The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier | Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On the recent wave of municipal bankruptcies and debt-laden cities from California to Pennsylvania:

Well, if you raise taxes 80 percent [as the mayor of Scranton has proposed], he is not going to have any constituents. Everybody will move to where the taxes are lower and he will have zero income.

Look, the word that was used in describing what is going on here is “legacy” costs. It’s a nice innocent word. It sounds almost respectable. Legacy cost simply means they are saddled with agreements that were made with the public sector unions years ago, some of them, actually, more recently. And it was a corrupt relationship between politicians, mostly Democrats, who gave sweetheart deals … to the government unions [for] pensions and healthcare, largely because the cost would only show up years later.

And now we are in the “years later.” As a result, and as a quid pro quo, they [the unions] support corrupted politicians in elections — and the politicians would [then] give them new sweeter deals in a kind of ongoing circle. That circle is over now.

And the fact is there are only two ways you can get out of it: the Wisconsin way — where you have the political will, meaning a Republican in power willing to break the cycle and change the way business is done — or bankruptcy.

The key innovation here is bankruptcy. You [Bret Baier] reported that these are the largest cities in decades, [in] perhaps American history, going bankrupt. The only other way out is to have a judge declare the contracts null and then start all over.

On Mitt Romney’s address yesterday to the NAACP convention in Houston:

Romney helped himself a lot. Woody Allen once said showing up is 80 percent of life. He showed up in a hostile — or non-friendly — environment.

And I do agree the way he handled the opposition in the speech is important, because Romney has a reputation as a guy who doesn’t have a core, who doesn’t have a spine, and who will change his position depending on the audience or the time of day. And so he goes out there and he speaks about Obamacare, he sustains the boos. Then he gives evidence which he has that Obamacare will hurt jobs. So I think he showed that he will stick to his guns….

And the importance here is to show a distinction between Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats are a coalition of special interest constituencies. Obama, you know, he goes after Hispanics, blacks, women, gays, students, unions. He dangles in front of each of them something, either legislation or financial reward or something in the tax code. Romney is saying: I’m going… to act as a president of all Americans. We all have interest in a strong economy, all have an interest in jobs and this will help you as it helps all other Americans.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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