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Another Domino Falls in Dem War on Blue

The battle against the blue model is heating up in deep-blue Rhode Island. Via Meadia has already covered the struggle at the state level, but the fight is increasingly trickling down to the municipal level as well. The New York Times is reporting that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, a Democrat, is planning to embark on one of the largest rounds of cuts the city has ever seen.

Insisting that it’s the only way to avoid bankruptcy, Taveras is planning to cut cost-of-living benefits for thousands of city pensioners—a move which will save the city an estimated $16 million in the coming year and will reduce its pension liability by $236 million. This is only the most notable of a group of pension cuts that could save the city a further $26 million next year.

Crucially, these cuts are unlikely to come with tax increases. Despite the ardent wishes of state unions, Taveras is shying away from this favorite blue solution to financial problems:

“[I]f we can’t reform our pensions, I don’t see how we can move this city forward. You could raise taxes, but I don’t think you can raise taxes enough to cover the cost of this.”

The unions would like everyone to think that we are witnessing a war by evil, hard hearted Republicans against the blue social model. Wrong.

The model is inexorably collapsing of its own bloated weight. Democratic mayors and governors are acting in ways that not even the most radical Republicans did ten years ago. They have no choice: reality can only be resisted so long.

 

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  • Anthony

    WRM, for me it’s not just a blue model issue – we (the country) desperately need economic and political reform; how do we honestly go about it in our riven and diversity layered milieu? Stressed public budgets and pension costs are plaguing states and local governments coast to coast. Our public management problems cannot be facilely dropped on only blue. Going forward who has the biggest stake in cleaning up this problem – Certainly not PUBPOLS and public unions?

  • http://inthisdimension.com alex scipio

    “reality can only be resisted so long.”

    Dont tell Jerry Brown, he’s been avoiding reality for decades.. as have the CA voters who have been electing (and re-electing) him.

    We’re now somewhere between $35B adn $117B in debt – and we’re REQUIRED to have a balanced budget…

    Be nice if some of those RI dems moved to CA….

  • Kris

    “Reality can only be resisted so long.”

    Don’t dream it, be it.

  • matt

    or you know, the economy could be turned around thereby increasing public tax revenues /tax base, creating jobs & opportunity, and creating a need for even more jobs. Instead …..AUSTERITY [profanity removed]!

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “Democratic mayors and governors are acting in ways that not even the most radical Republicans did ten years ago. They have no choice: reality can only be resisted so long.”

    How much better off would everyone be if Right thinking Fiscally Conservative Republicans had been in control from the beginning? That Democrats are being forced to take action in the face of fiscal disaster, just tells you that they are incompetent to design an optimal fiscal structure that would maximize growth, and not just take the minimal actions necessary to stave off disaster. Clearly with the Democrats in control, the best that can be hoped for is grinding poverty, rampant crime, and hopeless Stagnation. If you want your family to thrive, you must go to where the Republicans have control, and where the TEA Party is strong. Move now to a Red state, or a soon to be Red state, and abandon the Leftists to their self induced economic horror show. You are not responsible for their condition, and you are not obligated in any way to help them by staying and sacrificing your life and your family’s lives paying for their mistakes.
    If you live in any one of the following states, you need to get out as quickly as possible: California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, DC, Vermont, Hawaii, and Washington. These are all deep blue states and they will spend decades in stagnation, while the Red states grow and harvest the future.

  • http://Thepencilofnature.net Lorenz Gude

    Don’t you know? Republicans ARE evil. I can be quite certain about this becuse I am one. I used to be a Democrat, but in the end I was forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

  • Kenny

    Again …. public sector employees have been riding a gravy train for at least a generation now.

    And forgive me, but I have literally never met anyone on a state or local government payroll who worked hard … nothing compared to what is regularly done in the private sector from where I hale.

    The brunt of any adjustments must fall on those in the public sector, and it seems even Democrat politicians recognize this reality.

  • jdm

    Democratic mayors and governors [...] have no choice: reality can only be resisted so long.

    Just as long as they retain power.

  • http://www.anchorrising.com Marc C.

    Thanks for continuing to call national attention to this issue in RI. We humble conservative bloggers at anchorrising.com have been struggling within the Ocean State for several years calling attention to these deep-seated problems. Unfortunately, as we predicted, no action was taken until it was basically too late. Hopefully, the shell game is finally over.

  • craig

    “You are not responsible for their condition, and you are not obligated in any way to help them by staying and sacrificing your life and your family’s lives paying for their mistakes.”

    For some, this is true. Many others need to take a hard look in the mirror, lest they reproduce the same problems in their new locale. There has been a generation’s worth of magical thinking, and very few were completely immune to it.

  • http://www.allenmitchum.com Allen Mitchum

    Good first steps. Keep them coming.

  • Joe Ynot

    Interestingly, there was an article in the NY Post today that Brown University is going to start giving Providence an additional $3.9 million dollars voluntarily, on top of the $4M a year it already gives on its taxable property. Probably making a virtue of necessity as governments begin reconsidering the idea of tax-exempt properties.

    I can’t help but think that Massachusetts’ governmental mouth must be slavering at the thought of Harvard’s endowment.

  • Obama4andgone

    Only Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has had the courage to take this on full-tilt and organized labour went ballistic! Here in Milwaukee I am bombarded daily by MSM stories about the unions, protests and how the recall election will drive Walker from office. One the main Democrat contenders, Kathleen Falk even runs under the central theme that she will return the unions to power! Bought.Lock, stock and barrel.
    The mantra of the left is ‘evil republicans’ are trying to balance the budget.
    Evil Democrats have sold out my children’s future to ensure their own political power.

