Leading on Entitlement Reform

While federal lawmakers dawdle, the states are tackling fiscal problems.

Michael Barone
National Review Online

Rhode Island state treasurer Gina Raimondo

Rhode Island state treasurer Gina Raimondo


Democrats in Washington declare that they will absolutely, positively allow no changes whatever in the nation’s unsustainable entitlement programs — Social Security and Medicare.

But out in the states, politicians of both parties aren’t averting their gaze from impending fiscal crises. They are working to change policies that have put state governments on an unsustainable trajectory…

…Consider Rhode Island, where Democratic state treasurer Gina Raimondo has worked to limit the state’s unsustainable pension obligations. The state pension fund is currently paying out more to retirees than it’s taking in from current employees, and instead of getting an 8.25 percent return on investments, it has been getting 2.5 percent. Rhode Island has hired Democratic super-lawyer David Boies to bring a lawsuit to reduce the state’s pension obligations. “There’s no contract,” Boies said. “Even if there was a contract, the state, pursuing the public interest, has the right to modify contracts.”…

…If you look back on the great conservative public-policy successes of the 1990s, welfare reform and crime control, the initiative came from the states and localities, mostly from Republican governors and mayors, but many came from Democrats as well.

Something similar seems to be happening with pensions and union contracts…

Read the entire article at National Review Online.


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