You just don't understand.
When I hear that in my personal life, it usually means that I'm in trouble — and would benefit from a few auditory adjustments. But when I hear that in my job as a journalist these days, I get the feeling that someone is trying to hide something.
<i>You don't understand. Everything is under control. Trust us.</i>
How many times have we heard assurances like that from those in positions of authority? Then came the day when we began to learn the truth about such things as derivatives, liar mortgage loans, bailouts, Libor corruption, unfunded liabilities, (fill in the blank). And it became clear that things weren't under control. Taxpayers were left holding the bag for risks they didn't even know they had assumed.
The latest kick-in-the-gut revelation came Friday when we learned that the state Parks Department had secretly set aside $54 million in surplus funds at a time communities were holding bake sales and fun runs to keep state parks like Annadel and and Sugar Loaf Ridge open. This came just days after learning that a high-ranking parks employee was the mastermind behind a secret vacation buyout program for himself and other employees, bilking the public to the tune of $271,000.
Pretty classy stuff. It's hard to know which ethical breach to howl about first.
Nonetheless, leaders in the public sector keep telling us to trust them, that we just don't understand.
You can hear it in the message sent last week from an executive of the California Public Employees' Retirement System. He was responding to our Wednesday editorial on the need to hold CalPERS accountable for its miserable performance in managing $233 billion in retirement assets.