“It’s the equivalent of a gigantic credit card debt which grows and grows the longer it is ignored,” said Michael J. Widmer.
This is par for the course from the Globe and the Masters of Beacon Hill, who can only roll their eyes at this stupid incompetence and invite us to do the same.
We hear this sort of thing all the time, even before the current War On Public Employees.
Here’s what’s missing from the story. The cities and towns are not sovereign states. They don’t set the terms under which they bargain for contracts that, once signed, become legally binding.
They don’t have the power to streamline health-care costs by adopting a single-payer plan. They don’t print their own money, and they are in crisis right now.
The city or town where you live educates your kids, plows your roads, puts out your fires, etc. but it does all of these things within a context that is entirely controlled by the state.
Think of your town as a hand puppet. While those Masters of Beacon Hill wag the finger of their collective right hand (“Goodness, ! We’d never underfund OUR health care!”) the left hand is inside the puppet, limiting funding, limiting options, and creating a perpetual local fiscal crisis.
“It’s shocking,” said Widmer. “We can’t pay for these kinds of benefits and at the same time provide basic service.”