California

New Republic Embraces Fiction of California's Balanced Budget

Everything's fine, as long as you completely ignore the public pension crisis that is bankrupting us all!

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For the schools. Or government employees. Whatever.

When The New York Times began the narrative of California's alleged economic recovery, reporter Adam Nagourney was at least vigilant enough to moderate his claims with plenty of hedging about the state's still-high unemployment numbers, erratic revenue outcomes and the ever-present pension crisis.

Not so at the New Republic. According to David Dayen, the crisis is all over and it's all thanks to progressives! Dayen begins:

Earlier this month, California Governor Jerry Brown strode to a podium in Sacramento and said something that, a few years ago, seemed as unlikely as a UFO landing atop the state Capitol: The initial projection for the state budget showed a balance. In fact, for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, there's a surplus of $851 million. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, which just a couple months earlier estimated a deficit of $1.9 billion, concurred with the governor: Revenues matched expenditures in the initial outlook for the first time since before the Great Recession.

This was a surprise, to say the least. After all, in 2009, California carried a deficit as high as $42 billion. Marathon all-nighters in the legislature and unsatisfying 11th hour deals were commonplace. At one point the state paid obligations with IOUs because it ran out of money.

You can't use projections to declare an economy sound again. You simply can't. Interesting how Dayen went all the way back to 2009 for a deficit number when the state was carrying a $20-something billion deficit just last year. Why? Partly because the state had incorrectly projected its pending state income tax revenue for 2011 filings and came up billions short in the spring.

The Reason Foundation's Leonard Gilroy noted at Breitbart.com's Big Government what really happens with California's budget. They almost always declare that it's "balanced" and then adjust downward as reality asserts itself and makes a mockery of the projections:

Last November, for example, California's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office wrote, "The 2012–13 budget assumed a year–end reserve of $948 million. Our forecast now projects the General Fund ending 2012–13 with a $943 million deficit." …

To make his budget proposal look balanced this time around, Gov. Brown makes another series of optimistic assumptions, including that the tax increases California voters approved last November won't hurt the economy and the state's economy and tax revenues will grow; that California's millionaires, hit with higher taxes again, won't pack up and move to low-tax states; that California's housing market will improve and home prices will go up; that President Barack Obama and Congress won't do anything to hurt the national economy; and that the stock market will rise.

We still don't have an answer for what will happen to education budgets if the revenue projections are off (beyond the fact that as pointed out earlier today, a big chunk of the money for the tax increase meant to go to schools is not actually going to schools).

Dayen credits the state's progressive movement for fixing California's budget by marginalizing and essentially eliminating political opposition:

Until 2010, the legislature needed a two-thirds vote to both pass a budget and raise taxes, leading to several incidents of brinksmanship with Republicans, who gerrymandered the state just enough (in a corrupt bargain with the majority Democrats) to hold on to a bit over one-third of the legislative seats. Robbed of the tools of budget-balancing, majority Democrats had to make painful concessions in order to get Republicans to pass a budget.

Piece by piece, reformers started to dismantle these obstacles, using the state's ballot initiative process. In 2008, voters approved an independent redistricting commission to break the incumbency protection racket and make the legislature look more like the electorate.

Er, in 2008, registered Republicans comprised just a little less than a third of the California electorate. And no doubt a significant number of the 20 percent independent voters probably vote Republican in any given election.

And the new redistricting intended to break the "incumbency racket"? Three whole incumbent state legislators lost their seats in 2012. And thanks to the state's new top-two runoff system, two of them were Democrats who lost to other Democrats. The redistricting certainly did change the electorate representation, but it had nothing at all to do with getting rid of incumbents or making districts more competitive.

Dayen's remarkably curious explanation of California's budget woes focuses entirely on the state's inability to just raise taxes whenever it wants to:

California's recent budget problems resulted from the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. But the state's difficulty in addressing them was as much a political crisis as a budget crisis. Since the passage of the notorious anti-tax Prop 13 in 1978, which capped property tax rates and made it nearly impossible to raise revenue through the legislature, California has been locked into a revenue structure that, outside of boom times, proves too small to finance the public services that residents desire.  Several tax cuts during the late 1990s dot-com boom, and a huge $5.5 billion annual cut to the vehicle license fee passed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003, only exacerbated this imbalance.

