At the state and local level, though, the changes have been even more dramatically positive -- at least up until recently -- especially in certain areas. And that has led to a proliferation of news stories in the past several years about local officials who have retired with huge pension packages.
Today, at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf notes how one of these stories is cycling its way through the media again. It involves former Stockton, Calif., police chief Tom Morris, who was able to retire with a $204,000 pension after just eight months on the job. (He quit because he was threatened with a furlough.) He later took another government job, as an investigator with the San Joaquin District Attorney's Office.
The story isn't new; it was reported when Morris quit in 2008. But Bloomberg News recycled it this week, and others once again picked up on the story.
What's noteworthy here is that these kinds of tales just aren't going to go away, for two reasons:
- They really strike a chord with Americans struggling through what is at best a tepid economic recovery from a major recession.
- States and localities are struggling with major budget problems that they can't wave away by borrowing or printing money, like the federal government can.