The Reality That "We Are Out of Money" Makes Some Headway, Some Backway

Here's the New York Times, in a house editorial, discussing the fiscal red hole oozing outwards from the Empire State capital city of Albany:

Most state employees pay only 3 percent of their salaries to their pensions, half the level of most state employees elsewhere. Their health insurance payments are about half those in the private sector.

In all, the salaries and benefits of state employees add up to $18.5 billion, or a fifth of New York’s operating budget. Unless those costs are reined in, New York will find itself unable to provide even essential services.

To point out these alarming facts is not to be anti- union, or anti-worker.

The Times then goes on to note a few things, such as:

The average salary for New York’s full-time state employees in 2009 (even before the last round of raises) was $63,382, well above the state’s average personal income that year of $46,957....

New employees can still retire with full benefits at 62, while most American workers must wait until 65. They can still drive up pension payments by earning overtime in their final years, up to a $15,000 cap. And most important, they have to contribute only 3 percent of their pay to their pension; the national norm for public employees is double that....

Current state employees pay 10 percent of their health insurance premiums for single policies, and 25 percent for family policies, which is roughly in line with national averages for the public sector. But it is considerably less than most private workers pay — 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

More here.

The Times, needless to say, goes out of its way to accuse Republicans writ large of "trying to break the unions" even as it lays out a pretty strong case that the unions have succeeded in breaking the state. And that the answer to all NY's problems may involve jacking tax rates on one of the highest-taxes jurisdictions in the country.

But what the Times grants on the one hand, it waves away with the other. Because just last week, the paper of record ran this house editorial excoriating politicians who suggest the country has a balance-sheet problem with the title, "The Hollow Cry of 'Broke'":

It’s all obfuscating nonsense, of course, a scare tactic employed for political ends. A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more “broke” than a family with a mortgage or a college loan. And states have to balance their budgets. Though it may disappoint many conservatives, there will be no federal or state bankruptcies.

The federal deficit is too large for comfort, and most states are struggling to balance their books. Some of that is because of excessive spending, and much is because the recession has driven down tax revenues. But a substantial part was caused by deliberate decisions by state and federal lawmakers to drain government of resources by handing out huge tax cuts, mostly to the rich. As governments begin to stagger from the self-induced hemorrhaging, Republican politicians like Mr. Boehner and Mr. Walker cry poverty and use it as an excuse to break unions and kill programs they never liked in flush years.

You know what? It isn't obfuscating nonsense to say that "we're broke," as a number of politicians (notably the Speaker of the House and the governor of Wisconsin) have said of late. States can't go bankrupt because there are laws against such things and because they have to balance their budgets one way or another, typically through selling debt and pulling various sorts of accounting tricks. The U.S. government is sitting on trillions (with a T!) of accumulated debt that isn't going anywhere soon. Except sky high, since we continue to run annual deficits and benefit (relatively) from low-interest rates on the debt.

And given the fact that since 1950, the feds have collected an average of 18 percent of GDP while spending around 20 percent of GDP, don't expect anything to get better until they adopt something like this solution. For an understanding of how state government binge and splurge, go here.

But if the feds are like a family with a mortgage, we're about to get socked with a balloon payment (let's call them entitlements) that's gonna kick the jams out unless we change our wicked, wicked ways. Semantic debate was boring when the Times confined it to William Safire columns. But when you start playing semantics about whether or not the states and feds are on collision courses with basic math. And we, the gentle, good-smelling taxpayers, are tied to the fiscal railroad tracks. Or something.

Reason.com on We Are Out of Money.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    That's some strong psychosis going on over there at the Times. But with Krugman and Friedman in the building, what would you expect?

  • Hobie Hanson||

    Where Mr. Boner and Mr. Walker are wrong is that the states have a huge cash reserve available to balance the budget and then some, in the form of coporate and personal wealth of state and nation residents.

    These governments are like a family with a mortgage to pay, and that's renting out their upstairs bedroom to a fatcat for far less than it's worth. That mortgage wouldn't be so hard to meet if they just made him pay his fair share.

  • Spencer||

    Yep,

    because the rich are only wealthy at the permission of the government. This works in much the same way as we are all not in prison at the permission of the government; that we are all allowed to eat donuts at the permission of the government; that we can smoke 'em if we've got 'em by the permission of the government.