  • Jeffersonian

    Just as long as they retain power.

    And here it is in a nutshell. You will notice the complete lack of wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments on the part of the unions here, as contrasted with the hyperventilating tantrum thrown in Wisconsin.

  • AD-RtR/OS!

    Providence now, Los Angeles and San Francisco are looming on the horizon.

  • thibaud

    “The model is inexorably collapsing of its own bloated weight. ”

    What, exactly, is “the model”?

    Is WRM talking about generous pensions of any/all kinds?

    Or does he make a distinction between a) insolvent pensions managed by political, often corrupt, hacks, and b) solvent pensions run by apolitical, well-regulated financial professionals?

    Obviously, increasing longevity and falling fertility will force some simple and well-understood changes: higher retirement ages and a shift from defined benefits to defined contributions. This isn’t earth-shattering news, or even terribly controversial.

    The problem we have in America is not generous pensions per se, or this “blue model” canard, but a creaking and corrupt political context based on “pay to play” politics.

    This level of corruption doesn’t prevail in many supposedly “blue” nations. Canada, Holland and Australia have high solvency ratios and professional, clean management.

    Perhaps WRM could ask his Australian friends – or people who actually know something about international financial systems – to tell him more about how these “blue” nations are succeeding.

  • BobjustBob

    Rudyard Kiplings The Gods of the Copybook Headings needs to be required reading these days.

    AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
    That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
    But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
    So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

    We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
    Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

    With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
    They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
    They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
    So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  • K Scott

    BlueFail is still resisting reality because when it cuts, it cuts stupid and mean. In Wisconsin Governor Walker created flexibility at the local level by changing collective bargaining so that union contracts could not block financial reform. The results was that the cuts in state aid to education did not lead to mass layoffs except in Milwaukee which refused to change collective bargaining. In other school districts various changes which were now possible – requiring state employees to pay into the pension system, getting away from an expensive union =dominated health care plan, repealing featherbedding regulations, rebidding all contracts at their expiration – lowered costs so substantially that mass layoffs were not necessary. And similarly Bluefail would not need to cut seniors’ COL and to do mass layoffs if it reformed collective bargaining by state employees. But that cuts to the programs that help the weak is unnecessary is a dirty little secret the strong, the unions and the poodle media, keep to themselves.

  • tomw

    Jacksonian said:
    If you live in any one of the following states, you need to get out as quickly as possible: California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, DC, Vermont, Hawaii, and Washington.

    You forgot Maryland, which should rank several from the bottom of your list.

    tom

  • Otis McWrong

    Craig makes an excellent point. My native Virginia is being flooded with refugees from various left-wing [pits]. And the first thing they do upon arriving in some bucolic town in the Shenandoah Valley or the Northern Neck is to agitate for gun control or leash laws for dogs or whatever their pet issue is. They just can’t resist the busybody temptation to start pointing out what’s wrong and needs to be fixed.

    They’ll no doubt convince the problem with their former residences being unable to implement Utopia was in the execution so they’ll give it another crack.

    I’m in the market for a “Welcome to Virginia. Now Please Leave” bumper sticker.

  • crypticguise

    I wonder when the message will reach the Democrats in Commifornia? There is NO MORE MONEY numbskulls!

  • teapartydoc

    Cities are beginning to realize their vulnerabilities. A couple of salient facts are that folks that are retired or are about to have large amounts of accumulated wealth, and that wealth, like them, is mobile. You raise their taxes to pay for ridiculous pensions and they leave; meanwhile, the young folks are saddled with educational debt and are like turnips that you can’t squeeze blood out of. Unlike Roman civilization, where the government can strike a deal with land owners to keep workers saddled to a piece of land in exchange for some military protection and a share of what is produced (think of it as tax farming with an actual farm), the roots of feudalism, we still(?)have a few rights. So unless Hillaire Belloc was correct in thinking that crony capitalists and government can reproduce the feudal system and place us within a servile state, Entities such as cities and states will have to adjust accordingly, and without some of the coercion used by past tyrannies.

  • glitchus

    The obvious thing to do is to outright ban all public employee unions, as they are a conflict of interest to the citizenry.

  • bostonshepherd

    Jacksonian said:
    If you live in any one of the following states, you need to get out as quickly as possible: California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, DC, Vermont, Hawaii, and Washington.

    Actually, maybe Massachusetts should be taken off the list because our state constitution prohibits a graduated income tax. This naturally limits how severely the taxpayer gets hammered. We have lots of fees and other charges, but it affects all income levels the same, thus creating some measure of political restraint (i.e., pols can’t even demagogue “tax the rich” let alone do it.)

    Maybe Maine should be put on the list. They’re having lots of fiscal problems that fiscal hawk Paul LePage (Republican governor) may be unable to stem. 8.5% income tax, steep property taxes, sales tax.

    Hey, there’s always NH. Too bad it’s so small. Not enough room to house the rest of New England.

  • pablo panadero

    The only difference between these Democrats and Scott Walker is that Scott is making it slightly better for the average state worker by enabling them to soften the blow by getting back their union dues. Of course, that won’t work with the Democrats because the Dems have already spent the money that will be sent to them….

  • http://thepencilofnature.net Lorenz Gude

    I noticed then when riding along with my son on I95 in the West Palm Beach area that there were 5 kinds of police cars in about a 12 mile stretch. When I mentioned this to a long time resident and boat owner he told me that there are 3 kinds of water police. As Dirty Harry would say: “Marvelous.”

  • WJW

    “…is planning to embark on one of the largest rounds of cuts the city has ever seen.”

    Not giving a “cost of living increase” is NOT A CUT. The pensioner gets the same amount of money as the prior year.

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