Farewell, My Lovely

How public pensions killed progressive California

(Page 4 of 4)

It’s a step in the right direction, but it is a token effort given the scale of the unfunded pension liability during the next 10 years. “The rollbacks only go for future employees,” Adachi points out. “We could have done that with Proposition B, and it might have passed. But it wouldn’t have solved the problem.” 

Nor is it clear that anybody outside the universe of executive-branch Democrats (who have more direct responsibility to maintain all the state’s fancy programs) realizes the problem is not solved. Schwarzenegger’s win on S.B. 400 has already allowed complacency to settle in. A spokesman for State Senate President Darrell Steinberg told me after the election that the heavy lifting had already been done by Schwarzenegger. “The S.B. 400 thing was passed as part of the budget,” he said. “The important thing now is to grow the economy, in particular to regenerate the stock market. The single best thing we can do to address pension and retirement problems would be to grow the stock market.” 

This attitude is shared by the unions themselves. “Most of the pension issues Governor-elect Brown and Whitman were talking about were implemented in the final budget,” says Ryan Sherman, a spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. “So I’m not sure what else they’re going to be looking at. It has been rolled back for everybody.”

This is the landscape the new governor of California is facing. Jerry Brown did not respond to repeated requests for an interview. His comments on the campaign trail indicate he has given serious thought to a public employee compensation crisis that threatens not just the prosperous California favored by free marketers but the technocratic, big-government California favored by progressives. His abysmal track record indicates something else. But Jerry Brown, for better and worse, is full of surprises. He could round out his storied career by becoming California’s Gorbachev. 

Tim Cavanaugh (tcavanaugh@reason.com) is a senior editor at reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tim||

    "sooner or later, all our games turn into Calvinball,"

  • Old Salt||

    It's all fun and games until someone gets sodomized on the front lawn!

  • Sleeping Dog||

    That's NOT how you play Calvinball!

  • Sodomy Hussein||

    Unless you live in San Francisco!

  • ||

    he has a sweeping vision: building 20,000 megawatts of renewable power, laying a new high-speed rail network that will connect the state’s major cities, forging a statewide infrastructure for alternative energy, hiring thousands of green employees

    Sounds exactly like another chief executive we have. That's hope and change for you.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    What is it with progressives and trains? And recycling. Stalin was big into recycling.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Sovereign Inmunity,

    Stalin was big into recycling.


    And canals. Don't forget those canals!

    http://gulaghistory.org/nps/on.....detail.jpg

  • Spiny Norman||

    There's no high-speed rail in Somalia. QED.

  • ||

    ...yet. I'll see your QED and raise you.

  • ||

    I think it's a control thing. When most folks have their own means of conveyance, they can go where they want to go when they want to go there; and that drives progressives crazy.

    With trains you go where the train goes, according to the schedule set by the oh-so-wise authorities. None of this freedom of movement stuff that ruins good progressive planning.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    EES, you can't have everyone going everywhere all willy-nilly, chaos will reign! Tyranny, for all it's faults, is very orderly.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    It's an environmental thing. Cars and planes run on oil. Trains run on electricity. All oil is fossil fuels, but not all electricity. Hence, you can run a greener train. There's no big mystery.

  • DLM||

    All oil is fossil fuels, but not all electricity.

    And how much electricity is generated with something other than fossil fuels to begin with?

  • Michael Kennedy||

    Electricity just comes out of that plug thingy in the wall. Sort of like filling the well with the hose in "Baby Boom." Don't confuse me with facts!

  • ||

    It's an environmental a control thing. Cars and planes run on oil cash. Trains run on electricity bonds...Hence, you can run a greener train bigger scam. There's no big mystery.

    FTFY

  • Shannon Love||

    It's an environmental thing.

    That seems reasonable but that is not true. The leftwing fascination of trains and its hatred of cars goes back to at least the 1920s.

    Partially, I think it has to do with cars being seen in Europe for most of the century as luxury items for the wealthy. Partially, it has to do with leftism in America being centered on dense urban cores.

    But mostly, I do think it is a control thing. In any given set of policy choice, Leftist always choose the one policy that most centralizes decision making and which provides the maximum amount of control over the lives of ordinary people.

  • Raven Nation||

    I've heard this "control thing" argument before & I'm sure there is a degree of validity to it. But I think the bigger emphasis is on the planning that you also note.

    Statists of any political stripe believe that the world can be planned so as to ensure everyone comes out a winner all the time. As Hayek argued, that's crap b/c there are too many variables. So, if you're a statist, and you can't plan b/c there are too many variables, you don't give up on planning you just eliminate some of the variables.

    I know I am largely restating your point, but I understood you to say: they plan so they can control. I would say it's the reverse.

  • Mike||

    Definitely agree with this.

    What's missing from the parody of liberals I see so often is that they *honestly* believe that if someone at the top just had a better plan and was allowed to implement it, everything would improve. Their perfect world is a benevolent dictatorship of altruistic experts, and while they would agree that this perfect world is unlikely, they think that striving in the direction of it is progress.

    Unfortunately, Hayek and history have proven that even altruistic top-down rule cannot deal with the intricacies of 300 million individual lives. Not to mention that self-interested or incompetent top-down rule is a much more likely scenario.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, Fredrick Heyak also believed that democracy was a scam and that only the "educated" should vote... Wanna try to add something to the convo. instead of dropping names of people u havent read?

  • Shannon Love||

    Pray tell, in which of his books did he say that?

  • ||

    Elites that promulgate policies that enhance social mobility enjoy a lower rate of expected survival fitness than those which promulgate policies which impede it.

    Those policies which perform the latter function while plausibly claiming to pursue the former are thus optimal, and so the elites have (likely unwittingly) created a statist decoy Left (sic) to do so.

    Corporatists sit on the university boards which hire our academic left (sic), after all.

    It started with Tory Democracy/Fabianism eclipsing the true liberal Left of Cobden. Marx, the first trustifarian, is the pure grain version of this phenomenon.

  • Paul||

    You know who else liked recycling?

  • Wind Rider||

    And even made the trains run - on time, no less?

  • cynical||

    His campaign didn't provide its supporters with customized apparel, did it?

    Cause you know who else's supporters worn Brown shirts...

  • ||

    UPS?

  • ||

    Yeah, trains are one of those things that get Leftists slobbering like Pavlov's dogs. IMO it's tied to the Left's euro-philia. They LOVE Europe; they see it as sort of a utopia that's opposed to everything they hate about the US. Ergo, if europe has trains, then the US MUST have trains. Like most things on the Left it's not a pragmatic issue for them; it's ideological...sort of like a religion.

  • jl5458||

    The reason tax and spend liberals love trains and green energy boondoggles is for only one reason....Unions...they have seen union membership decline in the private sector for years and are just making up for it in the public sector. Unions give liberals votes and a never ending supply of re-election money. Tax payers are stuck flipping the entire bill and the unions are always paid back for their support with more increases in benefits at taxpayer expense....kill the trains and privatize them...Why do ya think Obama just unionized all the TSA workers and is hiring more.

