Oliver Twist did not choose his fate. California, New York and Illinois – three states whose conditions are especially parlous – did. And in November, each of these deep-blue states elected Democratic governors beholden to public employee unions.
San Francisco is spending $400 million a year on public employees’ pensions, up from $175 million in 2005. In November, San Franciscans voted on Proposition B, which would have required city employees to contribute up to 10 percent of their salaries to their pension plans, and to pay half the health-care premiums of their dependents. Michael Moritz, a venture capitalist, says: “A typical San Francisco resident with one dependent pays $953 a month for health care, while the typical city employee pays less than $10.”
San Francisco voters defeated Proposition B. If they now experience a self-inflicted budgetary earthquake, there is no national obligation to ameliorate the disaster they, like many other cities and states, have chosen.