Bill Gates, not exactly known for partisan politics, is sounding the alarm on states’ unfunded pensions and health care costs that are wreaking havoc on state budgets (now and in the foreseeable future). Gates does not mention Wisconsin by name, nor does he cite the unionized public-sector. However, with Wisconsin in the limelight right now, Gates’ warning should be heeded by all Americans (union and non-union alike):
There are long-term problems with state budgets that a return to economic growth won’t solve. Health-care costs and pension obligations are projected to grow at rates that look to be completely unsustainable, unless something is done. But so far, many states aren’t doing much to deal with their fundamental problems. Instead they’re building budgets on tricks – selling off assets, creative accounting – and fictions, like assuming that pension fund investments will produce much higher gains than anyone should reasonably expect.
Eventually they’ll have to make some hard decisions about priorities, and I’m worried that education will suffer, even more than it is suffering already because of budget cuts. The issues are complicated and obscured by the complexities of accounting, so most people don’t fully understand what’s going on. More people need to investigate their state’s budget and get involved in helping to make the right choices. [Emphasis added.]
Bill Gates has set up a website that shows just how bleak the numbers are in terms of both pension and health care liabilities in the public sector.
As you explore the site, take note of both features—the unfunded pension and the unfunded health care obligations. The amounts are staggering.
As more people (even union members) understand the problem, the more will understand why the system needs to be reined in. If we can’t rein these costs in, you can be assured of one thing:
Ctrl + Alt + Delete will be America’s only option.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776