Authored by William Robert Barber
State and local governments owe $7.3 trillion in debt obligations, none of which were ever approved by voters. Recently the State of Illinois was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with making misleading statements to investors; in addition the State was accused of deceptive practices including the failure to tell investors that their pension fund was so underfunded that it was at risk of bankruptcy.
Sacramento, the capital of California, owes over $2 billion in obligations — when compared to the city’s budget of just $366 million with a population of 477,000 residents. The city of Stockton, another California local, has just immerged from bankruptcy leaving debtors high and dry. One does wonder if the elected were totally devoid of sensibility.
Nevertheless, governments continue to promise and spend; interestingly, the courts citing precedence over good sense have stamped this process of suicidal impairment as legal. Of course these irresponsible, on-the-verge-of-silly-and-foolish government induced promises of egregious indebtedness were not made in a vacuum. There was a clear purpose, an intentional quid pro quo; and yes, you’re right, you’ve guessed it: politicians bought votes by promising union members, the idle, and the weak of mind a heaven on earth today for a promise to pay the accumulated debt sometime in the future.
Thus far we have been considering government defaults on promises to pay pension and retirement debt; of course, the bungling of this issue alone should evidence the ineffectual of those that govern. But if there are any lingering doubts as to the idiocies of politicians, consider the helter-skelter methodology of federal and State investment in green energy. The principal example of nutty decision-making is California. As if to insure future power shortages, the State of California has enacted daunting green energy mandates upon its utility companies; the effect of which has jeopardized the utilities’ primary responsibility of providing a steady flow of electrical energy at a competitive market price. The State’s insistence on ‘Green’ has stymied the building of new generators or to refurbish old ones; there is no robust energy backup system because the utility companies do not want to invest without an opportunity to earn a return on such an investment.
Because of green energy’s favorable tax and application incentives, the illogical near abandonment of fossil fuel energy expansion, and government’s insistence on denying the building of nuclear alternatives California is susceptible to the risk of citizens paying even more than the 25% to 60% higher than the national average they are paying now.
If for any reason there should be an unexpected outage at the San Onofre nuclear plant, rolling blackouts are as predictable as California’s beautiful sunsets.
Arrogance is an iniquitous disorder; the common antidote is humility. That is unless the arrogant perpetrator is a government and its policymakers. In this case the policymakers wiggle, dance, slither, whine, and promise the undeliverable, and eventually scheme their way out of the corner so to facilitate the continuum of stupid.
The very same policymakers who have willfully conspired for years to deceive regulators, investors, lenders, and the populous — although knowing of their flouting disregard, without even the slightest inclination of expiating or correcting the wrongfulness of their policy — have instead doubled up on their hubris; these rascals have steadfastly violated statutory laws, ethical behavior, and the spirit of ordinary truthfulness. Now I ask where, oh where is the Department of Justice?! Oh yes, government and their policymakers are not indictable; idiocy, imprudence, arrogance, and hubris are not statutory violations. Hmm…where are the Federalist Papers when one needs them???