"The public services that residents desire" is a nice, vague obfuscating way of talking about government employee costs without having to actually address that significant, serious budget problem. In fact, it doesn't mention employee costs at all. It also doesn't mention the word "pension," even once. In this lengthy analysis of California's alleged fiscal recovery it makes absolutely no mention at all of the state's greatest source of debt and the greatest threat to the state's actual recovery. The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) recently reported it has recouped billions in investment losses (despite posting dismal returns for the past couple of years), which is good. But according to accounting figures by Moody's Investment Service, the state may be sitting on about $300 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, with another $100 billion needed for retirement health care.  Gov. Brown's budget does address making dents in a $28 billion wall of debt, but those debts are completely separate from the state's pension bomb, one that Dayen doesn't even acknowledge.

He does, of course, talk about austerity and budget cuts, which should set off any Californian's bullshit detector:

But while progressives put the coalition in place to move past austerity politics, Governor Brown largely kept in place the austerity budgets of previous years. The exception is education, where in many respects the state's hand is forced: because of a formula set years earlier by Proposition 98, education spending must rise proportionally with increases in the overall budget. But much of the rest of the budget remains flat, particularly for social programs like welfare-to-work, healthcare for the poor and elderly, and child care, where the state has cut $1 billion over the past four years, enough to accommodate 110,000 families. At one point during the darkest days, legislative Democrats, quick to prove wrong taunts about overspending, unfurled a 150 foot-long scroll listing $19 billion in cuts they adopted from 2003 to 2008. Most of that scroll has not been rolled back.

Here's a couple of graphs of state spending from 2007 to 2012 courtesy of those few obstructionist Republicans left working at the state legislature:

Austerity!
So did you get $5,800 worth of "service" from California last year?

Somebody show me where the austerity is on those charts. Brown's latest budget has a five percent increase in spending.

Now if Dayen wants to argue Californians are getting less bang for their buck when it comes to "public services," we can certainly make that case. Talking about such matters, though, would require progressives to stop ignoring the elephant in the room – where that increasing government spending is actually going.

Oh, also, Dayen makes no mention of that godforsaken, stupid high-speed train, which is likely to take any recovery down with it should Brown actually commit any more state money to it. But that issue, again, would require addressing the matter of union patronage in state government spending.

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150 responses to “New Republic Embraces Fiction of California's Balanced Budget

  1. You can’t use projections to declare an economy sound again. You simply can’t.

    I don’t see why not. You can use models to demonstrate that without the Stimulus, the wells would have dried up and the rivers turned to sand. The crops would have been swallowed by the earth and the animals would have laid down and turned to dust.

    1. The stimulus funded the Lazarus Project. Without it, the Reapers would have destroyed everything.

    2. You can’t use projections to declare an economy sound again. You simply can’t.

      “You just watch me, fool! ALSO = the Earth is dying, so we’re going to ‘save’ it with billions in Green Energy subsidies! Dont believe me? we have ‘projections’ for that too! bwoo haha haha ha!”/progressivescum

      as Epi says = its PROJECTION all the way down with der TEAM

      1. ALSO = the Earth is dying

        The Earth is [really] dying.

        I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlor
        Drinking milkshakes cold and long.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWm03wYBTbM

  2. You know who else used projections to declare his economy sound again?

    1. Your mo…Joffrey Baratheon?

      1. Your father is also your uncle, isn’t he? It would explain why you torture whores.

        1. Watch your tone with me, Sansa, or I’ll make you hurt again.

          1. Dude, I don’t want to know about the Game of Thrones role-playing games you, FoE, and Warty play when you have your ‘sleep overs’.

            1. Guess which one of them has 3 dragons?

              1. Your mo…Warty?

  3. Hey, I can make shit up too! Can I have a job at The New Republic?

    1. Have you blown any progressive politicians? That’s a requirement for a post at the New Republic, you know.

      1. Maybe if he wrote some overly fawning crap on his hand in ink while thinking pleasant thoughts about maximum leader he could qualify.

        http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2…..m-messina/

        1. Well, see, I figured I could try and use it as a Trojan horse to set up a NR blog where I review Kirk/Spock slash fic and go on long rambles about the superiority/inferiority of various flavors of Mountain Dew. I think it would be a surprise hit.

