Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006 | It’s happening across the country: pensions and health benefits being stripped in private corporations and municipalities, despite clear legal obligation to pay their employees. Runaway inflation in health care and infrastructure repairs, the longer life span jumping from 65 to 85 years demanding larger outlays for future payments, the lack of national health insurance and dwindling Social Security funds, these and other subtle economic forces are changing the landscape forever.
For example, GM and Ford can’t compete with Toyota and Honda who have no health insurance burden: Japan pays for it. San Diego has a 1.4 billion health insurance obligation that it can’t afford, while European cities depend on their national insurance programs. San Diego also has a 1.4 billion pension obligation that it can’t afford, while overseas private and public pensions are absorbed by their governments.
But the cost of publicly insuring everything comes at a huge cost, with much larger income taxes to support such socialistic systems. In Britain, their sloppy medical and pension system is supported by a demoralizing 70 percent personal income tax rate. The price for “free” coverage must be paid. San Diego is faced with a looming crisis that forces either higher taxes and fees, or less goods and services.
The trumped-up excuses for rolling back pensions and benefits vary from city to city. Here in San Diego it’s a debt limit violation and a Section 1090 conflict of interest. It doesn’t seem to matter what a city’s legal gophers fabricate and distort, as long as they can chink the armor of municipal pension and health obligations. Never mind that most city employees don’t have Social Security or Medicare because of these obligations.
When sycophant politicians are burdened with rebalancing city budgets, anything goes, except unpopular tax increases. The lifetime impact on 15,000 loyal employees and the unethical infraction of their written contracts doesn’t matter when a $2.8 billion obligation is at stake. Big money is god almighty, worshiped at all cost. Sacrificing the life blood of these innocent employees for the huge public debt of San Diego taxpayers only echoes an ancient ritual.