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Byron Schlomach

0-Related Reforms
$50 Billion Tidal Wave: How Unfunded Pensions Could Overwhelm Arizona Taxpayers

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In a period when financial markets and institutions have appeared near collapse, the accounting methods used by public..

Regulatory Reform/Taxes
Recognizing Pension System Insolvency: A Catalyst for Lasting Reform

Despite recent stock market highs, Arizona's pension systems remain dead men walking. Officially, the state's major pension funds are 72 percent funded, just 7 percentage points above what the federal government defines as the "red zone," or in critical condition. This means they are short at least $14.5 billion, or $2,300 for every man, woman, and child in the state.

0-Related Reforms
How Cities Drive Economic Growth in Five Easy Steps

Cities across the country struggled through the recent recession, and several even declared bankruptcy, including Stockton and San Bernardino in California, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Central Falls, Rhode Island and, perhaps most famously, Detroit, Michigan. Stockton’s decline has been harrowing as its finances have so declined that essential services, especially the police, have been reduced. The city’s gang and narcotics teams had to be disbanded even as the city saw its murder rate hit an all-time high in 2012. The city is learning to fight back with help from the county sheriff and changes to its policing methods, but real long-term damage has been done to its reputation. Even before its bankruptcy, Detroit had a plan on the table to reduce costs by demolishing abandoned houses and commercial buildings. The city’s decline has been so thorough that it has been used as an example of what happens to buildings in its Life After People series.

Empty promises for government employees

A recent Arizona Republic series revealed how some government employees are abusing Arizona’s pension systems by artificially boosting their salaries to collect a bigger pension, or by “double-dipping” – working while collecting retirement. That has strained Arizona’s pension funds. Unfortunately, even eliminating these abuses would still leave Arizona’s pension systems deeply in the red by more than $50 billion.

Pension Systems Looting the Taxpayer

Have you ever squeezed a balloon and had parts of it squeeze out between your fingers? Unless you pop the balloon with a pin, it will reemerge somewhere else when you squeeze it. Public employee pensions have become balloons, and abuse of public pension systems keeps oozing despite attempts to put the squeeze on it.

Affordable Care Act
Removing the Middleman: What States Can Do to Make Health Care More Responsive to Patients

It is no secret that the American health care system suffers from high costs, lack of access, and uneven quality. Many, if not most, of these problems stem from a dramatic rise in the cost of health care driven by the third-party payer system.

States continue to let the feds take control

Huge segments of state budgets are driven by federal spending. Few roads are built without federal matching funds. Large shares of states' budgets are spent on social programs initiated by the federal government such as Medicaid, KidsCare, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

Affordable Care Act
Doctors must have final say on patient treatment, care

Washington, D.C., has a new health-care buzz phrase. "Comparative-effectiveness research" is the latest government-led effort to bring health-care costs under control.

Affordable Care Act
The Pilgrims’ lesson for today’s health care debate

It is often said that if we don’t study history, we are condemned to repeat it. The Pilgrims of yesterday have a valuable lesson for Americans in today’s health care debate.

Michigan health care ruling fails economics test

A federal court in Michigan recently ignored reasoning used by other judges in Virginia and Florida and dismissed a private lawsuit against the federal health care reform law. The judge in Michigan relied on an argument by Congress that mandating everyone to have insurance will eventually lower overall costs for health care. But that line of thinking disregards a half-century of experience with health insurance in the United States.

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