    What a horrible thought and false analogy.

  • ||

    The problem is that fat cat tenant has a few places overseas which he can move to at a moment's notice. Unless you somehow have some sort of arrangement with those other houses, the fat cat can leave when they please, and you can't say much about it.

  • Hobie Hanson||

    The fatcat has all his stuff stored in our house, is profiting mightily by doing business in our house. We can increase the rent by a lot before he even considers moving.

    We have a lot more tightening left to do on the tax thumbscrew before the wealthy finger breaks.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Hobie Hanson,

    The fatcat has all his stuff stored in our house[.]


    It's not "our" house, idiot.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Hobie Hanson,

    Where Mr. Boner and Mr. Walker are wrong is that the states have a huge cash reserve available to balance the budget and then some, in the form of coporate and personal wealth of state and nation residents.


    Ok, let's say they confiscate it all... AND THEN WHAT???

  • Bart||

    I don't know. Someone will do something. You'll think of something ...

    (trying to invoke dialogue from Atlas Shrugged there, if that wasn't clear)

  • ||

    I got the Atlas Shrugged reference. Probably because what I call "Rearden's Epiphany" is one of the most gut wrenching scenes in the book.

  • ||

    Rearden's Epiphany

    Great band name?

  • ||

    Better than Atavistic Mustache ?

  • ||

    ok, hold on. How about one for the band name, the other for their debut album. Flip a coin for which is which.

  • ||

    What kind of music? Rearden Metal?

  • ||

    Then there will be no personal wealth. Which is the intention of the socialists who set up the system.

  • Hobie Hanson||

    We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but it's a long way off. First we need to bring our wealthiest citizens' contribution to public revenue in line with the rest of the developed world.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Hobie Hanson,

    We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but it's a long way off.


    You mean, you don't know.

    First we need to bring our wealthiest citizens' contribution to public revenue in line with the rest of the developed world.


    You mean the developed world that also have budgetary problems? THAT developed world?

    Like Judge Judy likes to say: "You're an idiot!!!!!"

  • Spencer||

    Why? What rationale do you have? What is your reasoning; your argument? Please tell me so I can show you where your logic falls apart.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Hobie Hanson--a thief that needs the government to rob from people because he's too lazy, unintelligent, and cowardly to do it himself.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Red Rocks Rockin,
    He's also a nitwit who believes taxation does not change people's behavior. The simpleton believes in the simplistic notion of simply taking the rich people's wealth to spend, expecting rich people to keep creating more wealth just to have it stolen.

    Simpleminded simpleton - the mark of the true Marxist.

  • Mike M.||

    Now explain Europe, schmuck.

  • Scuffy Nerf Herder||

    I'd be all for forcing the refund of TARP funds to the federal gov't.

  • no||

    Even taxing the rich at 100% would never cover the deficits.

    And if you like the way they do things in "the rest of the developed world" (a.k.a. socialist europe mainly) why don't you just go live there?

  • Hobie Hanson||

    The aggregate wealth of rich Americans measures in the trillions. They can spot us an extra billion or two a year.

  • Trespassers W||

    Orders of magnitude, how do they work?

  • ||

    The aggregate wealth of rich Americans measures in the trillions

    This is a flat out lie.

  • Zimbabwe Bob||

    Not from where I'm sitting.

  • ||

    Spot US? WE'RE not asking for it, you damned thief.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Hobie Hanson,

    The aggregate wealth of rich Americans measures in the trillions.


    Aaaaannnnddd since all of it is liquid, well-hell-hell!!

    Unfortunately, IDIOT, it is not.

  • Webster||

    How fucking dare you insinuate that Champ isn't real?

  • Eric||

    Except that said "fatcats" not only contributes the majority of the upkeep and employs Manuel and Cynthia (both members of the household), he is also free to move somewhere else if the going gets rough. Try again.

  • Sam Grove||

    You need to learn some real economics, not that fiat stuff you base this suggestion on.

    If the government took all the money from the rich people, the rest of us still have to work to fulfill the obligations.

    Money is not wealth.

  • Johnny [Longtorso]||

    Alt text fail. Sandra [Lee] doesn't prepare anything cheaply. She hauls out an old chandelier she clams to have had in the closet to hang it in a tree in a park for her "picnic" episode.

