California’s public pension are burning forest fire-size holes in California’s budgets. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:
Hot dry winds have returned to the land of fruits and nuts. After baking away all summer long in the blistering sun, the dense sage and chaparral covering the coastal hillsides and canyons and the inland mountain forests are dry and toasty. Vegetated areas are a giant tinderbox.
What happens next is as predictable as night follows day. Just one spark – from a downed powerline or a backfiring semi-truck – and the whole thing conflagrates into a blistering windblown wildfire. The Golden State goes up in smoke. The sky turns to an orange haze; the sunsets are magnificent. And ash sprinkles down and coats the pavement with residue.
Of course, this happens every year. And every year is the worst year ever. The fires rage until the mild winter weather arrives. Then everyone seemingly forgets the fires ever happened…until the mudslides.
Indeed, California is a whacky and wild place. The Governor’s an absolute loon who fancies himself a leading presidential candidate for the 2024 election. State and local governments are largely socialist. The general populace generally wants first rate infrastructure, at a second rate price. And nearly half of all U.S.’s homeless people live here.
Yet the real story with California. The story only geeks and dweebs will tell. Is a story of its state and local governments. It’s a story that’s also being written in a state or city near you. The story has nothing to do with wildfires, per se. But it does have to do with conflagration.
This is the story of an army of public servants. And the promise of retirements that are unaffordable. More so than the wildfires ravaging the state are the wildfires ravaging the big pension fund. This is the story of grand promises that must be broken. And the painful level setting that comes with it.
Where to begin?