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Unfunded health benefits $20 billion liability for state's largest communities

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Real World, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Good times ahead!


    Unfunded health benefits $20 billion liability for state's largest communities


    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Staff Writer

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    BOSTON - The 50 largest cities and towns in Massachusetts face a "staggering" $20 billion unfunded liability for retiree health benefits that will wreak havoc on local government and place crushing burdens on property taxpayers in the future, a new report warns.


    Unfunded health benefits $20 billion liability for state's largest communities | GazetteNET


  2. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Holy #%$^ does that say 50%?!?

  3. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Remember the old ad....look for the union label......
  4. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Remember the hidden ad.. Corporate Health Care is here to help you.
  5. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    Personally, I will never pay 50% more in property tax to pay for lifetime health benefits for former public employees.

    I'll sell my house and rent again if I have to. People need to accept the fact that the middle class can not afford to pay more taxes.

    The more taxes we pay, the less we have to spend and the less we spend, the worse our economy becomes. In addition, the more taxes we pay, the less we have to save for our own retirements..that is the way things work in America.

    Just ask Greece!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  6. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The prop taxes will be built into the rent cost.
  7. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    These costs used to be manageable. Trouble is, the for-profit corporate insurers, hospitals and practices have these pesky shareholders to answer to. The investor class has been demanding more dividends from these entities so things needed to be tweaked up and much of that load has been shifted to the "pricing of services". Health care costs have gone through the roof as a result. There are too many lawyers mixed up in medicine and that's scaring away doctors who are exposed to lawsuits. Combine that with the costs related to litigation and insurance for those liabilities and you get a massive swelling of end-user costs and a hemorrhaging of assets toward the investor class...as usual. It's all one viscious cycle.

    So our society has decided to somehow salvage our existing system with a series of band-aids, duct tape and "new" health care plans that do nothing but delay the inevitable collapse. It's like refusing to condemn an apartment building that you know is going to cave in, paint the walls and put in new carpeting and let the tenants keep living there until the big day when the roof caves and everyone dies in the rubble. We need something radically different. Too bad no one has the balls to call it like it is and start over. The right insists that the "free market", which got us to this point, should be allowed to correct the system. The left says we need to subsidize the entities that dragged us through this mess in the first place. No one wants to try anything new for fear of being called "radical". That's where we are today. How pathetic.
  8. chicowalker

    chicowalker Rookie

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    only in some cases -- landlords can't simply charge whatever they want

    You claim to be an enthusiast of the free market, yet you appear to have little understanding of how it works.
  9. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    Can you explain your first point further? Outside of Rent Control (which as far as I know no longer exists widely in MA) what makes a landlord not able to charge what they want?

    I agree that the "market" dictates what a landlord could get in rent, ie you couldnt charge 1500 for a place in a market where 1000-1200 is the going rate for comps, but there is really nothing other than that keeping from doing so.
  10. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    You're blaming corporations and insurers, and not the governments that decided to give life time medical to anyone and everyone who served a single term on a city council? Insurance companies have some of the smaller margins in industry. Something in the 4 or 5% neighborhood I think. Don't get me wrong, I don't like them, but this isn't their problem, or fault. This is the fault of the people who gave out far too many goodies, and the problem of the taxpayers who are going to be expected to pay for them.
  11. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm a landlord and I manage lots of property. Market rates in your area are what tend to determine the amount you can charge. Among other things like the exact location your in, quality of the apartment, etc. You can list your place for $1,500 if you want, but if the going rate for a comparable unit is $1,000, then you probably won't be able to rent it. Ultimately the "going" rate is where you'll be. Now, if property taxes go up 50% for everyone, then I can guarantee you that the cost of renting will go up as well. There's virtually no way every owners taxes can go up that much, without an added cost being passed on to the renter.
  12. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    That was kinda my point RW. If the owners costs go up I would assume they would pass that a long to their customers (renters).

    Yes location (market) would still dictate what they can charge but there is no law stating what they can or can't; such as rent controls laws in SF or the like. I think rent control laws largely disappeared in the commonwealth in the mid 90s
  13. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    When a lot of this was negotiated the playing field was much different than it is now.. they should have had foresight, but most did not.

    There are still municipalities, Providence for example, that the firefighters get free Blue Cross post 65, and that city wants them to be on Medicare and they will supplement part C & D... but the firefighters do not want to change plans.

    The city with either win this or go bankrupt, and then they will be cut anyways.. you do not need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
  14. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    Fixing the blame on one factor isn't useful, but go right ahead and ignore all the other factors if you want. These contracts are based on politics and a failure to account for the aging population combined with the destruction of middle-class jobs that people can count on for a large part of their earning years. That's all true, but ignoring everything else is useless.
  15. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't quite follow. This thread is about the $20 billion 50 cities are going to be on the hook for, that is unfunded. Nothing tends to be absolute, I agree. There are always other contributing factors, or reasons that add to a specific incident or problem, but I don't see how blame can be beset on corporations and insurers for this. What does destruction of the middle class have to do with cities handing out too many goodies, or the rising cost of healthcare? Maybe I'm not seeing something that you do. That's by all means possible.

    What Daryl said is accurate. The proformers and such were much different years ago. The problem though, is that the freebies are only now recieving scrutiny, and when a local gubmit steps in to do something about what is entirely unsustainable (see Wisconsin), there are mass protests. So what gives?
  16. patsfan13

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    No the problem is Unions who spend a lot of $$$$ from Union dues bargaining with Politicians who are spending other people's tax $$$$$.

    Can we blame corps for the problems with the pension systems which are underfunded.

    See if you don't know the problem you will never find the solution.
  17. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If they can't make money on the properties they will abandon the properties and stop paying the taxes, see Detroit and parts of NYC.....


    You can't keep raising taxes forever either there are economic consequences to that also .

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