  • ||

    Getting you used to the trains makes it easier to get you on the cattle-car, when it's your turn.

  • ||

    LOL.

    You might as well invoke the Trail of Tears in a discussion of hiking.

  • dk||

    Gets the lower classes off the road.

  • ||

    Has anybody actually ridden in public transportation recently? Trains or buses?

    It's a disgusting experience. Typically liberal. "Public conveyance for thee, Lexus and limos for me."

    Public buses are filthy, have hard plastic seats and metal floors, unopenable windows, are noisy, smelly (mostly because certain, ah, passengers), slow, throw you around like you're inside a clothes dryer, have no room to store stuff you might be carrying in what would be the trunk of your car and don't allow for quick stops to buy stuff on the way home. Wanna do your grocery shopping and then get on a bus with ten bags of stuff? Hah.

    Buses slow down regular traffic because they have the right to stop arbitrarily and back up traffic. If I did that in my car, I'd get a ticket for obstruction. "Hey, buddy, you're in a No Stopping zone." Buses stop every two blocks. The smoothest traffic days in recent history were when the bus drivers went on strike. No buses: bliss. And don't even consider your car filling with diesel fumes if you get trapped behind one.

    Trains like the Blue and Green lines in Los Angeles are pure circuses.

    I rode the train into downtown to get to Staples center from LAX. It was a joke. At each of the many, many stops, some new freeloader came aboard who proceeded to walk down the aisle asking people for money. One guy brought his guitar and sang "This Little Light Of Mine" for money. Another guy boarded and asked the riders for "$37.50, because our president is black." You can't make this stuff up.

    This, while you're again sitting on a hard plastic bench with a metal floor in a noisy, smelly environment with graffiti scrawled on the walls, surrounded by advertisement posters.

    And everyone should experience waiting on a deserted platform in Compton for the connecting Blue Line to downtown.

    A friend who rides the train observed a person talking on his smart phone while holding it to his ear, oblivious to his surroundings. The train came to a stop and just before pulling out, another rider grabbed the person's phone right out of his hand and dashed off the train as it pulled away. The perfect crime. Keep that in mind if you plan to doze off listening to your iPod.

    To add insult to injury, these disgusting, miserable buses and trains are heavily subsidized by taxes, pushing an already-bankrupt Los Angeles further into the hole the Democrats have dug.

    Then you have the problem of how to get to the train in the first place (nearest metro station is eight miles from my home) and then to your place of work at the destination. Or go anywhere in mid-day without your car.

    In short, buses and trains suck more than Bwany Fwank.

    Next to electricity, the personal automobile is man's greatest invention. Both have allowed unprecedented personal liberty.

    It's interesting that progressives are at war with both.

  • ||

    Actually, I think the train was Arnolds baby. We call it the Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger Memorial Bullit Train.

    Not that Arnold was ever considered a conservative.

  • ||

    The one thing that California is not thinking about, is that if the Democrat's do not keep 2/3rd of the 3 branches, they are screwed.

    Once the Republican's do regain majority in the Senate or the Executive branch, you know all those grants will be gone along with the fly by night "renewable" energy bs.

  • ||

    So Jerry is going to "nationalize" privately owned energy companies like Pacific Gas & Electric?

    Where could he have gotten such a wacky notion?

  • ||

    From the charter of the City of San Francisco, for one. It enshrines takeover of all utilities as a city goal.

  • ||

    What is it with progressives and trains?

    Once they have the trains, they're going to need some tunnels....

  • Realist||

    "What is it with progressives and trains?"
    They never get hit by them.

  • ||

    It doesn't count when two highspeed rail cars collide?

  • jl5458||

    Unions...more work for them and more money to Dumbocrats for elections and the tax payer pays for it all.

  • Realist||

    "How public pensions killed progressive California."
    Along with all the other stupid ideas of Progressives.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Meanwhile, over at the HuffPo, they are having a conniption fit over Scott Walker's approach to handling his state budget woes.

  • ||

    "But union leaders, and even some Republicans, were taken aback at the scope of his proposal."

    You can't make comedy like that up.

  • Realist||

    Governor Moon Beam will save us!

  • Old Mexican||

    As 72-year-old Jerry Brown enters his second governorship, he has an agenda to match that power, with visions even greater than those that haunted his two-term administration of the 1970s and '80s[...]


    Yes, well - autocrats usually have grandiose plans in their pockets to leave a lasting legacy to their own greatness, like Khufu, Lenin, FDR or Saddam Hussein...

  • ||

    Jerry's a bit more like Colleridge's Kubla Khan.

  • ||

    ... and higher employment than say, now, after two terms of a republican... How much debt was racked up while the bridge in my city sat vacant while who were willing to work (and pay taxes) were sitting waiting for the federal govt. to bail ur boy arnold out.

  • sevo||

    "How much debt was racked up while the bridge in my city sat vacant while who were willing to work (and pay taxes) were sitting waiting for the federal govt. to bail ur boy arnold out."

    Poor, poor, pm!
    Bull.......................
    shit.
    If enough people were willing ot pay taxes to support the project, there wouldn't have to *be* taxes, bozo.
    What you mean is that your fave gov't couldn't force enough people to make you happy.
    Good.

  • Old Mexican||

    [T]he Democratic stronghold of San Jose.


    That actually shows, as San Jose has some of the worst freeway exits I have ever had the 'pleasure' of driving on. Just getting into Hwy 17 from 85 was a pants-shitting experience, especially at night!

  • sevo||

    "That actually shows, as San Jose has some of the worst freeway exits I have ever had the 'pleasure' of driving on."

    And to make it worse, there are 'diamond lane' exits, so every interchange can have two exits North or East and two exits South or West. What fun!

  • DanD||

    I just came back from a business trip to San Jose, and it was one of the most sterile, boring, poorly laid-out places I've ever visited.

  • DK||

    You should try San Francisco. What a shit hole!

  • ||

    Yes, San Francisco is most definitely not a sterile place. If that's what you were trying to say.

  • DK||

    Sterile - definitely not. Boring and poorly laid out - certainly. I lived in SF and never understood why its locals considered it to be a great city in the same league as New York or Chicago. Best description I ever heard was "Denver by the Bay".

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Best description I ever heard was "Denver by the Bay".

    Considering all the Californians that have migrated to Denver in the last 25+ years, that's an apt description.

  • ||

    As I sit here typing this from my window overlooking downtown San Jose, gotta say I can't disagree.

  • Random Dude||

    I have had the exact same experience. It's like one big mall, no?

  • Paul||

    So you guys do know the way to San Jose.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Paul,

    So you guys do know the way to San Jose.


    Yes, up Highway 17 from Santa Cruz, another druggie shithole (but full of pretty female students - yum!)

  • Paul||

    another druggie shithole (but full of pretty female students - yum!)

    Meth keeps the weight off!

  • DK||

    Or down I-880 from Berkeley, another druggie shithole (the pretty female students are sorely lacking).

  • DK||

    Or down I-880 from Berkeley, another druggie shithole (the pretty female students are sorely lacking).

