Stockton, California, a town of 300,000, is filing for bankruptcy. What pushed the city over the financial cliff? Irresponsible decisions and policies.
How Stockton found itself so mired in debt can be seen everywhere in the city’s core. There is a sparkling marina, high-rise hotel and promenade financed by credit in the mid-2000s, mere blocks from where mothers won’t let their children play in the yard because of violence.
During the economic boom, this working-class city with pockets of entrenched poverty tried to reinvent itself as a draw to Bay Area refugees and a popular site for conventions. It offered generous city employee pension plans and benefits.
There should be a lesson in the misery Stockton imposed on itself, but I doubt the warning about massive growth of government will be heeded. And that is what’s so alarming.
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