Brownies Governing

Government is best at congratulating itself, regardless of merit.  Six years ago it became too obvious and the nation was aghast as it witnessed this charade play out. A political hack placed in a critical position failed miserably yet was praised effusively by a clueless chief executive:
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In a similar vein, the November 8, 2012 Union County freeholder meeting dedicated 155 minutes to an oval jerk of self-congratulation on the county’s response to Hurricane Sandy.

In all that time nobody mentioned how much of the county was still dark or give any estimate for full recovery or mention that Facebook was more of an information source than the county’s PID or explain how massive lines for gas could sprout up for a week and then disappear or acknowledge that it was PSE&G who was handling (or mishandling) this emergency as governments at all levels through privatization and outsourcing had abnegated much of their powers/responsibilities.  Here is a taste (less than 3 minutes of random clips) of the festivities:

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Sure some people at the county helped other people but that was universal.  We all coped as best we could.  The point is that it was primarily PSE&G that was in charge of the emergency itself as government ceded it power yet reserved its right to pat itself on the back (I see plaques coming next meeting for county employees who allowed citizens into the Public Safety building to recharge their cell phones).  For those interested in 30% of what went on that night (as maybe 30% of the county remained dark into a second week)  here it is unedited – since I couldn’t bring myself to relive the experience*:

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* Not so much Sandy as this freeholder meeting.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on November 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    TL trusts the politicians to help her out!!!! I feel good about because her faith is very misplaced

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      “Anonymous” … always the jackass.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on November 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm

        TL
        Have you givin any thought to my last post concerning running for office? We need good men like you to lead us. This insanity and spending is out of control. You seem smarter than the average bear when itcomes to these pensions. It appears that life as we know it will end if these pension promises are kept!! Come on and please take your talents and put them to good use for the betterment of the popluce. We need a good man like you to lead us!!!!

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on November 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm

          I thought that was you.

          I would much prefer that YOU run for office … I need a good laugh.

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on November 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

            Forget the giggles… we need qualified men like you who aren’t afraid to make the tough decisions….or dish out some tough love as your moniker would indicate..

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm

            Anonymous, I started commenting on pension issues almost 5 years ago. Being peripherally in this business, I knew LONG before that that Public Sector pension promises were extraordinarily generous (MUCH more so than needed to attract and retain qualified workers) and that their VERY high cost would likely some day come back to bite us. Of course I didn’t know at that time that those rich pensions would continually be enhanced further, that the salaries (upon which these pensions are leveraged) would rise faster than those in the Private sector, or that several financial issues (the real estate collapse and then the financial crash) would hit us hard hard.

            I’ve tried to help EDUCATE those less versed in pension funding and the cost drivers that Public Sector Unions, workers (and commentators) goose to their advantage. I neither need to nor want to run for office. “Politics” disgusts me quite frankly, many politicians practicing criminal behavior cloaked by odd legal cover.

            While I doubt further “education” of those less informed is really needed (from me) any longer (journalist now well on board), I’ll like keep at it for a while …… perhaps it will help hasten the MAJOR pension reform desperately needed.

            I don’t need to or waht to “run for office”.

  2. Posted by Elise on November 13, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Hi John
    Know you’re really busy especially with all that’s going on up but am wondering if you’ve looked at Alicia’s Munnells new book and if so what your thoughts are?
    http://www.amazon.com/State-Local-Pensions-What-Now/dp/0815724128/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351958734&sr=8-1&keywords=alicia+munnell

    Reply

    • Elise,

      I did read (even buy) the book and came up with a blog on one part of it – Illinois vs. New Jersey:
      https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/new-jersey-vs-illinois-pensions-what-now/

      It’s a valuable resource as it brings a lot of information to one place but it fails when it wanders to conclusions. What I found lacking in it was a skepticism that those actuarial numbers (produced by paid lackeys) were legitimate. I would have liked to see some disclaimer like: “I know the funding numbers look bad but because of political considerations, lack of oversight, and a weak-kneed actuarial profession, the situation is much worse than officially acknowledged.” Otherwise I’m pretty much on board with Frank Keegan’s analysis:
      http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/blog/detail/new-book-on-public-pensions-only-missing-1-thing-reality

      And this isn’t the busy season. Had Sandy hit a month earlier it would have been a disaster but November is historically the slowest month and I’ve caught up already even after losing two weeks – though most clients lost two weeks too and we haven’t gotten a full day’s mail since October so maybe there’s a backlog of work coming, but I doubt it. For now, I’m updating client lists, making up new brochures, and gearing up to do GASB OPEB valuations while listening to Van Morrison’s new CD for about the tenth time – for me his best since ‘Common One’ or ‘Inarticulate Speech of the Heart’, whichever came last.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Elise on November 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Okay… thanks for the link to the blog posts. Either I missed it or forgot you mentioned going through her book.

    I’m not trained in anything actuarial so it’s good to hear from pros the same opinion as I formed with her book. My initial impression was she stops short of dealing with reality and gets wishy-washy. Almost like she doesn’t want to deal with it … weird for such a detailed book.

    Anyhow…reinforces again my initial conviction about leaving public work in time to start a second career. I’ve got friends who think I’ve lost my mind working this hard. No I don’t think so……

    Glad to hear the storm didn’t hit you too hard. A Long Island friend is still trying to clean her house up. Have fun with Van!

    Reply

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