Even AP starts to see public employee union benefits are unsustainable 

Even as Mitt Romney inexplicably flip-flops on his charge that Obama administration policies made the economy worse, liberals in the mainstream media are now underscoring the former Massachusetts governor’s initial warning about the financial disaster that could befall us all.

The Associated Press is waving the largest red flag it can find to trumpet that our nation’s fragile and plummeting economy is actually worse than generally thought. The AP has even decided it needs to point out the danger of “expensive but long-untouchable public employee benefits.”

According to the AP, “All 50 states have combined unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations that top $1 trillion.” That would be trillion with a “t” — as in more than one thousand billion dollars. It’s safe to assume the Founding Fathers could not even imagine one-thousand billion dollars.

The AP also warns, “Illinois and California are also in dire straits with each owing more than
$100 billion in promises to state and local public workers.” Again, to put it in more basic language, each state owes more than one-hundred-thousand million dollars to the public employee ranks.

As those of us in the private sector pay more and more for our dwindling health care, consider this: Michigan, while under the leadership of Democratic former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, tried to make its teachers and state workers start paying 3 percent of their salaries toward their massive retiree health care costs.

How did the unions who represent these teachers and state workers respond to that reasonable request? They sued the state and so far have been successful in stopping the meager contribution.

As more and more Americans in the private sector don’t get health insurance simply because they can’t afford it, keep this in mind: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2009 at least 14 states offered free health benefits to some or all state employees, with at least seven states also paying for family plans.

While Romney may have reversed himself on the damage now being done to our economy, the evidence speaks for itself. The Obama administration’s backing of these public employee unions and their fiscally unsustainable benefits has made the situation exponentially worse.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask the AP.

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official.

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