Krauthammer: Public-Employee Unions Bankrupting Cities, States

Wednesday, 26 Jan 2011 08:20 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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City and state worker pensions are choking local governments fiscally, and the only alternative might be for those localities to declare bankruptcy, Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on “The O’Reilly Factor.” His comments came in response to a New York Post story, citing state comptroller statistics that the number of retired New York state employees pulling down pensions of more than $100,000 surged a startling 43 percent last year.

Charles Krauthammer, unions, bankrupt, states, cities
Charles Krauthammer    
“It is an outrage. But, the irony is it is perfectly legal and was predictable,” the conservative Washington Post columnist told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, adding that toxic relationships between public-sector unions and politicians have been going on since before the days of FDR, who opposed unionizing public employees.

“You got this cozy relationship between politicians and the union bosses. And here’s how it worked,” he explained. “The unions would get these sweetheart deals, they would then use the dues to create slush funds, and with that money they would get the same politicians re-elected, who would then negotiate more sweetheart deals.”

Some states have been struggling to curb public-sector unions, in the face of deepening budget deficits and rising public anger at government workers' pay and benefits. O’Reilly asked Krauthammer whether anything can be done, as public employees signed legal contracts with the promised benefits.

“For some states that are not on the brink, they can possibly slash enough spending and then continue to pay out the benefits and perhaps reform themselves, so that they are not promising now to current employees the kind of benefits that will bankrupt that state in the future,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist said. “But other states . . . are way out there and that’s not going to work.

“And, that why I think they really have to think of some legal equivalent of bankruptcy.”

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