Long ago I wrote a column regarding what I called a “tipping point” between the wants and needs of the public sector versus the private sector in New York. I said the unions and special interest groups there were so politically powerful that they would eventually control government, and ordinary New Yorkers would pay through the nose as a result. That time is now.
Details? Here’s the most salient one of all: according to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York will lose 225,000 private sector jobs in the next two years. The number of public sector pink slips handed out by Governor David Patterson? 520.
But wait, it gets “better:” The number of state employees, already a grotesque figure at 239,830, represents a 3.4% INCREASE in the number put on the government payroll over the last two years.
The result? A tax-a-thon of epic proportions on already strained New Yorkers is coming. Cable bills, taxi cabs, gym memberships, movie tickets, an extension of the sales tax and even a tax on I-Pod downloads are all part of Patterson’s proposals. Not to be outdone, the state legislature–perhaps the most corrupt and dysfunctional group of lawmakers in the country–promised they would replace some of those taxes with a “sweeping new tax on the rich.”
Government workers? Many state employees are exempt from layoffs.
Before you get the hankies out, a reality check: no one more richly deserves to get hammered by taxes and fees than my former fellow New Yorkers whose reflexively liberal voting patterns have borne fruit. They are truly going to reap what they have sown for decades. They wanted super-strong public unions with ever-increasing wages and budget-busting pensions? They got ‘em. Big, “compassionate,” solve-every-problem-in-life-bureaucracy? Ditto. A Cadillac Medicaid program which spends more than California, a state with almost twice as many people? Yesiree.
Reality check number two: to a lesser degree, virtually every other local and state government in the country is inhabited by the same kind of self-righteous, spendthrift politicians and “bulletproof” government employees bleeding taxpayers white whenever the opportunity presents itself. And, even more insultingly, a whole slew of them are looking for a federal government bailout for their self-inflicted profligacy.
Here’s a thought: government should lay off a percentage of public employees equal to the percentage rate of unemployment in the private sector. Not essential workers like cops or firemen, which is the standard scare tactic used by the pols to maintain employment levels. Eliminate middle managers, aides, lawyers, “make-work” jobs and all the hires made because someone was someone else’s niece, uncle or “good” friend. Trim budgets and do more with less. Tell all the lobbyist hogs who feed off the government trough the party’s over.
Memo to the politicians: try acting like leaders–instead of go-along-to-get-along, quid pro quo hacks.
I know. I’m shoveling you-know-what against the tide. But it’s worth reminding people that our forefathers took up arms and waged a little skirmish called the “American Revolution” over essentially the same issue: getting screwed by bureaucrats who figured they could tax us with impunity. It’s also worth remembering that people power isn’t completely ineffective, as the firestorm of protest which killed immigration “reform” two years ago indicated.
Maybe the politicians forget it’s our money they’re spending.
Maybe it’s worth reminding them.
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