In case yesterday’s post on economic freedom was a bit long for your taste, I was on the Fox Business Channel yesterday talking about, among other things, economic freedom.
At the end, I discuss Arizona and their Medicaid program. In my view, a reasonable cost-containment approach to Medicaid would put benefits on a sliding scale: the most-needy would be eligible for larger benefits, while those with higher incomes and/or greater wealth would be eligible for fewer benefits.
Unfortunately, the federal government won’t let states do that. Another thing they won’t let states do? Scale back non-emergency taxi service to Medicaid recipients. After an 8 month review, the Feds recently denied Arizona’s petition to eliminate this service. They will, apparently, permit the state to no longer finance certain transplant procedures. Does this strike anyone else as bizarre?
Eileen is the guest on this week’s Inside State and Local Policy Podcast, with your host Jim Musser. She discussed her new paper with Andrew Biggs from the American Enterprise Institute. You can listen here. She was also on Fox Business earlier this week, which you can see here.
Mercatus Senior Fellow and Neighborhood Effects leading lady Eileen Norcross appeared on Fox Business this afternoon, discussing her recent article in Reason. She discussed the fiscal situation in New Jersey, and how it got so bad. From the Abbot court cases to public sector unions, she covers a lot of ground. Watch the interview here.
In the Reason article she dives into the union stranglehold on state finance in more depth:
Since 1990 local governments have added 45,500 new jobs. Nearly all of them are represented by one of a dozen unions, which have helped secure some of the plushest public sector jobs in the nation. It’s easy to see how property taxes have grown at twice the rate of inflation over the past decade. A government worker in New Jersey earns an average of $58,963, a police officer averages $84,223 (the second highest in the nation), and six-figure public sector salaries are commonplace. Compare this to neighboring Philadelphia, where the average police salary is $49,000. According to one estimate, of the $23 billion New Jersey raised in property taxes in 2008, $18 billion was spent on police, municipal, and teacher salaries.The tab for public workers doesn’t end there. Factor in the state’s pension plan, currently under-funded by $34 billion. The New Jersey Taxpayers’ Association calculates pension payouts for the average teacher range from $1.6 million to $2.5 million, per retiree. For the average police officer, that range totals between $3.2 million and $6 million, per retiree.