NPR woke us up this morning with another cheery report of California’s progress in education and unfunded public employees’ pension liabilitities. We are now told that latest testing shows three out of four fourth graders are reading below grade level. And the solution to that is, …, wait for it, more of the same. We need to increase school funding to enable the same districts with the same curriculum and administrative mavens to have the same unionized teachers do the same ol’ same ol’ while expecting better results.
And in city halls like Sacramento’s there is now the possibility of serious gnashing of teeth and rending of garment – just kidding, they don’t give a big rat’s ass. It seems that CalPERS has just told Sacramento that its unfunded liabilities are now over $1,000,000,000. The double dummies who have run town hall for the last ten plus years paid no never mind to the increase in pension benefits they installed after the turn of the century, and instead decided to do nothing on the revenue side of funding such pensions. I’d love to see some of the memos that went back and forth between CalPERS and Sacramento discussing the need for additional revenues and the decision to just forget about it.
Oh yes, the same stuff is going on with teachers’ pensions according to the latest from CalSTRS. Basically, here the unfunded liabilities tote up to over $71B with current annual payments required at $4.5B/yr and growing thereafter. The solution announced by the Senate Democrats ignores this and instead proposes to spend an additional $200M annually to start early education for 4-year-olds. Now anyone who has informed themselves even a smidgeon on pre-kindergarten government education programs knows that there is no evidence over the years for any lasting benefit from such programs. (In fact the bigger picture of government training and education programs over the decades demonstrates that they have been TOTALLY ineffective. The only good training the government provides is in its military.)
Then as we look at the ways how municipalities will solve these problems, can everyone spell ‘Chapter 9’? Cause more of it’s a’comin’.
So here we are, waiting for our president to lay out the tenets of his redeclared class war tonight, telling us how he will dash and weave through the intricacies of a recalcitrant Congress and a bureaucratic labyrinth, with handfuls of executive orders to stamp out income inequalities and dispense social justice near and far. According to polls, at least half the country believes Obama to operate somewhere between incompetent and rogue. The other half will no doubt look with continued hope for more of the much promised change. The watchword will be ‘inequality’, and the plan of action calls for it to be stamped out once and for all.
After the Soviet and Chinese solutions to egalitarianism became apparent, Kurt Vonnegut wrote about it in a chilling short story – ‘Harrison Bergeron’ (1961) - that was also made into a TV special now lost in the mists of time. In today’s WSJ Bret Stephens pens a Vonnegut inspired column that contemplates how we could progress toward such a future, given the cadre of entrenched progressives among Washington’s electeds and that completely dominate its bureaucracies. Tonight we will hear Obama’s attempt to marshal them all to action. Trepidation, you again abide in our midst.