          1. Isn’t that what Vanneman basically does?

            1. Who do you think I stole the idea from?

          2. Mountain Dew Baja Blast is awesome in a cup.

        2. “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”

      2. Of course not.

        (looks around nervously)

        1. As long as it wasn’t Nancy Pelosi, we’re willing to forgive and forget.

    2. Even you couldn’t make this shit up while keeping a straight face!

      1. Depends on the pay.

        1. Epi…c’mon..like the rat/lawyer joke, there have to be a few things even you won’t do?!

          1. I like to test my limits.

  4. Didn’t New Republic post a ‘fake’ picture of the emperor, skeet shooting, earlier today?

    Go over there and read some of their headlines:

    Why do Grandmothers exist?

    Obama finally finds his doctrine.

    Chick Lits New-Media Heroines.

    What.The.Fuck? Are they like a spoof of the Onion? Please tell me, that is not a serious site. It’s a joke, right?

    1. Didn’t New Republic post a ‘fake’ picture of the emperor, skeet shooting, earlier today?

      I’m pretty sure that the last time I saw sugar coated Barry-O in that pose he had just hooked the shit out of his tee shot. The New Republic replaced his three wood with a shotgun…..ethical journalism….how do it work?!

      1. I don’t know if there are comments over there on the plethora of Obama boot licking stories, but if there are, I don’t want to read them. Anyone who reads that site, besides for comedy relief, is probably screwed in the head beyond hope.

        1. I come here for the news…I stay to get my “two minutes hate”!

    2. Link? Don’t make me go poking around in that shithole.

      1. Oh, what the hell. I already went over there.

        Behold the Stupid

        1. California was held hostage by a conservative minority demanding unpopular concessions to end manufactured crises.

          Unfortunately I think the only way that kind of stupid truly goes away is when it, and everything within a couple of parsecs are sucked into a black hole.

          Or, it is possible the black hole is consumed by the stupid.

        2. For the first time ever, voters could register online in California in 2012. The new program was only implemented in the last month of the election cycle. However, despite the short window, over one million new voters, the vast majority of them Democrats, registered online, completely changing the makeup of the electorate. And these online registrants turned out in much higher numbers than typical new voters.

          Firs of all.
          Yah voter fraud.

          Secondly.

          Oh it’s bullshit Among all the numbers emerging from Election Day, here’s a significant one: About one-million fewer Californians appear to have turned out to vote this year than in 2008, according to exit polls and the California Secretary of State.

          Romney’s craptastic campaign suppressed voter turnout in Republican parts of the state, which made the difference in the tax hiking initiative.

          Thanx Tulpa and Ken.

          1. Ditto. Thanks for that charmless liar and his magic underwear.

    3. Wasnt the fact that Dick Cheney engaged in shooting sports held up as evidence that he was evil? I seem to remember much frothing at the mouth over that.

      1. “Wasn’t the fact that Dick Cheney engaged in shooting sports a fellow hunter in the face held up as evidence that he was evil asshole? I seem to remember much frothing at the mouth jubilation on the left over that.”

        /FIFY

        1. We hated him because he can’t shoot, and acts like he can. It’s OK not to shoot and it’s OK to shoot if you know how. It’s not OK to shoot your hunting party.

  5. Revenues matched expenditures in the initial outlook for the first time since before the Great Recession.

    the Great Recession……

    THE GREAT RECESSION.

    Is anyone else as tired as I am of the constant hyperbolic exaltation about THE GREAT RECESSION?

    For instance, during the tongue bathing that was the 60 minutes interview of Obama and Shrillary there was this gem-

    It was a job she initially refused. But Obama kept pushing, Clinton said.

    “The one thing he did mention was he basically said: `You know, we’ve got this major economic crisis that may push us into a depression. I’m not going to be able to do a lot to satisfy the built-up expectations for our role around the world. So you’re going to have to get out there and, you know, really represent us while I deal with, you know, the economic catastrophe I inherited.”

    Yes, it was bad. Yes the stock market lost a bunch of money. Yes a bunch of people lost jobs. But we didn’t have soup lines or 15%+ unemployment. We didn’t have old people eating cat food and starving to death. Nothing in the recent recession is even remotely comparable to the Great Depression. In fact, I remember the gas lines of the 70’s being a bit more problematic than anything that ever happened in the last five years.