    SF would like her, tho. Her "cocktail" recipes are booze, booze, sugar, booze, and a choking hazard (like frozen grapes).

    Google "sandra lee" and "kwanza cake", "bunny cake", "cocktail tree" sometime.

  • Johnny [Longtorso]||

    Ms. Spice Packet buys everything premade for her show instead of buying cheaper ingredients that would require some work. She redecorates the set every week for the tablerape w/ expensive crap from the Crap Store.

    She is a perfect model for govt, but not for saving money.

  • DNS||

    Ms. Spice Packet buys everything premade for her show instead of buying cheaper ingredients that would require some work.

    You mean Sandra Sizzled Chest doesn't do her own grunt work? You have to hand it to lefty types and their lack of self-awareness.

  • ||

    I love choking hazards.

    Sandra Lee is the cold hard truth of Anthony Bourdain's summation of Rachel Ray's show: "A can-opening tutorial."

  • DNS||

    Sandra Lee is the cold hard truth of Anthony Bourdain's summation of Rachel Ray's show: "A can-opening tutorial."

    You gotta love Anthony Bourdain. A man that would have no qualms telling Gordon Ramsay or Tom Colicchio their food sucks.

  • Old Mexican||

    Yeah, he's the man, but I find it surprising that you would invoke the name of Tom Colicchio... Isn't he the main judge of a certain cooking show where the lesbians always end up being booted out?

  • ||

    If lesbians were good cooks they good get a man.

  • robc||

    A show Bourdain regularly guest judges on too.

  • DNS||

    but I find it surprising that you would invoke the name of Tom Colicchio

    I can assure you, from personal experience, his food stinks.

  • Old Mexican||

    To be fair, I only mentioned it to plug in a lesbian reference.

  • db||

    You're doing God's work, in some of the toughest neighborhoods out there.

  • db||

    the above @OM

  • Mike Laursen||

    That was pre-second marriage, pre-daughter Bourdain. He's even went soft on Racheal Ray after she sent him a fruit basket. (He'd be a major asshole if he hadn't gone soft on her; she was really, genuinely nice to him.)

  • Old Mexican||

    That may be so, but I do agree with his assessment of RR's "cooking" show.

  • SFC B||

    I think there is always room for a show about the basics of cooking. I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I do if my now-ex-wife hadn't gotten me started in watching RR's show.

    I quickly progressed beyond her audience, but she was my gateway drug.

  • Spencer||

    It's like beating your head against a brick wall. This is just to let us know that they understand, but still disagree with, the truth.

  • ||

    Fuckin' truth, how does it work ?

  • Johnny [Longtorso]||

    clams = [claims]

    Do look for the "Sunset Clambake" episode, w/ the infamous "Little Red Riding Ho" [outfit].

  • Johnny [Longtorso]||

    If you do, then you'll see why she's called "old puddin' cups".

  • Old Mexican||

    A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more "broke" than a family with a mortgage or a college loan.


    Especially when those families default on their obligations - they are suddenly "not broke"!

    And states have to balance their budgets.


    Unicorns and beautiful ponies all around! And those colors! Man, those colors, I can almost smell them!

    Though it may disappoint many conservatives, there will be no federal or state bankruptcies.


    Oh, I will certainly not be disappointed - Mozambique has not become bankrupt, for instance... only the people.

  • robc||

    A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more "broke" than a family with a mortgage

    If the principle on the debt were getting smaller every month, that might be a fair analogy.

  • Vermont Gun Owneer||

    A family taking out a new mortgage every month is not broke!

  • Colin||

    The only reason for this "editorial" was to protect their governor. Never would've happened if a Republican were in Albany.

  • ||

    ^^^ THIS ^^^

  • Old Mexican||

    States can't go bankrupt because there are laws against such things[...]


    Laws can fix everything. All we need is a law against such things as falling and everybody can become an airplane.

  • DNS||

    and everybody can become an airplane.

    Can we test this hypothesis with Tony and the nearest cliff?

  • ||

    If we do, it would be something that involves Tony that isn't Boring.

  • ||

    You know, a tandem craft made of Tony and rectal would probably get more hang time.

  • ||

    Taping a retarded twink and a hugely fat bipolar girl together sounds like the next big hit for Bravo.

