His column today, "No new promises, please," has a message that is relevant to all levels of government as he talks about an 'unsustainable fiscal path':
"We are on this path because past elected officials made unsustainable benefit promises and enshrined them in law. In some cases they paid for those promises in the short run. In all cases they created programs that would grow more generous over time.
Those past elected officials enjoyed the political benefits of creating a new promise, and they shifted the burden of paying for these promises onto their successors and onto future generations of citizens.
... we are those future generations. The bill is coming due. The gap between future spending and taxes is the most important economic problem America faces. If we don’t fix it, we’re screwed."
Sound familiar? It should - this is what Toledo has done.
Even last year, City Council voted in favor of union contracts that provided six months of concessions, but went right back to the old terms as of the January. They got a six-month delay in addressing the city's deficit - but they didn't change the fact that the deficit still had to be addressed.
Of course, waiting that time also made the issue worse.
Governments cannot continue to grow and expand. I know that employees always want pay increases and don't want to have any cuts in their benefits. But government cannot be immune to what the market is doing - especially when those of us in the market are the ones having to foot the bill. We can't go to our employer and say 'give me more money.' (Well, we can but it won't result in action for the vast majority of us.)
Politicians and elected officials need to understand that the well has run dry and cuts are the only way they're going to be able to regain control of their budgets.
I know there will be people complaining because they're no longer getting their little piece of the pie. But they probably shouldn't have had any of it to begin with, and they're going to have to make do just like the rest of us.
Government needs to shrink back to the point where the expenses stop exceeding the income. And it needs to stop thinking it can always get more income - because it can't, as politicians are learning the hard way.