  • ||

    You can say that again! Sheet, my wife went to Cal and I always tell her that (other than her) the "women" at Cal are mostly of the unattractive variety. But hey, if you like your women with hair under their arms and on their legs, it's El Dorado!

  • Hooha||

    Or down the 680 from Walnut Creek/Concord. Which actually aren't so bad. Don't wind up in in Pittsburgh, though; East Bays 'Little Oakland'.

  • ||

    Lightweight. San Jose freeways are a cakewalk compared to Los Angeles freeways. And Los Angeles freeways are nothing compared to Denver's insane freeway system.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    And Los Angeles freeways are nothing compared to Denver's insane freeway system.

    Yeah, there's nothing quite as road-rage inducing as driving on I-270. I can just imagine what the highway planners were thinking when they were drawing it out:

    "Hey! Let's make short merge lanes on a four-lane bridge highway in the middle of an industrial area that sees a ton of semitrailer traffic! That'll REALLY speed things along!"

  • ||

    LA locals don't use the freeways. The traffic's too slow.

  • Hooha||

    A lifelong resident of the east bay, I can honestly say (having driven both plenty) that while overall the LA system makes San Jose look like the 5 between sacramento and the grape vine, San Jose's interchanges are the most potentially deadly I've ever seen, anywhere, by a wide margin.

    Merge lanes that are about as long as the overpass is wide, that are both fed by, and lead into, a clover-leaf with a 40 foot radius, at 75 MPH... I thought 'pants-shitting' was an apt adjective.

  • Never Drive in LA||

    At least they don't shot at you like LA

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    hiring thousands of green employees

    I thought the goal was a colorblind society free of discrimination...

  • QuietDesperation||

    It's not easy being gree-

    INTERNET POLICE: PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD!

    Too cliche?

    INTERNET POLICE: AFFIRMATIVE

    But, yeah, well, OK...

  • ||

    Unless you swear to remain Green you can be part of the "perfect society" that the all knowing progressive has in mind.....for today any way....

  • Jersey Patriot||

    HULK LOBBY FOR PROGRESSIVE REFORM

  • ||

    HULK RUN FOR GOVERNOR. IMPLEMENT REFORMS. HULK SMASH PRIVATE SECTOR!!!

  • QuietDesperation||

    "How did this happen?"

    Idiots voted sociopaths into office.

  • Irub||

    Make it socialists... yet again, there is not much of the difference.

  • QuietDesperation||

    I hate Socialists, but even I would not insult them by a comparison to the miseryshits we have here in California.

    The cretins in Sacramento are in it for themselves, to soak the system as much as they can before it collapses. They may talk progressive or socialist, but at the end of the day they don't give a damn about any of that.

  • Chicago Politicians||

    Bunch of Johnny-come-latelys, you ask us.

  • ||

    Socialipaths?

  • Bob||

    Hey now you might offend real sociopaths with talk like that.

  • ||

    U cant offend sociopaths... thats what makes them so. Stop using workd u dont understand.

  • Shannon Love||

    You most definitely can offend sociopaths. Sociopaths merely lack empathy i.e. the mirroring of the emotional states of others. That is why they can hurt other people so casually, they feel no empathic pain themselves when they do so.

    Sociopaths are driven by desires just like anyone else. That includes the desire for status and reputation. The will react when offended and may do so more harshly because they have no empathy to restrain them.

  • ||

    Firefighters are the most coddled public employees in the system. A good idea for privatization.

  • ||

    txgord - you are so right. After 9/11 every fireman was a hero, what a freaking joke. Lazy bastards don't do shit for their pay.

  • ||

    txgord - you are so right. After 9/11 every fireman was a hero, what a freaking joke. Lazy bastards don't do shit for their pay.

  • Shannon Love||

    I don't think it's a matter of firefighters being lazy, I think it's a matter of firefighters getting paid based on emotion instead of the cost of getting a qualified person to do the job.

    Firefighters get paid based on laurels and not economics.

  • ||

    When the firefighter training programs at local junior college are routinely oversubscribed - as they were even before 9/11 - that suggests there's plenty of downward room for firefighter's wages to reach their market-clearing level.

  • ||

    So you can pay the fire department to put your house out while your wallet is inside burning... Brilliant idea!!

  • Trainwreck Spectator||

    Marcia Fritz, the head of the reform group, begins our conversation by saying how pleased she is at the Democrats’ statewide sweep in the elections.

    So am I... so am I...

  • Paul||

    Who knew the answer was so simple for California: Grow the stock market... "we" need to grow the stock market!!!

    You know, shazam! I just realized that's the answer to my retirement problems. I need to grow the stock market.

  • ||

    Well, no, but he's actually right. Just boot up some healthy 15% inflation -- as the Fed is busily trying to do with QE2 -- and the value of CalPERS portfolio will zoom up, and they'll easily be able to write checks for all those pensions, even as bracket creep rogers the taxpayers blue for still more sweet positive cash flow. Problem solved!

    Of course, those pensions won't be worth shit, but them's the breaks. Should've negotiated COLAs into them, ha ha ha...urp...Jesus, what if they did?

  • ||

    Just boot up some healthy 15% inflation...

    and watch the stock market get crushed. Businesses aren't immune to being wrecked by inflation and inflation's underlying causes. An inflationary economy generally sinks stocks over time. (You weren't around in the 1970s, were you?)

  • DLM||

    Grow the stock market...

    Well, they certainly have enough fertilizer for it.

  • Brennan||

    Dear Jerry Brown: You're embarassing yourself you geriatric fuck! You keep your liver-spotted hands off of my beautiful state!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    About 35 years too late.

  • ||

    See what happens kids when you completely buy into the Democrat/liberal/progressive line of bullshit? It isn't pretty, is it? I guess we'll all get to watch California implode now. Better build your protective bunkers so any collateral blast doesn't kill the innocent.

  • ||

    There are no innocents left. Everybody out here knew just what was gonna happen- it's just that they thought it would never happen to THEM...

  • DK||

    Is California really that different from the rest of the country? The rest of the country has also bought into the Democrat/liberal/progressive line of bullshit with all kinds of social welfare programs. Californians did nothing to keep the state from imploding under the weight of its financial obligations. Are people in the U.S. as a whole doing anything? For instance, tackling the Social Security and Medicare crises before they erupt? No. And when these implode, it's not just the people of a single state who get fucked - it's a whole nation.

  • ||

    Yeah, the rest of the country is like that suicide with the gun pointed to her head sniggering, "Ha ha on you, California. After me, you're next."

  • ||

    This is irony for you:

    In NM I live across the street from a retired Orange county employee. His pension is $108k/yr and he lives in a $1.6+ mil house.

    He receives his pension from CA tax payers and pays the MUCH lower income and property taxes to NM.

    That's funny (if you aren't working and paying taxes in CA).

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You know what, you've just highlighted one of the most significant reasons why these benfits are unsustainable--once these leeches retire, they leave the state for lower-cost climes so they can live high on the hog the rest of their lives (and infect these smaller-scale areas with their fucked-up dysfunctional political views).