    But it seems like EVERY FUCKING TIME we hear about some economic success story it’s always capped with the “SINCE THE GREAT RECESSION”.

    1. Damn you!

    2. It’s the new normal!

      1. You want to know what the new normal is?

        I was recently informed at work, that all the personal data collection forms that I maintain, if they have a checkbox or radio button for gender, now need 5 choices instead of the outdated traditional two.

        Male

        Female

        Trans-gender Male to Female

        Trans-gender Female to Male

        I don’t know

        From this point on, your worth to the company will be determined in order of that list, in the reverse of which I listed it.

        Yes, I don’t know is a choice. And I think if you check that box, you get the job, or the promotion, or the grant, whatever the fuck you want. Probably you will be President in 3 days, or so.

        1. no box for Jamie Lee Curtis? awww. i has sad

          how about Alpha Male? they’d fire me before they hired me!

          1. I suggested we replace ‘I don’t know’ with ‘Pat’, but they didn’t think that was funny. This is serious business and mission critical stuff.

            Tomorrow I will suggest the Jamie Lee Curtis checkbox, maybe that will amuse them, or they will hire her and make her my personal sex slave.

            1. Where the hell do you work?

              One of the excellent benefits of working for a startup is that I get to say terribly inappropriate things, throw things at people (just today we were throwing the rolls from our lunches all over the room at each other), swear like a motherfucker, and be a general asshole all day.

              1. I once worked for a small company where it was like that. The good ol days.

                It’s research, private org, but lots of liberals around. Not all liberals, but the company has adopted a crazy level of PC non-sense doctrine.

                But I am sort of protected by my high level clients, so I can get away with saying inappropriate shit( South Park level non-pc) They often don’t like it, I know, but I don’t have much fear of being fired because it’s not worth it to recruit another senior level software engineer who’s keeping clients happy.

                1. If you call a female colleague a pinko cunt, would that be enough to get your ass released from service?

                  1. Probably. Do you have an experience you would like to tell us about? I love good stories.

                    1. “Describe a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker, and what you did to resolve it”

                    2. That’s when you called the questioner, a pinko cunt?

                      Didn’t you think of just bashing her upside the head with a shovel?

                    3. “By utilizing the optimum resource management utilities available, I was able to firmly resolve the conflict whilst maintaining our professional standards of synergistic teamwork by bashing the stupid pinko cunt upside the head with a shovel.”

                      When do I start?

                    4. Yesterday!

                    5. Fucked her!

                    6. Eh. I once called my female boss at a store I worked at as a kid she was worse than a Nazi and could fuck off in a really long, verbose rant. I quit before she could fire me.

                      One of the most satisfying rants of my life. She was an insufferable cunt. And a Democrat, too. BONUS.

                    7. I think the closest I have come to that, was when I was working for a small mfg company back at the beginning of my IT career.

                      There was this bitch in the accounting office. She’s one of the most unpleasant people I have ever been around.

                      Everyone hated her. She literally had no friends in the world. From what I was told not even anyone else in her family would go around her. She was probably in her 50s. And apparently she lived at work, because you could drive by there any time of the day or night, on the weekends, didn’t matter, her car would be there.

                      I remember her as being not only a bitch, but a creepy weird bitch. She was always very rude with me when I had to make changes to the accounting system.

                      Then one day, I was sitting in my office, working late that evening, and she walked into my office and looked at me, smiling. (NO GDit, I didn’t fuck her, don’t no one start that shit! This story ain’t about fucking!). Anyway, she’s smiling and I never saw her smile before. And she had this short reddish blonde hair and in the office light, she looked like some insane female version of Ronald McDonald, I swear! It creeped me the hell out! Cont…

                    8. Then she says, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you could help me, I’m trying to print some greetings cards and my printer is jammed’. I just sat there speechless for a minute. Then I remembered how shitty she had treated me for 2 fucking years, and I yelled at her ‘Get the fuck out of my office!’. She was still smiling. I said ‘I fucking mean it, get the fuck out, bitch!’. She left. I don’t think she told anyone because I never heard anymore about it.

