Potemkin Reform

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It is becoming increasingly difficult to buy into the notion that reform is really happening up on Beacon Hill. Transportation reform, which got off to an auspicious start with the original proposal from the Senate, has gotten quite watered down as it has progressed through that body and to the House.

In this case, Governor Patrick is right. Yep, let me write that again: Governor Patrick is right. The House and Senate transportation bills do not go far enough.

And on pension reform, I’m doubtful that we will get anything more than a tactical closing of the obvious loopholes without any real strategic thinking about the pension system’s flaws.

There is a Special Commission on Pension Reform meeting regularly. But few understand that the Commission expressly committed itself to being cost-neutral in its first meeting (i.e. there will be no savings). And the Globe’s Jeff Jacoby pointed out that 13 of the 15 members of the Commission are public employees or their representatives.

But don’t worry, the House has proposed to address this obvious flaw by……adding a new member, selected by the AFL-CIO.