    Now, I'm not suggesting that they should be forced to stay in state to receive their pension--freedom of association and all that. But from a fiscal standpoint, every time one of these employees abandons the state or municipality they retired from, it puts an even GREATER burden on the remaining taxpayers because they don't even get the "kiss from your sister" deal of having those retirees spend money back into the places that employed them for so long.

    A system like that is guaranteed to implode eventually.

  • Shannon Love||

    I have read that that is a serious effect in the Northeast where a lot of retirees decamp to Florida. People in the Northeast pay higher taxes for less service just to send money down South.

    Ooops.

  • ||

    All I can say is that the majority of the people of CA have continued to vote into power extreme left wing Elites, who have contempt for working people, and have engaged in a corrupt deal with public employee unions and every crazy left wing cause in the world to bankrupt the richest state in the nation. I thought their situation was so terrible that they would wake up in the last election, but they reelected Sen Boxer, Gov Brown, and every other left wing Democrats who had helped create the disaster, by large margins. So not a penny from the federal government and other states. Since its unlikely they will cut the corrupt gravy train spending they can just raise taxes in the state to pay for the cushy salaries, pensions, and special causes. That's what a majority of the people voted for! For those who did vote for sanity, who work for a living or own a business, ll you can do is get out! There are states out there where working people and business owners aren't looked upon as sheep to be sheared by the crazies. Leave the rich Elites and the moochers to feed off of each other and get out!

  • ||

    As a community college student living in Orange County, you have no idea how hard it is to debate your political science professor on this issue. No matter how many times I brought up how untenable the state's bloated pension plan was, I'd get shot down with the whole, "let's tax the rich and close corporate loophole" solution.

    The point being when so many people in power and influence are hooked up to this tax-payer funded gravy train, no reform is going to happen. Arnie took on the teacher and nurses unions and lost. Now we have Moonbeam back and all hope is out the window.

  • Brian Defferding||

    Scott Walker, my state's new Governor, is heading to strip collective bargaining rights from government workers; and everybody is hating him for it.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    So is our Governor, Kasich, and I for one am loving him for it.

  • ||

    I can't wait to see what the flaming liberals of CA going to do once the public sector unions suck away so much of the budget that they won't have any money left for their social programs.

    All the poor folks will be put out in the streets to fend for themselves so that John Q. Publicsector can retire at age 50 with his $100K/year + full benefits.

    If Obama even thinks about bailing them out, there will be riots in the streets all over the country complete with torches, looting, and burnings in effigy.

  • DK||

    You really think there will be riots in the event of a CA bailout? Why? Where were these riots in the wake of AIG, GM, Fannie and Freddie, etc? The sore truth is that the American people have bought so far into this notion that governments can do good that I think we'll more likely see cheers about a decision to bailout CA. After all, these decisions were made by a benevolent government for the betterment of our comrades...

  • Shannon Love||

    Fannie and Freddie are de facto parts of the Federal government. Most people recognized that at least the first wave of financial sector bailouts were emergency firefighting. The most knowledgeble understand that the bailouts were large a matter of preventing the governments massive intervention in the real estate market from bringing the entire banking system down.

    On the other hand, California's woe are wholly self-inflicted especially after the Governator's reforms got shot down by the voters themselves.

    Moreover, California and other states now stand at the last in line for bailout money. Even if the states has a good case for bailouts, the people have bailout fatigue. They won't help out anyone else. I sure as hell know Texan's won't.

  • ||

    Kalifornia businesses and workers are voting with their feet.

  • Greg||

    In the rest of the country, who cares about California's problems? They are self inflicted and Californians are too dumb or ignorant to undo the mess they created. However, we will care if they try to have the rest of us pay their bills. Hell will break loose.

  • DK||

    Again, the same thing could be said about Americans in general. Americans voted in the dipshits who created entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare which are spiraling massively out of control. Americans are too dumb or ignorant to undo the mess they've created.

  • ||

    I take it you slept through the elections last November?

  • ||

    Yeah, I mean, it's not like the Tea Party committed to "getting government's hands off our Medicare benefits" and "keeping Social Security's promises" or anything.

    Oops, they actually did. Shit.

  • ||

    I've visited California a few times. It's a beautiful, magnificent state that has been destroyed by liberal cockroaches.

  • ||

    In order to generate 20K mw they'd have to cover the state with solar cells and wind tur

  • ||

    Alas....do what I did....move! The ship is sinking and they're buyng more deck chairs.

  • Random Dude||

    Yeah, I hear ya.

    I got out about a year ago after the government decided that saving a one-and-a-half inch fish was worth inflicting severe pain and misery on millions of people. That--as well as the arbitrary and constant set of fee increases, "discovery" of old unenforced tax laws, and just the general psychopathy of the place and how everything is supposed to be fixed by government.

    I can't believe how bad the progression has been over the last 15 years. It's sad.

  • ||

    I wonder how long it will take them to get to the point where they need to build a wall around the state to keep the productive taxpayers in?

  • ||

    dumb, perhaps it would be better if corporations bought and controlled the gov't and the agenda for cal, not.

  • ||

    Now that 10% of our citizens control 90% of all assets, with about the same skew for annual income, it doesn't suprise me that we who are left fighting over the crumbs tear each other limb from limb.

    Rand, Hayek, or the philosopher du jour can't paper over the failure of efficient market hypothesis, capitalism will always trend toward capital formation, and those who deny it need to explain to their children why there is less than one piece of pie left for everybody to share.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Leviathan gov't has made the efficient market extinct.

  • Random Dude||

    Hayek didn't support a central bank or the conspiracy in plain sight known as "monetary policy" either.

    Since we have actively deluded the citizenry into believing that inflation in because of economic growth instead of wealth transfer from savers to debtors (who are the richest members of society because of how our perverse currency works)--yes--we have a freaking huge inequality problem.

    You can't gripe about "efficient market hypothesis" when the central bank has pumped in $4 trillion into the banking system in the last 2.5 years. This is enough to create $40 trillion in currency through normal banking channels and far more equivalent credit through the more-leveraged investment banking system.

    Economic growth in a free market creates more goods per unit of currency. This creates one of the two forms of deflation. (The other form is debt destruction and bankruptcy which itself can be caused by inflation -> margin collapse of companies whose input prices rise too much.)

    So, even if the CPI was 0% and we had fractional reserve lending, the rich would still be stealing from the poor.

    Get rid of fractional reserve lending, insane central bankers who think they can control the economy with a single decimal number known as the interest rate, and then we'll talk about inequality.

  • ||

    There was no free market. There hasn't been for a century.

    Systemic fiat inflation is not a free market.

    For your fantasy to be valid you need to explain why the larger government has become the greater the income disparity has become.

    You can also observe a clear correlation between government spending and unemployment.

    Both of these are easily explicable to anyone who understands economics. But cannot be explained by Keynesians or progressives.

  • Random Dude||

    "For your fantasy to be valid you need to explain why the larger government has become the greater the income disparity has become."

    This isn't technically true depending on what distribution you're benchmarking it against. (You're still right though).

    For instance, a deviation in terms of increasing absolute amounts of wealth being placed in the hands of fewer people can be explained by the Pareto principle because power-laws arise naturally in hierarchical and complex systems.