                    9. She’s one of those chronic fuckwads — people who are assholes to such an extreme, asshole responses don’t affect them. They’re not susceptible.

                      After that, you probably could have fucker her, though. Bent over that printer she broke.

                    10. I bet that’s the part he’s leaving out.

                    11. It’d be creepy if her real name were Ronnie (female variant) McDonald, too.

                    12. I’ve worked with several versions of that woman in the past.

                      It’s always amazing to me that no matter how cool the job can seem at first, someday that one asshole appears and just makes you want to go get the shovel.walk out and then you realize that there are a lot of assholes in the world. You can’t avoid all of them.

                    13. I’ve worked with several versions of that woman in the past

                      They eventually had to let her go, right before I left myself, she just continued to get worse until her boss couldn’t take it anymore. She had been there like 25 years.

                      I begged them to let me come in early and throw all of her stuff out on the front lawn before she arrived. Seriously, I would have done it. I wanted to feel sorry for her, but instead, I hated her guts.

                    14. I bet that’s the part he’s leaving out

                      here we go again, in case anyone missed the thread between me, Epi, and Warty, about the lady at the mall…

                    15. She had a pretty nice body for her age, but gawd, that face and awful insane clown hair, like fucking staring at the spawn of Satan.

                      Actually. There was some guy there, in shipping, who was doing her and said she was wild as hell, but he apparently just couldn’t tolerate her awful personality anymore.

                      But her level of hatefulness, creepiness, was so extreme that it would have killed the most steadfast boner in the world. At least for me.

                    16. Holy Crap.
                      I sit next to the queen of the harpies at work.
                      Her job involves a lot of phone calls. She does not have an inside voice.
                      This last week she came in to work in spite of her bronchitis, and she had to talk even louder to be heard.

                      She also smokes menthols like a chimney.

                      I need some ideas for some passive-aggressive retaliation.

                    17. I need some ideas for some passive-aggressive retaliation

                      Tman has already stated the perfect solution, quite elegantly, I might add.

                      Seriously, find out what annoys her, and do it, over and over.

                      I had a co-worker once, who hated it when I wouldn’t answer my phone and didn’t have my voice mail set up yet. New office, we just moved in. So I didn’t set up my voice mail and just let the phone ring all of the time. It would infuriate her, lol.

                    18. The last time I worked closely with a woman, we ended up at a touch-each-other’s- genitals-during- meetings-under-the-table juncture in our relationship. Too much emotional baggage, ultimately, but awesome gal to have fun with, and a body that makes most supermodels look like a 13-year-old Justin Bieber.

              2. working for a startup is that I get to say terribly inappropriate things

                You Klingon bastard. I have to cast my inappropriate thoughts in Shakespearean terms to keep from being fired.

            2. Human Resources people have to come up with ever-more creative ways to justify their bullshit jobs. And they have to be very earnest and severe about it lest actual productive employees catch on.

          2. Hey, enough with that crap about Jamie. Those rumors aren’t true, you bastard!

        2. can the employee change their answer

          1. After one or more procedures!

          2. Don’t give them any ideas, damnit! 5 checkboxes, that is it! No more! And no one gets to change their mind!

            1. Why can’t you just watch for which washroom they use?

              1. We’ll just install bathroom cams with sensors that check the appropriate boxes. Automation.

              2. Pft. There’s at least six washrooms to cover all the genders and other identities. Too many to watch.

    3. You really don’t appreciate how bad our situation was and the policies Obama imposed to stave off a catastrophe. Without the massive stimulus provided by shovel ready jobs and cash for clunkers, along with the billions in savings from Obamacare, our economy would have reached third world status.

      1. Yes, especially cash for clunkers, that was priceless. Didn’t Biden think that one up?

        You forgot the /sarcasm

        1. The funny thing is SS may have been sarcastic (I have no idea) but that is a perfect impression of an Yglesias/Klein/Friedman/Krugnuts response.

          THIS IS WHAT THEY ACTUALLY BELIEVE.

          1. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to tell the sarc from the serious posts, unless you know the poster.

