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Summary of This Commentary
With so many local-government organizations struggling to keep their financial boats afloat, we might expect our state and provincial governments to be sending out their rescue boats with their holds full of bailout money. But, a quick visit to the senior-government boat yard will show us why we haven't seen those rescue boats. Many of the boats in the senior-government fleet are already under water. And, many more have water up to their gunwales. The biggest single cause of the damage which has put so many financial boats in jeopardy is unsustainable entitlements. Whether the damage is a small crack or a gaping hole, the eventual outcome will be the same unless there is a bailout or unless the 'leak' is 'patched' by a bankruptcy court.
This commentary opens by defining the problem. It reviews how most entitlements are funded and examines what makes them unsustainable. As usual, it asks and answers some key questions to expose the extent of the problem. For example, why do these unsustainable programs survive? How long will their downward cycles continue? Next, it answers questions intended to take us to a solution. Is there a way to end those downward cycles? How should entitlements be made sustainable? Which incentives should be provided to avoid this problem in future? Knowing that senior government holds the bailout 'pumps' and knowing that their own financial boats are sinking should make the captains and crews of our local-government boats very wary. If your local-government boat is in danger of sinking, this commentary is intended to assist you in choosing between relying on those senior-government bailout pumps or asking a bankruptcy court to repair the damage.
As always, we welcome your comments.
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