    But benchmarked against a static power law distribution, things look much worse.

    We are skewing further from the historical distribution, even on power-law adjusted terms. This means that basically the coefficient of the distribution (which should be theoretically constant given no changes in policy) is changing. Unfortunately it is biased upwards.

    You have identified the cause for this bias in increased government activity in the system. Our entire governmental, monetary, and credit system is a hierarchy of counterfeiters and thieves. Proximity to the core of the system is key in wealth formation. This is a key feature of fascism.

  • Randy||

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    Ever.

    No matter how hard you "observe" it.

  • Shannon Love||

    Rand, Hayek, or the philosopher du jour can't paper over the failure of efficient market hypothesis

    It would help your argument if you showed any signs of understanding what the "efficient market hypothesis" actually was. Google it. It has nothing to do with Rand or Hayek or any other free-market advocate. Instead it is a technical description of how formal markets e.g. stock, commodities, process information that enters them.

    Mistaking the efficient market theory for a general statement about free-markets is a clear sign of an economic neophyte.

  • ||

    That you are not capable of earning more money is your problem not society's

  • ||

    Great summary of California's problems. Obama wants to implement what California is doing (and then some) nationwide. And yet, several members of the staff at Reason voted for Obama and recently stated they have no regrets about that. Go figure. Time to put down the hash pipes over here.

  • ||

    Is it true that several people at reason voted for Obama? If confirmed they are off my favorites list.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Geez, this again. Most of them were voting against the Republican incumbency, or didn't even actually vote. Obama just happened to be the not-Republican.

  • ||

    Wow, that's brilliant. Good thing the Democrats didn't nominate Pol Pot or a sack of dirt, then.

  • ||

    Maybe they should have nominated a shit sandwich.

  • ||

    Maybe they did.

  • Hooha||

    Someone really aught to link that article again. I remember personally losing a lot of respect for Cavanaugh because his vote was racially motivated.

  • ||

    The beauty of the federal system originally devised by the founders is that individual states could experiment in all kinds of ways, no matter how unwise and self-destructive, and the rest of the country would be relatively immune. Eventually the reckless state(s) would realize the error of their ways and correct things.

    But with Barack Obama the "progressive" cancer already infecting California, New York, Illinois, Michigan and a number of other once great states is metastasized on the Federal level. If the federal government can boost spending as Obama has over 2 years and then "freeze" it in at that level, taking over health care in the process, there will be no going back. The American experiment in self-government will end as those in the past in Athens and Rome, with autocrats ruling by decree and repression. As in those earlier cases, freedom was destroyed not by invading armies of barbarians, but by debasing the currency from within, and with a large measure of popular support for the tyrant or emperor.

    The motto that whither goest California so goest the nation, is more and more to be thought of as a warning and a threat to America herself.

  • DK||

    Let's stop blaming Obama for everything. He's just another statist fuck in a long line of statist fucks. He certainly didn't create the true crises facing the nation (Social Security and Medicare) and it was a long line of Democratic and Republican lawmakers who contributed to the problem. Can we just stop with the mentality that Obama is the worst thing to happen to this country and that Democrats are to blame for everything? All politicians are the problem.

  • ||

    Never said Obama was all to blame. He's just an incompentant freshman Senator that America, wrongly, promoted to President.
    I've always said it was the Obama-Reid-Pelosi teams in tandum with "the worst Congress in history" that CREATED this mess.
    You see, GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM NOT THE SOLUTION. Our Founders knew that and did everything they could to protect us from ourselves.

  • Randy||

    I'd love to hear how Obama-Reid-Pelosi caused the housing bubble to burst, forcing us into a horrible economic recession?

  • Shannon Love||

    It's not the bubble bursting that caused the problem but the formation of the bubble in the first place. Once you have a big bubble, you are screwed, it's just a question of when.

    The bubble was formed by the massive intervention of the federal government in the residential housing market with the explicit goal of reducing the risk of making ever increasingly risky loans to wider segment of the population. That process began over 30 years ago and built up until the government was influencing the issuing of 60%+ of all residential mortgages.

    Ironically, it was the Republicans, most notable Bush who twice tried to reign in Frannie and Freddie and it was the Democrats, most notably Dodd and Frank, who block any of the reforms that might have deflated the bubble and mitigated the inevitable bust.

    More generally, it was the idea that the government can get people something for nothing that caused the problem. The Democrats were more to blame for that than the Republicans, albeit not by much.

  • ||

    Absolutely. I mean, it's not like TARP and QE I were started under Bush or anything...

  • ||

    So the democratic solution is to quadruple down on stupid. Is that what you are saying?

  • ||

    America needs a goat, and communists make great goats. Dude, where's your birth certificate? The Teleprompter reader promised that the waters would recede. He is The One we have been waiting for, according to himself. So why is he holding out on us? Are the miracles dependent on his re-election?

  • ||

    We elected them.

    Have you seen the polls on what people believe regarding spending/limited government?

    It's ugly.

  • ||

    Yeah, Obama really utterly destroyed the eight years of plummeting government spending and employment that the Republicans delivered.

  • ||

    PS 16 February 2011

    I would vote for this guy . . .

    This was in the Waco Tribune Herald, Waco , TX 18Nov2010 --
    Put me in charge ...
    Put me in charge of food stamps. I'd get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho's, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese, and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza ..... get a job.

    Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I'd do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then we'll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and piercings. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get tats and piercings .... get a job.

    Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your "home" will be subject to inspections anytime, and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360 .... get a job and your own place.

    In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a "government" job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the "common good."

    Before you write that I've violated someone's rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary.. If you want our money, accept our rules.. Before you say this would be "demeaning" and ruin their "self esteem," consider that it wasn't that long ago when taking someone else's money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

    If we are expected to pay for other people's mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.
    Alfred W. Evans, Gatesville , Texas

    From: Tom Johnson, Largo, FL

  • ||

    Alfred W. Evans for Governor of Califronia

  • ||

    Exactly right. "Prison" should not be "fun" with televisions, cigarettes, leisure time, etc. They should be producing their own food, cleaning their own barracks, etc. "Prison" should cost the public minimal tax dollars.
    Conversely, the "poor" who choose to stay "poor" should be made "uncomfortable" enough to want to get a job and work for a living. "Workfare" was a great idea that liberals like the ACLU never let get started.
    Consequently, this all starts with Tort Reform - too many lawyers turned politicians.

  • ||

    Yeah, those bastards at the ACLU, so central to welfare policy in America.

    I so love "conservatives" and their ability to excuse all their own big government initiatives and skyrocketing spending, while blaming the core problems of government insolvency on poor people, gays, and Mexican immigrants. :)

  • sevo||

    Brian Miller|2.19.11 @ 11:10AM|#
    "Yeah, those bastards at the ACLU, so central to welfare policy in America.
    I so love "conservatives" and their ability to excuse all their own big government initiatives and skyrocketing spending,..."

    Gee, Brian, you're just full of strawmen.
    And shit.

