The Trib editorial page and Rich Miller take on the governor's new pension sweetener. It's the usual problem with pension systems: in a vacuum, bumping some costs to the pension system works, but over the years it adds up to the big mess we find ourselves in.
The state's budget crisis reminds me of an excellent episode of This American Life—which has been truly outstanding in recent years when it takes on questions of policy—about New York State. In it, Ira Glass talks to Richard Ravitch, most famous for edging New York City out of very-near-bankruptcy in 1975. If it's any comfort, the state of New York, despite having the nation's financial engine at its heart, faces the same problems and the same recalcitrance to fix them.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Times—located in another broke state—talked to another architect of the city's rebound from near-collapse, Felix Rohatyn. Seymour Latchman and Robert Polmer have a book about Hugh Carey, the governor who brought in Ravich and Rohatyn; in 1993, Rohatyn looked back on the crisis in New York Magazine.
What to hope for? More fear, it would seem. We might have to get to the point where we're scared solvent.