Letters to the Editor

Writer oversimplifies states' plight

Jerry Williams ("Don't make us pay for others' errors," Jan. 24 letter) cites California and New York as "big liberal tax-and-spend states." He deduces that because of liberal policies these states "have driven away both people and businesses" and consequently there's been a reduction in tax revenue, producing a deficit crisis.

Williams, as is the case with many conservatives, offers up the same hackneyed perception regarding the root of such problems: "It's the liberals! They're to blame!" He reduces a comprehensive set of economic factors to some perceived lowest common denominator; that liberal fiscal policy has spurred the deficit crisis in states like California and New York.

I'm betting Williams is not an economist. I'm certain that he suffers from a kind of ideological paralysis, dismissive of other possible determinants. There are Ph.D.s in mathematical economics who are far more capable than either myself or Williams to fully analyze the variables at play.

There are a whole host of economic elements that have affected the states, including a mass exodus of jobs to other countries. And please don't blame unions for this phenomenon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for 2010, only 11.9 percent of all private sector jobs are held by union workers.

As to the "sweetheart salaries, benefits and retirement gifts ... posh employment packages" negotiated for public sector workers by public unions, who specifically is he targeting? Police officers? Firefighters? Teachers? Road workers? These are "the bureaucrats" who pushed the states into a deficit crisis?

When any of us parade a self-serving, absolute expertise on such complex issues we are treading in murky waters.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.