  • Randy||

    I'm confused. Why do tattoos and piercings require you to get a job in order to get Medicaid? Are they somehow considered unhealthy to conservatives?

  • Shannon Love||

    Well, two things:

    (1) They are symbols of party culture. People get tats and piercings to symbolize their rejection productive, hardworking middle-class culture in favor of a culture of immediate self-gratification. Not always true but close enought.

    (2) They cost money and they are not a necessity. If you want a luxury item you should pay for it with your own funds.

  • ||

    They are symbols of party culture

    I love conservative statism. It's truly hilarious.

    Hey, why not also ban those leeching welfare people from wasting time with "religion" and "church?" It adds nothing to society, and is both a waste of time and a "symbol of a lack of critical thinking culture," which "hurts society."

  • sevo||

    Brian Miller|2.19.11 @ 11:11AM|#
    "They are symbols of party culture
    I love conservative statism. It's truly hilarious."

    And you're an asshole.

  • Shannon Love||

    Well, two things:

    (1) They are symbols of party culture. People get tats and piercings to symbolize their rejection productive, hardworking middle-class culture in favor of a culture of immediate self-gratification. Not always true but close enought.

    (2) They cost money and they are not a necessity. If you want a luxury item you should pay for it with your own funds.

  • ||

    What a silly comment - there are some good ideas, but at the same time, it seems more geared towards punishing people who need assistance than what really minimizes spending.

    Among the various things that are wrong with this comment, he doesn't seem to know that Norplant is no longer marketed in the U.S.

  • ||

    I see cowardice in those who would attack the poor at this time. Be a man, go after those with the money.

  • ||

    Yeah- the public-sector unions.

  • ||

    If you are not physically or mentally handicapped, raised in this country and are poor at age 40 then you are a first class screw up and deserve your poverty.

  • ||

    I don't think Whitman's plan "exempted" public safety. She did say they would continue to get defined benefit retirements (Brown didn't call for the end of defined benefits for any classification) but would have to be willing to change the terms of those retirements with later retirement ages, increased contributions, lower payout rates, etc.

    Whitman's plan would have at least gotten (most) new hires into defined contribution plans and started the process of giving the state predictable liabilities.

  • ||

    lol @ mike,

    your retarded assertions about the causes of wealth concentration and the efficient market hypothesis get demolished right after you make them, but your rebuttal?

    is to pick out a random comment and say "don't pick on poor people"

    nice try, dude. just vomit up some more half-baked nonsense and plug your ears when you are set straight.

  • ||

    as a resident of ca, this does make me sad.

    i have carved out a nice niche to live in san diego, but i don't wanna raise kids in a fucking Detroit the size of japan

  • ||

    Tick, tick, tick . . .

  • ||

    Well triclops, we can argue stiglitz and friedman all day, neither side's thesis being "retarded", and both with a wealth of insight, but I'd prefer not to rehash lessons we learned 100 years ago, and just relearned (at least some of us).

    I'm not speaking here to the 10% with all the assets and income, your arguement is irrelevent. I'm speaking to the rest of us, who tear each other down fighting over the last 10%.

    Why do I want to fight my neighbors over 10%?

    Just doesn't make sense to me, maybe one of you nonretarded types can explain why we would build the best economic system on earth, then give all the benefits of that system to only 10% of the people under the guise that they somehow earned it.

    Lets see them go "earn" that in Burma.

  • sevo||

    "I'm not speaking here to the 10% with all the assets and income, your arguement is irrelevent. I'm speaking to the rest of us, who tear each other down fighting over the last 10%."

    Bull..............
    shit.

  • mascmen7||

    So sad to see the demise of beautiful California murdered by government unions greed and pensions along with Democrat politicians who are unwilling to save California. Russia is building a railroad to Los Angeles which has reached Yakutsk. by 2012 the rails will have reached Magadan and by 2015 the rail line electrified will have reached Uelen across from Wales, Alaska. US and Canada have given Russia permission to drill a tunnel of 68 miles utilizing Big and Little Diomede islands to make the tunnel in two 40 KM and one 25 KM segments. Russian Governor has purchased a huge drill. Line will continue to Fairbanks and into the connect to the Candaian rail system. In future you will be able to travel by rail from London to Buenos Aires, Argentina or Miami, Florida.

  • Shannon Love||

    In future you will be able to travel by rail from London to Buenos Aires, Argentina or Miami, Florida.

    No, you will be able to ship freight from London to Buenos Aires.

    Nobody will spend a week or more traveling by rail when they can get there in a few hours by plane.

  • ||

    I collect a PERS pension, and I am very happy to be part of destroying the People's Republic of KKKaleeifuorneeeya. I have no doubt that eventually the communists will renege on their pension promises, because Democrats lie about everything.

  • Parker||

    The whole thing is a Ponzi scheme which is coming unglued - after all the Baby Boomers are retired.

    Suckers!

  • ||

    Fix the problem -- send the baby boomers to "live on the farm" when they retire.

    The Logan's Run/Soylent Green solution.

  • ||

    Everyone remember that 99% of ALL pension funds in the U.S. were well funded prior to Wall St stealing and vaporizing over two trillion dollars. As of 2/1/2011 most pension funds have regained all funds lost since 2007. Actuary science keeps the losses on the books until smoothed and amortized. In 2013 or 2015 the smoothed losses will mostly disappear and pension costs will drop considerably. The amortized costs are system dependent. This is the same smoothing that allowed many plan sponsors to not pay into the system for years. Over thirty years every pension is cheaper than social security but pays out better. The problem here is Wall St theft and plan sponsor under funding.

  • Shannon Love||

    Everyone remember that 99% of ALL pension funds in the U.S. were well funded prior to Wall St stealing and vaporizing over two trillion dollars.

    No, they weren't. There was a brief period in the late 90s with the dot com boom when the stock market produced very high returns. As soon as the stock market returned to historical norms, the pensions funds became unfunded.

    Read the parent article. The pension payouts are based on unreasonable high assumptions for stock market returns. People have been warning about that for over a decade.

  • ||

    You do know that Wall Street is almost all democrat.

  • ||

    Remember tax payers, you work for us.

  • wulfy||

    Love the chaos in Wisconsin - if enough states bust their public unions, we will have a mass exodus from Califuckville.

  • ||

    California politicians have destroyed California. They don't need any helpers except from the California voters.

  • ||

    California State miscellaneous employees salaries and benefits are nothing compared to all the other costs out of the State fund.

  • Shannon Love||

    I've got to say, the worst thing about California is that you get a real sense that the people in and dependent on government view the working people of the state as serfs instead of masters. In short, the people of California now work for the government and not the other way around.

  • ||

    Yep. When I left California, I received a tax bill for the year before I'd moved to California. I'd been working in the UK, but California was convinced they were "entitled" to that cash because there was no way I could have moved to California early in the year.

    The government employee on the phone had access to all of my tax returns for the past eight years and commented on "how much money" I make and "how I have to pay my fair share." He demanded that I "prove I didn't live in California" the year I didn't live in California (and had attached a statement from a UK accountant to my tax return outlining the actual place and amount of money I made -- as well as noting it was British currency).

