Rifts Exist Among Democrats in State, Municipal Levels

Well, there's your problem. Those are tokens for Dave & Busters, actually. Credit: © Anankkml | Dreamstime.comOver at RealClearPolitics, Washington Bureau Chief Carl M. Cannon notices that while the federal infighting in the GOP is getting lots of attention, the Democrats are hardly a unified coalition, thanks to fiscal problems of states and their municipalities. To be more clear, the conflicts in Democrat-dominated cities and states are pitting executives versus legislators:

Typically, reform is being led by Democratic mayors. It’s being resisted by leaders of public employee unions, who are also Democrats. California state legislators tend to side with the unions over the mayors, preferring the status quo—and the campaign contributions from unions—to an intramural fight.

The problem, however, is that the status quo will not hold any longer. Detroit is virtually a one-party city. It has also filed for bankruptcy. These two facts are not entirely coincidental. Five decades’ practice of awarding generous pension benefits to city employees, even while Detroit was in the process of losing two-thirds of its population and slashing the workforce, has left the city with a budget in which 40 percent goes to paying former workers—with long-term obligations to these retirees approaching $44 billion.

Cannon reminds us that just as California was completing the transition to a single-party state, voters in San Jose and San Diego were overwhelmingly approving reforms to public employee pensions that reduced obligations moving forward. San Jose’s reforms are heading to court, while Mayor Chuck Reed is part of a small group of mayors putting together a state-wide ballot initiative to give municipalities more control over their employee pension rules.

Gov. Jerry Brown pushed some modest pension reforms through, which are being challenged by the state unions and threatened by federal sanctions if transportation employees are not exempted. Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called for pension reform. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is trying to negotiate pension reform (but not very well). Despite conspiracies that public pension reform is a far-right plot, the battle is taking place in communities where virtually all the power has been consolidated among leftist factions.

Read Cannon’s whole piece here.

I would add that similar conflicts can be seen in pushes for more charter schools. Despite, again, conspiracies that it’s all religious nuts who don’t want their kids learning evolution or corporate greedheads who see a profit, in cities, the push for more parent power over the schools is coming from the left against the entrenched unions.

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.

  • albo||

    Continuing to vote for candidates from the same party that created the original mess because you can't imagine that anybody without a D after than name could be anything but pure, undiluted evil is evidence that Americans are D-U-M dumb.

  • AlmightyJB||

    But ReaganBushPalin.

  • Banjos||

    But but racists, homophobes, war on women, WAR ON WOMEN!!!!11

  • Mickey Rat||

    Can you name one person with a D after their name who is not pure undiluted evil, or undiluted incompetence?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This is what happens when Republicans cut government to the bone.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Whit privilege, rape culture, something, something.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Or white. Stupid thumbs.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    You have thumbs? LUXURY!!!1!!

    And I bet you type with your right hand, don't you!? END RIGHT PRIVILEGE!!!

  • Tim||

    Headline at AOL news right now:

    "Ann Coulter explains why she's turned on some Republicans "

    Turn on or turn on? I'm afraid to click.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Her and Limbaugh have always gone after RINO's. As well as people who embarress the party like those dumbasses who couldn't shut up about rape birth control during the election.

  • John||

    When you finally run out of other people's money, things get ugly as the various parasites turn on each other.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    I wonder how many Democrats and progressives are going to be truly shocked when California's pension issues can no longer be ignored.

    They seem to have truly convinced themselves that Moonbeam and the Democrats saved the state from those evil Republicans.

  • AlmightyJB||

    They all want there cut of the extortion I mean tax dollars but they don't want any costs. Less they and their crew get to skim.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Their

  • Paul.||

    Detroit is virtually a one-party city.

    Why do they bother with the 'virtually'? That's like calling Seattle 'virtually' a one-party city. I'm sure there are some republicans living here, somewhere. But when your city council votes... unanimously to seize property solely so the council can profit from it... where's the lonely voice of resistance? Where's the small coalition in city government fighting this? Where's the principled voice of protest?

  • Jordan||

    Hey, Detroit's political system is as adversarial as the FISA Court.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, clearly this is an indication that the Federal Reserve needs to respond to ongoing economic sluggishness by expanding its Large-Scale Asset Purchase Program to include municipal debt securities.

    /Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen

  • AlmightyJB||

    Our only hope is an invasion from space. /krugnuts

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    The Feds just need to print more money and send it to the states! /Sad Beard

    (Note that this is completely different from the 2009 stimulus, when they printed money and sent it to the states to help cover pension obligations. Because of the reasons!

  • Rasilio||

    Almost makes you wonder if QE is their exit strategy, get as much of the debt into the Fed's hands as possible then disband the Fed and start up a new central bank

  • AlmightyJB||

    Sort of like Joe Pesci in Casino. When he whens he collects, when he loses he says fuck you.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Life is better in areas controlled by Team Blue. That's what my prog Facebook friends keep telling me. For some odd reason, they never mention any urban areas except Manhattan and wards 1-3 and 6 of D.C.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I always hear sweden

  • wareagle||

    sure, but that's mostly because of the Swedes, especially the womenfolk.

  • BCG||

    A really good read on that subject:

    http://www.libertarianism.org/.....weden-rich

  • Cytotoxic||

    So why are the people leaving for Red States?

  • Mickey Rat||

    They want to make some money and many don't make the obvious connection about why the Blue State is not better at that.

  • UnCivilServant||

    To appear to be doing something about the still out of control spending in New York, the legislature decided to 'cut' spending by passing laws mandating that formerly state programs be funded by the localities - then dropped state funding. The localities are not allowed to opt-out of paying for programs that they can't afford either.

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