It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
2008 could yet prove to the 1917 of America. Barack Obama promised us that he would “fundamentally transform” the United States of America. America is a Democratic Republic and Obama promised change.
Vladimir Lenin promised “Peace, Land, Bread.”
Peace meant ending the war. Land meant spreading it around and bread meant feeding all.
Obama’s vision for the United States can be seen with crystal clarity in two cities in this country- Detroit and San Francisco. Both cities have been ruled by Democrats for decades and cannot point the finger of blame at anyone else.
Real estate prices are collapsing.
Some enjoy unemployment benefits so much that they refuse work.
Rich Lowry shed some light on Detroit’s path to destruction:
Public-sector unions protect the dismal status quo. Detroit high schools graduate just a third of their students, according to an estimate by Michigan State University. But when a philanthropist offered to spend $200 million to create 15 new charter high schools, teachers staged a walk-out. Mayor Kilpatrick spurned the offer. These failing schools throw kids with no skills into a struggling economy in an environment characterized by social breakdown.
Things are so bad that Mayor Dave Bing has proposed bulldozing 24% of the city.
The city does top one list- it is the #1 most liberal city in the United States.
In school we were given an light-hearted definition of mental disorders. They told us that neurotics see cities in the clouds and that pychotics live in those houses. San Francisco is a city of the clouds.
An article in SF Weekly shows that San Francisco’s fate is beyond astonishing. It’s positively terrifying.
If one was normal, that is.
Let us first sample the society.
Steven, who asked us not to use his full name, is 20 and homeless. He grew up in Stockton, became a welder after high school, then decided he “didn’t want the hassle” of staying put for a wage job. His fingernails play host to an ungodly amount of dirt, but his tight blonde curls, pretty golden eyes (“they look like a lion’s!” says one friend in amazement) and mellow, generous demeanor make him a popular hub among his homeless peers.
Sitting against a mural on a wall where Haight meets Clayton, I watch Piss, an outgoing, gangly guy in his early 20s with a curly blonde mohawk in a growing-out stage. I ask him where he got his unusual moniker. “I like to get drunk and piss on things,” he says.
Well. Originally from Billings, Mont., Piss has been traveling since his mid-teens. “Let’s just say me and my family don’t get along,” he tells me.
His answers to my questions about why he’s on the streets follow a path I see with many of the younger homeless youth: they insist that the lure of the open road was too hard to ignore, but eventually reveal that their parents kicked them out or were unable to care for them at a young age. Many, like Juju, another small-time weed dealer I met, bounced from family member to family member until frictions with them and their significant others left no recourse but the street.
And these people vote.
“Infinite” is not a word you expect to find in a report on municipal spending. It’s more of a science fiction–type term — Tremble, Earthling, before the infinite might of Galaxor! But there it was, in a recent report on San Francisco’s finances: Spending on the city’s employee retirement system in the past decade had grown at an “infinite” rate.
Naturally, that’s an exaggeration. If you do the math, the city’s retirement costs for employees in the past 10 years actually grew only 66,733 percent.
To infinity- and beyond!
In fiscal year 1999-2000, the city spent about $300,000 on its retirement system. In fiscal year 2009-10, it was $200.5 million. Benefits alone — not salaries, just benefits — for current and retired employees this year are budgeted at $993 million. Spending on retirees’ health care and pensions is conservatively projected to triple within five years.
And after that? Infinite.
And that’s the good news.
But that’s not the worst of it. There’s an even bigger financial apocalypse right behind this one. By 2015, the city’s pension contribution will swell to at least half a billion dollars — as a best-case scenario. Meanwhile, the city has a $4 billion unfunded health care liability looming that it hasn’t saved any money for.
The bloom is off the rosy scenario.
Even a 15 percent investment return won’t keep the city’s pension contribution from leaping to more than half a billion dollars yearly — and fast.
Health care is going to make us sick.
But health care is where things are really ugly. San Francisco’s overall costs jumped by 147 percent over the past decade, and are expected to continue skyrocketing. That’s about how it went in many cities. But not every city had the obscenely generous policy of awarding lifetime health coverage to any worker with a scant five years on the job. That munificence bit San Francisco on the bottom line — and led to the looming $4 billion shortfall no one has figured out how to address. The city’s $993 million spent on benefits this year does not include a single dollar toward that $4 billion gap between the projected costs of health care for future retirees and their families, and the money on hand to pay for it.
These are merely two of the more egregious examples of Liberals Gone Wild. These are the canaries in the mine and they’re dead. There are lots more of these cities. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a solvent, responsibly run city controlled by Democrats in the entire country.
If you closed your eyes, you might find one.
In the clouds.