    I told him that last time I checked, I wasn't required under US law to "prove a negative" and that if they wanted to take me to court, they were welcome to.

    Last call I got from them.

    And the last time I'll EVER live in that gawdawful leeching state.

  • ||

    What is killing California is total refusal to budge on both sides of the aisle, refusal to cut social programs, bullet trains, stem cell research, illegal immigration, pork barrel politics, green jobs, carbon cap and trade and a crooked legislature, administration and courts.

  • ||

    Please don't smear all union members with the same brush. As a unionized faculty member at Cal State, I have been paying 4.7% of my income into CalPERS (the state retirement system) for well over two decades. The University of California has a separate retirement system and the UC has not paid into it for over two decades to save money! Now they complain they are short of money, but they have only themselves to blame.

    We are not allowed to "spike" our pensions in our last year, as some cities do in this state. My pension is based on the highest 12 months of regular salary -- no summer school, no overtime, no extras.

    Last year, my union (and many others) agreed to furloughs of 2 days a month, amounting to a 9.2% pay cut. We agreed to those to avoid having to lay off even more faculty colleagues than we did anyway. We have not had a raise of any kind in several years. And the state has just adopted much stricter pension rules for new hires.

    We have already contributed a great deal to help. Try looking to other issues for the budget problems. E.g., why don't we have an oil extraction fee, as they have in Alaska and Texas? That revenue alone would pay for the higher ed shortfalls and much more.

    Unions here have been working with the previous governor to deal with shortfalls and avoid more lay-offs of our colleagues. Trying to take away collective bargaining, as they are trying to do in Wisconsin and Ohio, does nothing to solve the budget problems.

  • ||

    "I have been paying 4.7% of my income into CalPERS (the state retirement system) for well over two decades."

    Mathematically, this is probably way too low to cover retirement costs. My understanding that for retirement funding is that the employee and employer's contributions should combine to total 12 to 18% of income (be it pension or 401K).

  • ||

    Please don't smear all union members with the same brush. As a unionized faculty member at Cal State, I have been paying 4.7% of my income into CalPERS (the state retirement system) for well over two decades. The University of California has a separate retirement system and the UC has not paid into it for over two decades to save money! Now they complain they are short of money, but they have only themselves to blame.

    We are not allowed to "spike" our pensions in our last year, as some cities do in this state. My pension is based on the highest 12 months of regular salary -- no summer school, no overtime, no extras.

    Last year, my union (and many others) agreed to furloughs of 2 days a month, amounting to a 9.2% pay cut. We agreed to those to avoid having to lay off even more faculty colleagues than we did anyway. We have not had a raise of any kind in several years. And the state has just adopted much stricter pension rules for new hires.

    We have already contributed a great deal to help. Try looking to other issues for the budget problems. E.g., why don't we have an oil extraction fee, as they have in Alaska and Texas? That revenue alone would pay for the higher ed shortfalls and much more.

    Unions here have been working with the previous governor to deal with shortfalls and avoid more lay-offs of our colleagues. Trying to take away collective bargaining, as they are trying to do in Wisconsin and Ohio, does nothing to solve the budget problems.

  • ||

    Lets put this in prospective. Your 4.7% is going to yield more monthly income then the 6.2% I was forced to "contribute" into Social Security for 40 to 50 years.

  • sevo||

    "Last year, my union (and many others) agreed to furloughs of 2 days a month, amounting to a 9.2% pay cut."

    I hope you don't teach math.

  • Roger Zimmerman||

    I think the denominator is ~22 (working) days/month. So, he's right.

  • ||

    You're going to be fortunate to have a job in the next two years. Greedy bastards in the public employees unions have been hoist on their own petard...or something like that.

    Who do you think pays your salary, benefits and pension? Taxpayers in the private sector, and your union and other public unions have sucked them dry. There is no more money!

  • ||

    The citizens of California who work for private industry are weeping with empathy for your "plight". Your thinking and attitude is exactly why you and the State of Commifornia is BANKRUPT.

  • ||

    Pimping class warfare, are we? While I agree that certain benefits are excessive, particularly those negotiated for fire fighters and police workers, for the most parts California's pension structure was intact until it was gutted by Wall Street. Direct your concern towards those that have taken America's financial system off the rails. Perhaps a few words of ire towards the military indutrial complex that sucks up so much of this nation's wealth? It's hypocritical to rail against unions when trillions of dollars are wasted on imperialism in the Middle East.

  • ||

    "for the most parts California's pension structure was intact until it was gutted by Wall Street."

    Bollocks. Most of those pension liabilities were unfunded at the time they were established. And- here's the best part- in many cases to the extent there was a pension fund, it was invested in the localites' own muni bonds: value now cratered due to insolvency.

    Sorry- you can't get away with blaming "Wall Street" for Dem irresponsibility and union greed.

  • ||

    Pimping class warfare, are we? While I agree that certain benefits are excessive, particularly those negotiated for fire fighters and police workers, for the most part California's pension structure was intact until it was gutted by Wall Street. Direct your concern towards those that have taken America's financial system off the rails. Perhaps a few words of ire towards the military industrial complex that sucks up so much of this nation's wealth? It's hypocritical to rail against unions when trillions of dollars are lost to imperialism in the Middle East.

  • ||

    John, what does the war in the Middle East have to do with the bloated California pension system?

  • ||

    Grover, you don't remember when California warplanes bombed Yemen and landed forces in Kuwait to seize the unleaded gasoline fields?

    I don't either.

  • BrunoBehrend||

    When the "government education complex" is as effective as the military industrial complex at achieving its objectives, maybe we would be able to afford its largess.

    As for the financial system, that was a bipartisan clusterhump, and you know it.

    As for the Middle East, I'm surprised at the speed at which Bush's Iraq war paid dividends. Tunisia, Egypt, and the other dominoes about to fall, are all dividends of that war, though the left and libertarian pacifists could never permit themselves to admit it.

    Lastly, every dime extracted in pay and benefits by public unions come at the expense of the tax payer. Unions have no place in the public sector. If the nation had a way to do, it should force a secession from the US, and let the state figure out its problems as a sovereign nation. It would probably benefit both governments.

    You can't fund a child's education when you are funding a greedy education bureaucracy.

  • ||

    John, it sounds like you got your education in the California public schools and college. You're truly a sad case. Yes, my ad hominem attack is intended.

  • ||

    Apologies for double posting-- my first post went up before I could spell check it.

  • sevo||

    It was still bullshit. Correctly-spelled bullshit, but bullshit just the same.

  • ||

    This has nothing to do with pensions but everything to do with politics. These radical right think tanks and their writers create their own statistics. They want a poor working class, no middle class, and a powerful rich oligarchy. Don't fall for their baloney.

  • ||

    They want a poor working class

    Yes, because increasing taxes on private sector employees whose incomes are in decline and who lack ANY pension to provide gold-plated benefits for union rent-seekers whose incomes are out-of-whack with the value of their jobs is "pro-working class."