    Fat Girls Who Like Dumbass Gay Boys Who Both Like Being Trolls

  • ||

    [setting TiVo]

  • Vermont Gun Owneer||

    To kill, I hope.

  • The Other Kevin||

    I think it's odd that the new talking point is "we're really not broke, it's not as bad as they say". I'm seeing a lot of that lately. I thought they would have tried this angle a lot sooner.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    They weren't expecting the stimulus to fail to do what the administration promised. Obama talked a lot of shit about his Sooper Dooper Plan keeping the U3 below 8%, and we're still above that after two years. Hence, the Chip Diller act from the Journolist types.

  • ||

    Good point, what's with putting the anger and blame before the denial? It's almost like Mary Kubler-Ross was a clueless hack.

  • Old Mexican||

    "But a substantial part [of the deficit] was caused by deliberate decisions by state and federal lawmakers to drain government of resources by handing out huge tax cuts, mostly to the rich."


    Sure, of course. The reason my family's budget is in the red is because of my lower income, not because of my wife's spending - she's just an innocent bystander!

    The upsidedown world of statist fucks - up is down, shit is edible and deficits are created by lower taxes.

  • mr simple||

    I love how they always find a way to use the phrase "the rich", like they're some despised race that's always out to get us commonfolk. If only they would give us more money, everything would be fine.

  • ||

    It's ridiculous, anyway. The deficits were not caused by tax cuts. They're caused by spending entirely too much. At the state level, when revenues shot up during the last boom (and the housing bubble), states went on a spendathon. And now they're complaining because the collection agency is calling three times a day.

  • mr simple||

    But since it's all the state's money, they should be able to spend whatever they want. If they spend more than they have, then "the rich" will just have to pony up an even fairer share.

    Number are just made up concepts, anyway, used to keep poor people down.

  • ||

    Number are just made up concepts, anyway, used to keep poor people down.

    Somebody in Wisconsin PLEASE put this on a placard and head down to the capitol.

  • ||

    Pi as an irrational number is clearly not rational. It was created by insane rich people to keep the common man down. From now on, pi is officially 3.0 for use in morally superior proletarian math.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    The poor can't afford to keep buying digits!

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    An English teacher I had in high school claimed that math was just made up by man, and therefore didn't have any meaning. (At the same time she claimed that English was full of meaning, and once literally that it "wasn't made up by man".)

  • Sudden||

    She also retired with a 100% pension at 55 after her final year's salary was around $100,000 for nine months of work. She also doesn't pay SS taxes here in California.

    I bet she cares about that math....

  • ||

    I bet it was fun calculating your grade in her class.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    I specifically avoided taking AP English so I wouldn't have her as one of my teachers, but then got stuck with her as my Sr. English teacher anyway. It was fun calling her out on giving us a longer final paper than her AP English class.

    There was another day where I kept talking to my friends and she threatened to move me over to the other side of the room, near a group of girls I hadn't interacted with more than 15 minutes all throughout high school. I responded "Okay, I'll talk to them instead." About 10 minutes after she moved me she decided to move me up front next to her and I said "Okay, I'll talk to you instead." About 10 minutes after that she realized we were having a conversation and she hadn't been teaching at all for about 5 minutes.

  • Brett L||

    Best financial advice I ever got: "If you can't live on what you make, a raise probably isn't going to help."

  • ||

    well, in the short-term....and once that term is up, you just need to get another raise. Rinse&Repeat; till you earn $Infinty/yr.

  • ||

    Here we go again with the H&R article of faith that tax cuts never contribute to deficits.

    In OM's example, both the overspending and the reduced income are partly to blame for the rise in debt. Obvious to anyone who isn't invested in one or the other for ideological reasons.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I think we more fines from red-light cameras would go a long way toward solving the budget problem.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    Here we go again with the H&R article of faith that tax cuts never contribute to deficits.


    Spending is the only thing you control. Income is not - let's say there are no tax cuts; who can guarantee your income from picking pockets will be as high as you think?

    Spending ALWAYS contributes to deficits, ALWAYS - that's the ONLY thing that's 100% under YOUR control.

  • ||

    False on both counts. Spending is not entirely under control (think Medicaid), and revenue is not entirely out of control.

