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something has to be done

March 5, 2011

Marius’ reform turned out to be a recipe for civil conflict and, eventually, economic collapse. Roman soldiers began to look to individual generals, rather than the state, as their benefactors, and began to serve for financial reward rather than patriotic duty. Roman military leaders were forced to promise more and more public resources to maintain the loyalty of their troops, until one day there was no more money — by the 3rd century AD, the army cost more than tax receipts collected, an unmistakable sign that the end was near.

For decades, public-sector unions have used their influence to help elect their own bosses and demand lavish pension and health care benefits. The result is 44 states facing an estimated budgetary shortfall of $125 billion.

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