The fake government economy is at a crisis point in Houston. All of the accounting gimmickry has been used and there is nothing left but a mountain of debt. Now, how do the pension tricksters fool the state again? I am not sure what Turner is looking for in the form of a fix; but, one thing is for certain, the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill. A big question to come – who is to blame? Turner’s strategy is yet another attempt by a mayor to kick the proverbial can down the road. The unfunded pension liability estimates range from 5.6 billion to 12 billion. Our municipal debt mirrors our national debt in many ways with one distinct difference: the City of Houston cannot print money.
State Pension Committee Chairman Dan Flynn brought his Pension Committee to the Houston Council for a hearing on June 13. Highly overcompensated city pension officials arrived with their own form of Enron accounting and glossed over the true financial condition with pretty PowerPoint presentations. A match was struck some time ago to the city finances and that match has now morphed into a blow torch. At the hearing, pension and union officials tried to paint a picture of stability when describing their system; but, it is anything but stable. Democrats on the committee sought to aid pension and union officials with covering laudatory comments. The salaries and benefits paid to Houston public employees are not real. I say this because their Madoff-style accounting system is designed to fool the taxpayers while giving political cover to elected officials tasked with hiding the massive fraud. All of this trickery is designed to keep the City of Houston paying out-of-market salaries and pension benefits.
Dan Flynn, a supposed conservative Republican, also praised the city pension officials during the hearing. Flynn was chairman two years ago when Annise Parker complained that she could not get the legislature to give her “local control” over the city’s pension system. The city’s pension system has been in crisis for the last five legislative sessions. Parker made these complaints after signing an agreement with the police union to refrain from lobbying for “local control” of her own pension system. You really cannot make it up; but, it does show the lengths that elected officials will go to perpetuate the fraud. Former Mayor Parker was endorsed for reelection by the police union the year she signed this agreement to not advocate for local control.
Chairman Flynn will be tasked to come up with some legislation fix. Speaker Strauss, also a big beneficiary of union political largess, will attempt to give cover to Flynn and his committee. The risk for Strauss and Flynn: how to give the unions what they want without making the legislature appear responsible. Of course, the legislature IS responsible. They, of course, are liable because state representatives were scared into thinking, by the unions, that big bad liberal politicians in Houston might one day want to undue the fraud and corruption. The legislature subsequently enacted “Mother, May I” legislation, preventing the City from cutting union benefits. The question for Flynn will be whether he attempts to land the plane or jump out with a chute allowing the unions to auger in what promises to be a spectacular crash at this point. Flynn may attempt to captain this ship all the way to the ground – don’t expect it though.
At this point, the City of Houston has no possible way to pay off the massive pension debt. Pension officials will continue their party line: no problem here – look out thirty years to see the true picture. This position does not account for thirty-year-old rose colored glasses that could not possibly see over the mountain of debt. We will continue to hear the argument that we must honor our obligations, even though crooked politicians made them. And, we will have to except fewer services than we already receive in an attempt to perpetuate the fraud. Turner will continue his sleight of hand with the claim that he has fixed all the potholes and the taxpayers need to pay more money to feed the beast.
Liberal idiocy will be the governing thought process as Houston is smothered in a mountain of debt. It really is way past time to file for bankruptcy. If you are a Houston business, get out while you can. Halliburton, Schlumberger, and Exxon have all bailed. More businesses will continue to get out as they are expected to pay more for a less safe, less accommodating, broken city infrastructure. The city finances are not real. Save yourselves.
A Greek Tragedy in Houston