  • adam||

    How is medicaid spending not under the government's control? It's certainly under the federal government's control- it can change the rules at any time it likes. The state's part is also under their control- they have some flexibility without losing federal matching, and they always have the option to opt out entirely.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    False on both counts. Spending is not entirely under control (think Medicaid)[...]


    You can always STOP paying Medicaid, Tulpa. It may be a BITCH, but it is CERTAINLY under the control of government, so please don't make shit up.

    and revenue is not entirely out of control.


    Yeah, sure.

    http://www.storyit.com/Classic.....oseegg.htm

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    2001 Spending: $1.9 Trillion
    2011 Spending: $3.8 Trillion
    Spending % Change: +100%

    2001 Revenues: $2.0 Trillion
    2011 Revenues: $2.2 Trillion
    Revenue % Change: +10%

    Unadjusted for Inflation (24% over this period).

    Yeah, the revenue is certainly what we should be concerned with.

    Numbers all from Wikipedia/CBO.gov

  • ||

    Don't get me wrong, I think overspending is the main problem. But pretending that tax cuts don't increase the deficit is (a) wrong and (b) confirms the stereotype of libertarians being obsessed with lowering their tax burden above all other concerns.

  • sr7 ||

    100 percent of the Federal budget consist of what? Compassion? No. Wholesome American values? No. Tax cuts? No. I'm bedeviled, what could the answer be?

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Ok, yes, some tax cuts can contribute to deficits. If that's the point you are trying to make, I think just about everyone here (excluding just a couple like OM) will concede that. We are probably on the side of the curve that slightly higher tax rates will still mean more revenues, but I wouldn't agree that tax increases are an appropriate way to fix the problem, as there are other concerns besides government revenue.

  • Eric||

    That's true, and I'd imagine that the maximization point for the Laffer curve is probably closer to 50-60% than to 35%. All the same, when government is a) spending on objects that are either immoral or extraneous (to a libertarian anyways), and b) taxing a certain class of citizens far above what appears to be fair (admittedly a subjective judgement), there is cause to focus on spending cuts rather than tax cuts as the problem. (Also, see OM's point about revenue being an exogenous variable in a way that spending is not).

    Moreover, who wants to be at the short-run point of income maximization? The long-run Laffer Curve favors lower tax rates than the short-run one does, and there is a point at which the gains are not worth the amount of gummint coercion (i.e., having to raise taxes on the rich by $100 bil to get 1 mil in tax income).

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The federal deficit is too large for comfort, and most states are struggling to balance their books. Some of that is because of excessive spending, and much is because the recession has driven down tax revenues. But a substantial part was caused by deliberate decisions by state and federal lawmakers to drain government of resources by handing out huge tax cuts, mostly to the rich.

    Simply awesome. They trip over the truth entirely by accident, pick themselves up, and carry on as if nothing had happened. No wonder Paulie Krugnuts remains employed there.

    You'd think they'd come to the realization that the huge spending increases the occurred during the housing/credit bubble were financed almost entirely by more people being employed at inflated salaries, and that the tax cuts were merely a tangential part of it.

    "GOING BACK TO 2000 SPENDING LEVELS WILL RESULT IN THE END OF CIVILIZATION!!!"

    I loved how they said that the deficit was "too large for comfort." Given that the deficit was $1.7 trillion last year, you have to wonder when they'd actually consider it to be painful (hint: when someone with an "R" after their name becomes chief executive).

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    I don't know if the Times was on board with it, but I do remember a ton of complaints from the left about Bush's "RECORD DEFICITS!", and now going back to his $407 billion deficit would involve cuts are too 'painful'.

  • Sudden||

    Remember, it was considered extruciatingly painful by them in 2006 when it was a 'pub congress and GWB with a deficit less than one-third the current rate.

  • adam||

    "A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more “broke” than a family with a mortgage or a college loan."

    This either represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the term 'deficit,' or is deliberately dishonest.

    For the Times edification, a deficit is the difference between revenues and spending during a single fiscal year. That is different than the debt, which is the accumulation of all deficits (and surpluses) from the founding. A mortgage or college loan is like a debt, not a deficit.

    If a family had a mortgage payment of $2000 per month and other expenses of $3000 per month, but an income of $3500 per month, and no serious plan to cut back on any of those expenses, that family would be in serious trouble.

  • ||

    For the Times edification, a deficit is the difference between revenues and spending during a single fiscal year.

