An aging pundit with Parkinson’s disease reflects on life, politics, journalism, and public pensions.
“A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth,” he wrote, a line now known as [Michael] Kinsley’s Law. (page 6)
Totally by coincidence, the speakers’ bureau got me a gig moderating a “town hall” session at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology…..My role, besides introducing the speakers and posing questions, was to roam the audience with a wireless microphone trying to stir up trouble on some neurological issue (mainly, it seemed, Medicare reimbursements). (pages 26- 27)
And it was the Greats (the Greatest Generation), not the boomers, who got us addicted to debt. The GGs’ willfully blind sense of entitlement turned the government – and many private companies, too – into machines for taking money from working people and giving it to “seniors” (in amounts far in excess of what they had contributed). (page 136)
Debt is everywhere you look. Here’s a short inside piece in the New York Times Magazine about state and local unfunded pension obligations for retired employees. They add up to between $1 trillion and $3 trillion. Until that article, I had given no thought whatsoever to shortfalls in state employee pension funds. You? Now we can only say, “Add it to the pile.” (page 147)