Every once in a while, the government will do something that scares the bejeezus out of you. We're not talking about touching your junk or stealing your Happy Meal. We're talking about calmly and professionally adding up the numbers and candidly announcing that billions of dollars in payments will come due — and no one has any idea where the money will come from.
That, essentially, is what's about to happen regarding the city's unfunded retiree health care liability. Periodically, the city assesses how much it's on the hook for its workers' future health care costs and how much money it figures to have when those bills come due. The most current shortfall exceeds $4 billion. Within 10 days, the city controller's office tells us, we'll have new figures. No one is willing to bet how the numbers will look now — but here's a guess things have gotten worse. Much worse.