No, no, that was deliberate snark. But the Times does highlight one device whereby public officials and public employee unions have been able to aggravate our common malady. That would be: their joint skill at exercising the fine art of kicking the can down the road:
[A] growing cadre of political leaders and municipal finance experts argue that much of the edifice of municipal and state finance is jury-rigged and, without new revenue, perhaps unsustainable. Too many political leaders, they argue, acted too irresponsibly, failing to either raise taxes or cut spending.That strategy is particularly appealing when it comes to "invisible" costs like present promises to pay future pensions or health care. In plenty of places, unions have agreed to trade away present benefits for future, and government officials have avidly bought into the scheme because it shifts the problem onto the agenda of their successors.
Which leads to the suggestion of my friend Marc, who knows a thing or two about municipal unions: he thinks all local government officials should be elected for life, so at least they would have to clean up after themselves.
I suppose we could generalize: require that all public officials of any sort be elected for life, or at least until they flee to a jurisdiction without an extradition treaty. Oh, right, that's been tried.