    Just so. The inability to pay obligations as they become due is one of the definitions of insolvency.

    Of course, as long as you can borrow, you aren't technically insolvent (by this definition) yet. But the other definition, that your debts exceed your assets, doesn't really apply to governments, since they don't really have much in the way of assets that can be sold.

  • DNS||

    Of course, as long as you can borrow, you aren't technically insolvent (by this definition) yet.

    Or have a handy dandy Currency Print-o-matic® to eliminate all your fiduciary woes.

  • ||

    Of course, as long as you can borrow, you aren't technically insolvent (by this definition) yet.

    Actually, it does. It's illegal to get a new credit card each month to pay your bills and balance from previous cards. It's called fraud if you falsified your application to the issuing institution (AmEx, a bank, etc). Oddly enough, every time our government cooks the books to get a more favorable bond rating, it's considered perfectly fine, but were you or I to try it, we'd end up in the slammer.

  • ||

    That's correct. And for many families, borrowing money to buy a home or finance a college education has proven to be a bad financial decision.

    In addition, while it's one thing to borrow money that has to be paid back, it's quite another to have a gap between one's expenses and income which continues to grow wider with each passing year. Does the Times think it's OK for families to do that?

  • DNS||

    Does the Times think it's OK for families to do that?

    If the families are members of the NY Times' entitled concern interests, then yes, it's perfectly fine and sound financial planning.

  • David||

    It's ok, they'll just inflate the debt away.

  • Ice Nine||

    OK I'm sorry but is it just me or does Andrew Cuomo look exactly like some third-tier enforcer goombah on The Sopranos?

  • DNS||

    does Andrew Cuomo look exactly like some third-tier enforcer goombah on The Sopranos?

    It's the hair.

  • Warty||

    Most state employees pay only 3 percent of their salaries to their pensions, half the level of most state employees elsewhere. Their health insurance payments are about half those in the private sector.

    Mark Twain, from Roughing It:
    "The government of my country snubs honest simplicity but fondles artistic villainy, and I think I might have developed into a very capable pickpocket if I had remained in the public service a year or two."

  • Old Mexican||

    "and I think I might have developed into a very capable pickpocket if I had remained in the public service a year or two."


    Calumny! Tony told me that it ain't stealing because the government says it ain't stealing! So there!

  • Adam||

    This just in, Michael Moore debunks the myth of bankruptcy:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....32006.html

    As an added bonus, watch as he both points out Obama and himself as 'believable examples' of the American Dream, at the same time as he tells people that the American Dream doesn't exist.

  • Brett L||

    I forget, is MM one of "the rich"?

  • Old Mexican||

    He's a white, fat, pompous windbag who suffers wrenching feelings of liberal guilt... So yeah, that makes him one of "the rich."

  • DNS||

    But...but, baseball caps! The stubbly, blue-collar everyman schtick! He has empathy!

  • ||

    I think MM may actually be two or three of "the rich", if we're going by weight.

  • Michelle DNS Obama||

    I think MM may actually be two or three of "the rich", if we're going by weight.

    Damn! Why didn't I think of that one sooner! Oh Barack, your snookums has a another policy idea for you...

  • Paul||

    I think MM may actually be two or three of "the rich", if we're going by weight

    If you were half the man he is...

  • ||

    Google "sandra lee" and "kwanza cake", "bunny cake", "cocktail tree" sometime.

    Not even with your dick computer.

  • ||

    One problem we face is that an awful lot of people haven't a clue how the government spends their money. I work with educated professionals, and the topic last week was how much money we spend on other countries, like all the money we gave Mubarak. When I explained that ALL the billions we gave Hosni over 30 years is something like 2% of our deficit THIS YEAR, I might as well have been speaking Mandarin. There are an awful lot of people that need someone like Chris Christy to show them a flippin' pie chart of where the money actually goes.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    There are an awful lot of people that need someone like Chris Christy to show them a flippin' pie chart of where the money actually goes.

    Considering how much liberal SWPL douchebags worship Wikipedia, you'd think they'd have found this by now:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....tegory.jpg

  • ||

    SWPL ? (forgive me if I'm missing something obvious)

  • search is your friend||

    Stuff White People Like

  • ||

    Unless those costs are reined in, New York will find itself unable to provide even essential services.