    That maid in the Westin Hotel really should just shut up and pay more to ensure that the school board administrator making $100K a year gets his $90K/year pension after 20 years of work.

  • ||

    You are truly a numbskull - loser!

  • ||

    What frightening numbers! Those CalPERS knuckleheads lost half of their capital in the crash? Ay Chihuahua! The budget that Brown submitted makes the Obama federal budget look like a masterpiece of transparency and thrift. Brown's budget envisions a $26 billion deficit in the unlikely event that the voters pass a series of economy-crushing tax cuts which will certainly lower revenues. We are on the down side of the Laffer Curve in this state. Senate President Steinberg sez that all we have to do is pump up the stock market and raise some more taxes and everything will be OK. If I could move away from this doomed state I would do it. Its like living in Pompeii while the ground trembles more and more.

  • BrunoBehrend||

    One solution might be to drain the state of its richest taxpayers. With the absurd progressivity of the tax code, the more the rich "shrug" by leaving CA behind, the faster the pension Ponzi scheme collapses.

    The faster you can collapse the system, the sooner you can start to move back to sanity. Maybe someone should offer "Exodus Consulting Services."

    While you are at it, start a new center-right third way party and let the Republicans die on the vine. They clearly can't win statewide, and likely won't again.

    Lastly, maybe sell the Coast up to SF to Mexico, and see if they can solve the problems. Pensions in Pesos.

    Whatever it takes to break the Unions. What a way to ruin such a gorgeous and dynamic state! But then y'all asked for it.

    The successful parasite lives in harmony with its host. The Unions just kill the host. My state, IL, is next on the block.

  • wulfy||

    I agree with collapse by way of Randian capital flight to more biz friendly states. It's the only way to cut the political power of CA. When the money dries up, illegals and welfare staters will also have to migrate, and the population will shift House power more to Red states. Unfortunately the Silicon valley may be slow to vacate because of the tech brain community still wanting to be co-located. But remote comm. tech improvements might allow tech flight too, we can only hope. Picture an ace programmer plinking from Sun Valley, ID, or an electronic clean room operating in Ogden, UT with a microprocessor designer checking SEM photos from Nasua, NH.

    3rd party won't work. I hung with CA libertarians for a while, but they've got no money. Best they can do is put up a few protest vote candidates. The Reeps can only retake power after a good start on the Exodus.

  • compare prices||

    Good post, really helpful to me. Thanks for sharing.

  • ||

    When California turns to bankruptcy as the only option to get back on track financially we will have the reform that has to happen. Until then we will be taxed more and more for less and less services. Many businesses that have not yet left the state have plans to do so. Unions and the Dems the own have killed the California dream.

  • Alfred Centauri||

    "... who see the logarithmic cascade of pension liability as a threat to public parks"

    Logarithmic growth is exceedingly slow. Did you mean exponential?

  • ||

    Brown another Gorbachev? Only if there's another Reagan.

  • ||

    "In 1999 Davis signed a law that retroactively increased pension benefits for all government employees by 25 percent to 50 percent..."

    This is another example where a case can be made that retirees and current employees have a moral obligation to rollback from the excesses in benefits.

    My understanding is that the UC system took a 20 year contribution "holiday" in which neither UC nor the employees paid into the pension fund.

    Now tuition is being raised and services on campuses are being cutback as UC is being financially squeezed. Again, retirees have a moral obligation to correct this.

  • ||

    I spent 1998-2000 in California, we were thrilled to leave. I was clear even 12 years ago the kinds of problems the state would have.
    They try to regulate everything in the business and private sector, and keep increasing the size of government.
    You would have to be crazy to want to start a business out there, and if you have one you are probably trying to move it to another state.
    Wonderful place for a vacation, horrible place to live or work.

  • ||

    ...a defined benefit package promises a specific payout that is calculated based on salary and is payable whether or not there’s enough money in the fund.

    Nice.

    You ain't got no money? Too bad. Now pay up, suckas!!

  • ||

    Interesting to compare California as uit was at the time of Moonbeam's first inauguration, when he took over from Ronald Reagan. In most categories the formerly-Golden State has plummeted from firswt to last: the fruits of "Progressive" policies.

  • ||

    When CA runs out of money and can't borrow anymore and can't increase taxes out of fear of capital flight then it will do what must and there will be few sacred cows. There will be no federal bailout unless the democrats retake the US House Of Representatives and that does not look to likely in the next election cycle. The economy would have to make a major comeback to produce the revenues needed and reduce the unemployment rate for CA to be able to continue with the status quo. Not likely to happen with democrats running the Senate and the White House. Brown whether he likes it or not will be the governor that breaks the public service unions in CA. He has no other option (besides resigning).

  • ||

    It's time for the productive people of California to vote with their feet and leave the state to the moochers. Fi GM and AIG were deemed "too big to fail" we have to impress upon our representatives that California is NOT "too big to fail."

    The Progressives have to come to the hard realization that they've run out of other people's money.

  • ||

    IF, dammit, IF! Not Fi!

    PIMF

  • ||

    It's very simple - there is no more money to fund the benefits and pensions or frankly basic expenses of the state of California. California can't even continue to pay it's operationg expenses or salaries.

    The future for California is not BLEAK, it is ARMAGEDDON! Half of California's public employees will lose their jobs in the next five years AT A MINIMUM.

    There is NOTHING Jerry Brown or the Democrat numbskull politicians and greedy unions can do to prevent this inevitability. Good riddance.

    Perhaps these Progressive, Socialist-Marxist Democrats will learn a lesson, perhaps not. One thing for certain, half of them will be out of work at the public trough.

  • ||

    There is plenty of money to cover pensions. The future of California is not Bleak unless your a right wing shill.
    You are a KochWhore.

  • ||

    How about an analysis of the Texas budget woes? With a population of roughly 25 million (CA's is about 37 mil I believe) Texas is looking at being about 27 billion in the red over the next two years. Is the Texas problem due to unions and their pension plans, too? And what services to its citizens does Texas provide that CA does not? Or possibly the reverse is the more likely case. Reason, one would hope, demands consideration of ALL variables.

  • ||

    .
    Til recently, trains in J Pan
    scheduled to leave at 09:00
    oft left station at....08:58= early.

  • ||

    Pure right wing KochWhore BS!

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

  • قبلة الوداع||

    ThaNk U

  • دليل||

    safazcac

  • ||

    Pension fraud on the rise is evident from numerous reports in the news, and from the Gingrich suggestion for Illinois to use bankruptcy to escape its pension obligations.

    The problem lies not so much in the unfunding as in the intentional fraud accepted as the scheme of avoidance used by business and government alike.

    Why any Executive level pensions should be paid if middle and lower management pensions are not paid is a mystery of discrimination that lies at the heart of government integrity within a Constitutional framework where integrity matters.

    Certainly, paying pensions to convicted government employees is a folly that ignores the essence of government integrity, and makes crime pay.

    Without integrity being at the center of pension granting and pension payment, government is little more than a shell game just as corporate shell games operate. Since when did theft become a management practice considered acceptable in any organization?

    This pervasively slick attitude will be the road to ruin for America digging its own grave for democracy.

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