News briefs are a collection of interesting news stories…
This version is a glimpse into Pittsburgh politics dominated for decades by Democrats.
Brief 1: The Port Authority of Allegheny County (home of Pittsburgh) is the government agency tasked with running a transit system. As you might expect the agency poorly run and constantly running in the red. Facing another budget deficit the Authority has not threatened to streamline, become efficient, or even look to reduce labor costs their typical threat is to cut service. That seems to make sense except that this threat is not meant as a way to cut costs, but to enrage the local citizens to pressure politicians for more money. This tactic only works every time and lame duck Governor Ed Rendell has stepped and has threatened to”flex”[steal would be my term] federal highway money to save mass transit unless lawmakers raise taxes. Governor Rendell never met a tax he didn’t like.
March 28, 2010 Update:
I love to read the Sunday paper with breakfast on the weekends. Today I was treated to another classic example of government gone bad with our money. The headline read “Transit bridge projects in jeopardy” as the Port Authority of Allegheny County complains that they may have to defer repairs to some of the “poor” bridges that they own. Spokespersons take a matter of fact approach to the unsafe structures; “This kind of thing is fairly common — every year we have more capital projects than can be funded, so the ones that don’t make the final budget stay in the queue for another year.”
Part 2 – Blackmail
I know that sounds extreme, but it happens all of the time in (and to) government. The media never really calls it blackmail, but that is what it is. How many times have you heard a politician say that we need to do something (raise taxes, bail out some company, sell a senate seat) or things will get worse? That is blackmail.
A recent local example involves the construction of a subway line in Pittsburgh. Yes Pittsburgh has a subway!