Thursday, July 5, 2012

A cautionary tale

Colorado Springs voters rejected a property tax increase, despite a $28 million budget gap.

Among the many austerity measures put into effect were force reductions of 50 police officers and 39 firefighters.

This summer, a wildfire destroyed 346 homes, killed two, and forced 34,000 residents to evacuate. Many homes were vandalized and looted. Those numbers would likely have been lower if the 89 public safety personnel were still on the payroll.

While this is a particularly dramatic example, it is typical of the risks involved in the cutbacks being made by governments at every level, around the world.

For 50 years, politicians bought our votes with borrowed money, gave themselves generous pension plans, backed down from demanding public service unions, and failed to demand value from service suppliers.

We were all part of the deficit dance. We went along with this charade, kicked the can down the road, while knowing that the piper would have to be paid some day.

A worldwide economic recession finally proved that course to be unsustainable. 

Some day is here.


  1. Doug, are you saying the present economic situation is the fault of the politicians, the unions and the workers?

  2. Good question, Francie. See my follow-up post, The shape of things to come."