Tuesday, July 10, 2012

No Bananas in Scranton Pa.

Years ago Harry Chapin came out with a cult classic, 30,000 lbs of Bananas, about a young truck driver on his way down the hill that leads into Scranton, Pennsylvania.  “He missed a sign that he should have seen saying switch to low gear; a fifty dollar fine my friend...”  In the end the driver had a very nasty accident leaving the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania without any bananas.

Harry, rest in peace, would have fun with live audiences as he offered for their approval alternative endings to,  30,000 lbs. of Bananas.  One possible ending was “borrowed” from another familiar tune. 

“Yes, we have no bananas,
We have no bananas today…
Yes, we have no bananas…
Bananas in Scranton, P.A…” 

Eventually Harry got around to explaining, “You know the man who told me about it on the bus said it went off the hill out of Scranton, Pennsylvania…” Harry had a way with creating tunes from stories which actually happened, a gift of gab in musical form; but that’s not what I’m driving at today. 

According to a Fox News story by Perry Chiaramonte it would seem Scranton, Pennsylvania doesn’t have enough money to pay its bills either; never mind that pasty fruit folks like to slice up and add to breakfast cereal.

“Employees of a Pennsylvania city, who have all seen their salaries cut to minimum wage as the mayor grapples with budget problems, are hoping a judge restores their paychecks in full.”

“Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty cut everyone’s pay -- including his own -- on Friday, saying the state’s sixth-largest city is broke because the City Council blocked his proposed tax increase.”

You have to admire such a gutsy move, not necessarily the smartest move as he’s not only ignored a judges ruling; but he’s angered a bunch of civil servants who’ve become used to feeding off the public teat.  These folks have a binding contract with the City of Scranton which pretty much makes it impossible to cut their salaries.  Short of declaring bankruptcy it would appear there is nothing to do except pay them.

That said, shouldn’t these civil servants have offered to ease their demands during hard economic times?  Many of their neighbors are either under employed or out of work; after all, Scranton is a coal dependent city and one of the primary targets of the Obama administration’s efforts to kill off that industry.  It would be better for these civil servants to take a modest cut in pay, only temporarily, until the economy rights itself; say twenty percent off the top?

Would a voluntary across the board cut in pay help balance the budget?  Not having had a look at the books; …you could bet the mortgage on it.   In fact most of America is waiting with baited breath on such a turn around. 

If pubic servants would step back from their positions of guaranteed superior wages and recognize that the current economy will not support contracts which were entered into under a prosperous economy, toss in a bit of reason and flexibility just for fun; budgetary short falls could be avoided in many cases.  It beats the prospect of laying off workers with the least amount of seniority which only adds to the unemployment line.

Did I fall asleep dreaming; perhaps I was off in Fantasy Land waiting for gum drops to fall from the Gum Drop Tree.  I can see little cartoon outline figures doubled over in laughter at my suggestion; public employees taking a voluntary pay cut, “Whooo hooo hooo, Haaahaaahaaaa!”

I should probably hire somebody to start my car from now on; some union folks have ties to organized crime and can make folks disappear if you get my meaning.  These goons won’t take kindly to my suggestion since they’d have fewer dollars to skim off the top from members. 

If Harry were around today, how would he include Scranton’s budgetary woes in his tune?  He might point out an unsustainable payroll or perhaps union contracts which are legally binding; but any way you slice that banana the ending could be summed up to fit the previously mentioned quip.

“Yes, we have no more money…
No money in Scranton P.A…”

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

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