It would be a pretty neat trick to enable former Governor Edward Rendell to evade responsibility for eight years of doing nothing to address the metastasizing state employee/public school teacher pension fund shortfall, but that is precisely what Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center Director Sharon Ward seeks to do in an extraordinary editorial essay in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Feb. 8, 2013 edition.
Ms. Ward, head of one of the largest statewide liberal groups which advocates for bigger and more expensive government and less personal responsibility, expresses disdain and contempt for the state budget blueprint set forth by Governor Tom Corbett in the past week, and states the following regarding the $44 billion pension fund shortfall, “Over the years, lawmakers have failed to make required pension payments and now the bill has come due. The governor has proposed pension changes for current employees which may violate the state constitution. Changes proposed for new employees would likely enlarge the problem by increasing unfunded liabilities.” Is it only those in the General Assembly that failed in their responsibilities, or does the most recent governor on whose watch the problem became colossal, deserve some blame? Director Ward would be hard-pressed to place responsibility on Mr. Rendell because he is an ally, an individual who despite his close ties to corrupt legislative figures, Ms Ward has classified and lionized as a “leader.” Now, she expresses disapproval that a legitimate leader is attempting to fix, or at least stanch the bleeding, for the crisis that was dumped in his lap. What solution would Ms Ward propose, pray tell, in order for the Commonwealth to fulfill unrealistic promises that were made to its workers, and which now threaten to bankrupt us if stark action is not taken? I know what the answer would be, “Tax the rich!”: some solution.