            The scary thing is that sometimes the serious posts are funnier/dumber than the sarcasm( see, Tony)

    4. “Yes, it was bad. Yes the stock market lost a bunch of money. Yes a bunch of people lost jobs. But we didn’t have soup lines or 15%+ unemployment. We didn’t have old people eating cat food and starving to death. Nothing in the recent recession is even remotely comparable to the Great Depression. In fact, I remember the gas lines of the 70’s being a bit more problematic than anything that ever happened in the last five years.”

      Hey! Barry’s just starting his 2nd term! Give him some time, he can screw things up way worse than they are now.

      1. I just got back to CA tonight after a few days in DC. Besides the amazing amount of Obamalove on display there, another thing really struck me. In the Washington Post op-eds, almost every time they mention that the Rs still control the house, they ascribe that to evil, unlawful Republican gerrymandering. If it wasn’t for gerrymandering, the Dems would rule unabated, which is what all Americans really want!

        And here on my return is this article, trying ridiculously to affirm that it was only gerrymandering (did the left learn a new word? They must have gotten a new word-a-month calendar for the holidays!) that allowed for any Republican influence in CA government. What a fucking joke. The Ds controlled all the redistricting, even that of the “unbiased” new lines, which have effectively allowed for a single-party state.

        But don’t worry, I’m sure they can still find a Republican somewhere in California to blame when the state falls billions short of their revenue projections! High earners are leaving the state by the dozens weekly, let’s see how long that one takes to start the total meltdown where only takers are left.

        1. A large part of the “gerrymandering” that benefits the GOP is from creating majority-minority districts, but that won’t be talked about directly as being against those is racist.

    5. Is anyone else as tired as I am of the constant hyperbolic exaltation about THE GREAT RECESSION?

      Yes, the proper and accurate phrase is Obama’s Depression.

    6. Yes, it was bad.

      It’s all relative.

  6. “Great Recession”

    I keep seeing this and I’m trying to think of a reason any average person was in any worse economic condition than right…now.

    1. People jumped out of high rise buildings and there was this bowl with dust in it.

      1. Hyperion| 1.29.13 @ 8:23PM |#
        “People jumped out of high rise buildings”…

        Nope.
        After the start of the depression there were no more high rise buildings. They all shrank to a max of 2 stories.

        1. there were no more high rise buildings. They all shrank to a max of 2 stories.

          So that’s why it was called a depression!

          1. “So that’s why it was called a depression!”

            And later, FDR waved the magic wand and they all grew to their former height!
            It’s true! I was told that by someone with a picture of Mao (ooops, FDR) on their wall.

        2. Damn, I didn’t know that. I wonder how big the pyramids were before the stock market crashed in ancient Egypt and caused the Sahara?

    2. the assumption is the Worst is Over. I have yet to see it.

      1. Don’t you know, it was written in times of lore, that after 4 years, the messiah will rise again and bring heaven to earth?

        I think they forgot to tell us about the Republican congress, though. But he’s tryin!

  7. What’s especially idiotic about this is the fact that progressives are incapable of looking beyond right now. They have no conception of how things will be in the future. As it stands, why would anyone in their right mind choose to move to California with those tax rate levels? What business would want to move to that state, with their level of taxes and regulation? This is a long term problem that’s going to absolutely kill economic growth in that state, but they almost kind of balanced the budget, so it’s okay!

    1. Re: iggy,

      They have no conception of how things will be in the future.

      They have a high time preference.

      Hilariously, they pretend to care about the long-term by clinging to such hoaxes as climate change while, ironically, demand immediate action at the same time.

    2. Also on my just-completed trip to DC, while changing TV channels I found some program where some guy was discussing very basic economics to his willing audience. He said “as we know, there is only so much money out there, so when some people take more than their share, it leaves much less for everyone else.”

      Yes. This was really on TV.

      I can’t tell you what happened next because my wife changed the channel before I could smash the screen.

  8. California’s recent budget problems resulted from the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

    I wonder if Mr. Dayen is really Tony, because both come with the same silly explanation: You see, it’s not that we’re suddenly spending too much, it’s these slacker Californians who refuse to bust their humps to give us the money!

    1. California’s recent budget problems resulted from the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

      Californias, Americas, Europes, Chinas recent budget problems resulted from the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

      The all purpose economic trump card!

      1. And it was all the fault of BOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

        1. Well that goes without saying.

    2. “You see, it’s not that we’re suddenly spending too much, it’s these slacker Californians who refuse to bust their humps to give us the money!”

