Just say NO to cities wanting bailout funds

Cities are the latest entities

approaching the Treasury Department with their hands out, hoping for a piece of the $3 trillion bailout debacle. Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Atlanta are the first cities to beg for money, but many more can't be far behind. They'd be fools to not ask!

The reason the cities are asking for help? They say their tax revenue is down and their pension plans are ailing from the stock market drop. And their point is what? Isn't everyone feeling the pinch these days?

In times like these, all units of government should be looking for ways to drastically cut costs. Sinking more money into them is not the right move. These cities are crying bloody murder, saying they'll have to lay off employees and raise taxes. They may have to lay off employees, but I've always said that governments are overstaffed anyway. And raise taxes? No, that's not the only option. Massive spending cuts are the way to go.

Experts say the cities have little chance of getting any bailout money, but I'm not so sure about that. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is committed to doing whatever he wants to do with the money our lawmakers handed over to him, so anything is possible at this point. Where does all the bailout spending end? Your guess is as good as mine, but I think it's safe to say that there's going to be lots and lots of spending before the end is in sight.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.