Bureaurats, Who Suffer
Columnist Joe Mysak of Bloomberg.com has a column today (June 16) based on the San Diego County Grand Jury's recent study on City financing -- focusing particularly on the possibility of bankruptcy to test whether promises to workers allegedly set in concrete can be broken by a federal court. The actual grand jury study said, "A Chapter 9 filing would result in a federal determination of which fringe benefits and collective bargaining agreements could be restructured." Mysak's column quotes Natalie Cohen of National Municipal Research: "It will be difficult to make the case that the city is insolvent," says Cohen. "It seems the grand jury report is looking to bust open the discussion about the irrevocable nature of pension obligations -- which will continue to eat up the city's budget."
Mysak comments, "Did you ever have a feeling that there's a vindictive element to some of the cuts governments do manage to make?" Does government "try to punish the public? It's almost as if those in charge say, 'Fine, we'll cut back, but you'll never have clean streets again.'"