Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Hello, They Must Be Going

Having won its court case against being furloughed, NY State’s public employees are now looking down the barrel at layoffs-and it’s about time someone, even a lame duck governor can have cojones, took a stand against the never ending expansion of state government. It’s getting so bad, that public employment has become the new vehicle of redistributing wealth-and how’s that working out for Greece?

Jonah Goldberg underscores the central thesis here: “The flames from Greece's debt crisis protests have cast new light on the perils of our own overspending and overborrowing. You know the litany. California is imploding. Public sector unions there, and across the country, are swallowing budgets. In California alone, pension costs have gone up 2,000% in a decade.”

And Goldberg goes on to point out: “Meanwhile, this newspaper recently reported that "paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year," while government benefits rose to a record high. In fact, government employment is becoming a method of redistributing wealth. In 2009, the federal payroll grew and the number of federal jobs paying over $100,000 a year doubled.”

That brings us back to New York’s fix, and the need to whittle down the size of a state government that is simply unaffordable. The NY Times has the layoff story: “Days after a state judge blocked his efforts to furlough half the state work force, Gov. David A. Paterson is drafting a plan that would lay off thousands of government workers at the beginning of next year, a move officials say is necessary to help balance the state budget.”

And one state official anonymously highlights our larger point: “State government has gotten too expensive. It can’t be everything to everybody. The timing also gives the next administration a chance to look at the plan.” The official also said Mr. Paterson had not yet ruled out breaking the no-layoffs pledge, which he made last June as part of a deal with the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employees Federation, the two largest unions of state workers.”

And in exchange for not being furloughed, the state will excise around 10,000 workers who, once let go, will not be able to carp to their union about the unfairness of it all: “Administration officials have estimated that the state would have to lay off about 10,000 workers to achieve the same savings as the furloughs, which would have cut spending by about $30 million a week. They also believe that layoffs would have a better chance of surviving a court challenge, since the administration’s no-layoff pledge was not written into the unions’ contract.”

This folks, is just the beginning of the carnage-and General Cuomo will be leading the charge because he gets the economic predicament that we’re in-unlike the grasshopper mayor who has been playing in the expanding government sunshine; unmindful of the storm clouds that have been looming overhead.