Due to our national economic collapse at the hands of Congress we are seeing unprecedented cuts to some areas of city services. It’s very strange to watch the schizophrenic policies of the democrats right now. Let me see if I can get some of this straight: On the national level, the federal government is spending billions of dollars they don’t have while the states and cities are going broke. The federal government is EXPANDING the ranks of the government workforce ostensibly to help stimulate the economy. Everyone knows that expanding government is a drain on the economy and government jobs are almost always make-work jobs beyond essential services. But some non-essential services are being spared while other critical services are being attacked savagely.
On the local and state level it’s exactly the opposite. These governments are actually CUTTING jobs, laying off or furloughing workers often in essential services like police and emergency services. They claim it’s because they are losing funding from the federal government. That begs the question: why is it the federal governments task to pay for local level, essential services? What has happened to the tax money that should be spent on these services in the first place? The short answer is that states and cities have long ago gone off the rails with their spending priorities. We pass public pools with seven kids swimming in them and four blocks away people have a fire hydrant open. Libraries get priority over fire companies in the Internet age.
No city or state politician gets elected so he can make the trains run on time (as they should). I have said repeatedly that big city mayors are more worried about national and international issues than they are about running the day-to-day operations of the city they were elected to oversee. For example our Mayor Nutter recently went to the Gulf to check out the oil leak. Why? We have an out of control murder rate here in Philly and an impending fiscal catastrophe. His time would be much better spent trying to get more businesses to relocate to the city. Unfortunately he’d have to fix a broken government, lower taxes and IMPROVE services to do that. So maybe it’s a smart thing for him to get out-of-town for a few days.
About fifteen years ago our governor “Fast” Eddy Rendell was elected mayor. At the time Philly was a fiscal basket case as is the norm. After generations of one party (democrat ) control in Philly he was hailed by the local left-wing media much the same as Obama was by the national MSM. He was the guy who was going to clean up Philly and balance the books. He did to a large extent by gutting the city workforce and handing down contracts that destroyed the standard of living of average “Working families”. It is widely believed and circulated by the MSM that city employees are lazy fat cats and our wages and benefits are the reason the city is on the brink of insolvency. Rendell won large-scale cuts in benefits and wages thanks to a law he got passed (PICA). It gutted our collective bargaining rights (another democrat victory for the working man). Supposedly he set our fiscal house in order. Fifteen years later we are as broke as ever. In reality we have been broke all along yet Rendell was hailed as a hero for taking on the “MUNICIPAL UNIONS” and was elected Governor. Fast forward to today in New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie is being vilified for taking on the political machine there. That includes the ultra powerful teachers unions and the entrenched democrat political apparatus that has run up an eleven BILLION dollar deficit. You can’t make this stuff up.
As a point of fact Philadelphia firefighters have been on the job, working without a contract for about a year now.
Finally when John Street got elected Mayor after Ed Rendell he had an incredible crime problem. His solution? To use the police force to occupy large areas of the most crime ridden areas of Philly. Literally like an operation Fallujah. He spent millions of our surplus on forced police overtime. Often it was little more tha cops standing on corners to show a continued presence. It worked for a time. But after the money ran out the crime went right back to normal and even got worse thus proving you can take a neighborhood but the question is can you HOLD a neighborhood and for how long and at what price?
Now Mayor Nutter is gutting the Fire Department. Over three successive democrat regimes the fire department has become a favorite target. After many years of successful firefighting programs and operations they are now going to decimate our field forces. Inevitably this will lead to the undoing of everything we have achieved. The deaths, injuries and property losses will go up, it’s inevitable. The equipment and morale will erode and deteriorate. Philly will burn like Detroit, ironically something it managed to avoid during the war years of the 1960’s. Like Afghanistan in a year things will get much worse. What scares me the most is if the firefighting forces get to the level of our EMS forces. They are so short-staffed it’s scary.
The democrats made much of the way the Bush administration conducted the war in Iraq. We were told endless stories about up-armored Hum-Vees being in short supply or body armor that had to be mailed from home. We were told endlessly how it was going to be a quagmire like Viet Nam. Yet here at home, on the front lines that IS the reality. Broken and run down equipment and facilities. Staffing and budget cuts and company closures. Ambulance shortages have been the norm for twenty years. And people die and firefighters get injured needlessly.
Much like our national leaders have forsaken our military, our local leaders have forsaken our public safety. It is ironic. And tragic.