I strongly recommend to you a two week old SF Weekly story, Let It Bleed, that begins like this:
"Infinite" is not a word you expect to find in a report on municipal spending. It's more of a science fiction–type term — Tremble, Earthling, before the infinite might of Galaxor! But there it was, in a recent report on San Francisco's finances: Spending on the city's employee retirement system in the past decade had grown at an "infinite" rate.Oh, and this:
Naturally, that's an exaggeration. If you do the math, the city's retirement costs for employees in the past 10 years actually grew only 66,733 percent.
Still, you might call that a Galaxor-sized number.
In fiscal year 1999-2000, the city spent about $300,000 on its retirement system. In fiscal year 2009-10, it was $200.5 million. Benefits alone — not salaries, just benefits — for current and retired employees this year are budgeted at $993 million. Spending on retirees' health care and pensions is conservatively projected to triple within five years.
And after that? Infinite.
San Francisco has known about this looming crisis for a decade — and gone out of its way to make things worse.Go. Read. And ask yourself how many other cities are in a similar bind, and what they're going to do about it.
In fact, on those few occasions when somebody has tried to do something about it, city government has worked with unions to successfully sabotage those efforts. San Francisco may not be in as deep a hole as many cities, but it's shoveling a lot harder.
Tough history coming, indeed.