    I dread to think of all the services the Times considers "essential".

  • Brett L||

    Not on that list, apparently, is getting the unions to plow the roads if they are in the midst of a contract dispute.

  • ||

    The "Shutdown the Firehouse" argument...it never gets old, does it.

  • DNS||

    The "Shutdown the Firehouse" argument...it never gets old, does it.

    If it isn't broken...

  • ||

    The most essential service is supporting retired state workers in the style to which they have become accustomed.

  • dinkster||

    Even as a libertarian, I can't disagree to this. They completed a contract at retirement, and the state should be expected to honor it. The real issue at hand is the state spending what they don't have, like always.

  • ||

    UH, most people will have to wait until they're at least 66 to collect full Social Insecurity payments, not 65. Ever fact check, Gray Lady?

  • Vermont Gun Owneer||

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! "NY's own sea monster"?

  • Kristen||

    HA!

  • Kristen||

    Champ is not NY's own sea monster, god dammit. The Champ statue is in VERMONT. So there.

  • ||

    The New York Giants play in New Jersey while the New Jersey Nets play in New York. Geographic dissonance is too far gone for such quibbles at this point.

  • Kristen||

    Champ is not a sports team.

    However, the Lake Monsters are a VERMONT baseball team.

  • A Serious Man||

    Hey, when I saw Champ as a kid I was on the Lake Champlain ferry and we were still on the New York side of the Lake when I saw it. So he's an Upstate New Yorker as far as I'm concerned. And for the record, Plattsburgh > Burlington.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Have you actually been to either of those two cities?

  • A Serious Man||

    Just joking. And yes I have, Burlington is a great city to visit, although I spent the summer in Plattsburgh with my uncle. In general the Adirondacks and Green Moutains offer some of the most breathtaking scenes of nature in North America.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more “broke” than a family with a mortgage..."

    What if that family has to borrow money every month just to pay the interest on their mortgage payment? Would it be fair to call this family broke?

  • IceTrey||

    It's total bullshit that the government federal or local is broke. These governments hold TRILLIONS in assets. They take your money, invest it, keep the profits and then say they are broke and take some more. The truth is in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports. Google "CAFR" and learn the truth.

    http://realitybloger.wordpress.....ccounting/

  • Paul||

    It’s all obfuscating nonsense, of course, a scare tactic employed for political ends. A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more “broke” than a family with a mortgage or a college loan.

    *throws up hands*

    Oh now it is like a household budget again. I'd wish they'd pick a talking point and stick with it.

  • yonemoto||

    Oh come on. The government being broke is not like a family being broke, since it can print money. I'd like to see your family try that!

  • ||

    "To point out these alarming facts is not to be anti- union, or anti-worker."

    LOL...Oh, I hurt myself laughing. The NYT is gonna learn that most of its readers think that "pointing" "out" "facts" is EXACTLY anti union and anti worker.
    FACTS....so annoying and so true.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    False on both counts. Spending is not entirely under [one's] control (think Medicaid)[...]


    You can always STOP paying Medicaid, Tulpa. It may be a BITCH, but it is CERTAINLY under the control of government, so please don't make shit up.

    [...] and revenue is not entirely out of [one's] control.


    Yeah, sure.

    http://www.storyit.com/Classic.....oseegg.htm

  • Paul||

    Has anyone seen the new public sector worker ads? I caught one on TV the other day. Watching some yahoo who makes considerably more than I do bitch about how underappreciated they are made me laugh so hard I cried.

  • Brett L||

    This one?

  • public sector worker ||

    You would think that after seeing every drama series on television and most movie scripts (including the huge money maker, The A-Team), and the entire system of public education emphasize our unselfishness and caring compared to the greedy private sector, you would think the American public would appreciate us more. What good are a few ads going do?

  • ||

    First we need to bring our wealthiest citizens' contribution to public revenue in line with the rest of the developed world.

    I would be quite surprised to find out that there's another country where the top quintile's "contribution to public revenue" is as high as it is in the US.

    I would likewise be surprised to find out that there's another country where the bottom quintile's "contribution to public revenue" is as low as it is in the US.

    As usual, you have committed the error of confusing high marginal tax rates with the amount of revenue collected.

  • ||

    Comedian Louis CK would say that we are not broke. We would have to put $14.9T in the bank to be broke.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement