"The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife." --Thomas Jefferson
"Greece has cultural problems that contribute to its economic implosion. But there are similarities to the U.S. as well -- and because we have elected Democrats, they are growing. By the end of 2011, Greece's debt will be 150 percent of its GDP. According to a March report by the Congressional Budget Office, President Obama's 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years -- $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected -- which will increase our debt to GDP ratio to 90 percent by 2020. One in three Greeks works for the government. Government employees enjoy higher wages, more munificent benefits, and earlier retirements than private sector employees. ... Public sector unions are growing in the U.S. More than 50 percent of all union members are now public employees who have negotiated sweet deals with local, state, and federal governments. As economic historian John Steele Gordon points out, 'Federal workers now earn, in wages and benefits, about twice what their private-sector equivalents get paid. State workers often have Cadillac health plans and retirement benefits far above the private sector average: 80 percent of public-sector workers have pension benefits, only 50 percent in the private sector. Many can retire at age 50.' While private employers were shedding jobs during the recession, state and local governments hired 110,000 new workers. Obama's new spending will result in a 14.5 percent increase in the number of federal employees in just two years. ... And in a corrupt feedback loop that may not be so very different after all from the Greek practice, public employee unions give generously to Democratic candidates, both in cash contributions and by manning phone banks, getting out the vote, and so on. It's no coincidence that the states with the most powerful public sector unions -- New Jersey, California, and New York -- are facing the most severe budget crises. Greece is in flames, but if you look around, you can smell the smoke here as well." --columnist Mona Charen
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The Last Word
"The Associated Press has a list of the 20 most and least 'economically distressed' counties in the country. The most-stressed county is Imperial, in southeastern California (between San Diego and Yuma, Ariz.). Least-stressed? Ford County, Kan., home of Dodge City. Of the 20 most-stressed counties, 12 are in California, 3 each in Michigan and Nevada, and 1 each in New Mexico and Illinois. Of the 20 least-stressed, 4 are in Kansas; 3 each in Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota; 2 each in Louisiana and Oklahoma; and 1 each in Iowa, Virginia and Wyoming.
Didn't somebody once write a book called 'What's the Matter With Kansas?'? Seems as though 'What's the Matter With California?' would be a more fruitful line of inquiry." --Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto