July 19, 2010

The Case for Gridlock, Kinda

Marc Comtois

In response to recent GOP leadership pronouncements, Kevin Williamson asks why anyone would trust the GOP any more than the Democrats in making budget cuts.

Now, the 2009 balloon isn't shown in this chart (and it may go off the chart if it was), but this shows that no matter who is in control, spending just continues to go up, up, up. I'd say go with the lesser of two evils, but it's darn hard to figure out which is which. Maybe the best we can do is divided government so that no one Party can get all the things done they would like. Gridlock is probably our best chance at slowing down the seemingly inevitable growth.

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congratulations, Marc
You are making a good argument for a multi-party parliamentary system. Come, join the true progressive movement.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at July 19, 2010 12:28 PM

Good solution: proportional representation
Better solution: abolish parties

Posted by: Dan at July 19, 2010 12:35 PM

If this graph is inflation-adjusted, one would expect it to be flat, except during wartime.

As for the salary issue... That's precisely why government employees are playing by different rules than the rest of us. At my job, we usually get 1-3% annual bumps depending on the economy (assuming we get good performance reviews). When times are bad, we all go a year or two without a raise. Once that happens a couple of times, the public-sector starts pulling away ahead of 'the rest of us'. Try telling a fireman (who makes $60K 'base pay', $30K in 'overtime', and gets the best benefit package money can buy) that he's actually not 'working class' at all, that he's in the top 20%. It's not that he started off better than you, or that he got crazy raises, it's just that the contract he works under manages to get him his 3% raise -no matter what-, while the rest of us miss out on raises in the bad years.

One of the things I'd like to do is prevent municipal contracts from issuing raises based on written 'dollar amounts' and switch to some sort of index. That way, a first-year teacher would make (for example) '120% of the previous year's state per-capita income', a top-stepper would make '280%' of the same. Those are basically today's numbers translated to indexes, you can see how it's a lot harder, politically, for a labor union to cry poor when the contracts are put into that kind of context. It also means that municipal workers would have a serious vested interest in boosting the overall income of the state economy, because it would help their own bottom line.

Posted by: mangeek at July 19, 2010 4:50 PM

Hey, look at the end of that graph. Looks like we found Michael Mann's hockey stick!

Posted by: Monique at July 19, 2010 6:06 PM
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