Letters: Government, like businesses, needs to look at legacy costs

November 20, 2008 12:00 am

"Legacy cost" seems to be the current jargon for the 800-pound gorilla in the room. It's used, probably rightfully so, to explain why past constructions of contracts are significantly affecting current financial decisions. Examples being United Auto Worker contracts and Social Security as being structured on the assumptions that future growth would fund them.

Now with "government" acting as Don Quixote to our financial ills, I'm wondering if government isn't failing to look at its own legacy cost. Specifically, at all levels from small cities to the federal levels, aren't government retirement programs basically underfunded and pretty much based on assumptions of future revenues? What happens should these assumptions prove vastly overrated, since the Supreme Court has ruled that these contracts must be honored.

Lastly, another point: What I take exception to is the arrogance of our local City Hall department heads going and holding meetings with our new City Council members to let them know how it is. Excuse me, but weren't they elected to let the department heads know how its going to be? Enough of the cart leading the horse.

James Snow

Crescent City