      I’ll argue with “suddenly”.
      CA has been out-spending income *even* at the height of the real estate and dotcom booms.
      Given those *huge* windfalls, it wasn’t enough; all that and more was spent. And now, we’re going to need more income to support the spending we have when it turns out the budget isn’t balanced, and the idiotic voters will give them more.
      Train wreck; how do you not watch?

      1. It’s all the fault of Prop 13. Before that, tax revenues literally piled up faster than the money could be spent. Progressives have never forgotten how wonderful it was and are just sure that with the right incantations they can make it like that again.

        1. Pretty sure it’s impossible to do the sums on P13; it was full of loopholes. More importantly, like the Bill of Rights, it should have been just a starting point: ALL of CA property should have been subject to the minimal raises allowed.
          By now, the ‘lost’ taxes from the protected properties probably don’t amount to a rounding error in the state budget, but you’re right; brain-dead lefties swear the cause of CA’s financial problems start and end right there.
          Don’t worry, the Dems new super-maj will fix it soon! And claim *that* will finally balance the budget!

        2. I’ve actually heard this from my liberal aunt and uncle, the ones who fled CA to retire in NM.

        3. Complaining about Prop 13 amounts to saying: “If only we could have kept increasing property taxes, forcing old people out of their homes and making housing more expensive, all of our financial problems would have been solved!”

    1. I’m hoping for a minimum of a decade.

      1. Stay away from Vegas RPA. If he serves more than 3-5 years I’ll eat my hat, the stinky one that I was wearing when I fell into a swamp during a drunken bachelor party this summer, not the clean one I wear most days.

    2. 3 weeks desk duty?

    3. Time served.

    1. Colombia

      1. Drug warriors are alarmed, News at 11.

    2. I wonder how the pot legalization effort is going, down in Uruguay?

    3. It should be legalized as it’s the only psychiatric drug that’s even vaguely effective.

      1. Drugs are bad, Mmmkay?

      2. What about Ketamine?

    4. Impossible, I’ve been informed that Latin Americans are all totalitarian monsters

      1. All drugs are decriminalized in Brazil. (Possession, not selling).

        Now they are trying to force people who get busted with drugs, into treatment. It’s not working out very well. Appears that folks just want to do their drugs and be left alone. They will do practically anything to avoid the treatment, like run away and not go back first chance they get.

        1. Sounds about as successful as Brazilian gun control.

          Terry Gilliam had some insight.

  9. ‘New Republic Embraces Fiction’

    You could have just left it at that Scott.

    1. Fantasy is usually a different section.

  10. Anyone else watching Canada v US?
    Looks like Canada’s surviving in the 1st half.

    1. I was watching a disinterested Pens squad get their asses handed to them by the fucking Islanders.

      Jesus.

      Pens are playing like they hoped for a season long lockout and the games are infringing on their vacation time.

      Has Bylsma lost the locker room is the question.

      1. I saw the scoreline and almost fell over.
        Also, the Jets were running around hopeless in their own end again. They need to fix that.

        1. Turnovers at the blue line

          Intercepted cross ice passes in the isle’s zone

          Every shot either hit a defenseman or the goalie in the chest

          no creativity, no spark, no initiative

          It’s like bylsma took a 50 year old hockey playbook, threw it at the team, and said, “Umm, try this stuff, I guess?”

    2. Archduke Pantsfan| 1.29.13 @ 9:58PM |#
      “Anyone else watching Canada v US?”

      Poker? Med waiting lines? Beer drinking? What?

      1. Soccer. Meaningless friendly.

        1. So sevo was right on all three counts.

  11. Piers Morgan ?@piersmorgan
    AN APOLOGY: No, those gun supporters didn’t ‘heckle’ Neil Heslin – they just shamed themselves with their disgusting behaviour. My mistake.

    1. Piers is such a sanctimonious blowhard, can’t even give a proper apology after defaming people he doesn’t even know.

    2. Well, since Great Britain won’t take him back, I vote we give him to Canada as revenge for Justin Bieber.

      1. Nope.
        Stick his sorry butt in a row boat, aim him east out of NY and tell him ‘don’t call us’.

    3. No, Piers Morgan didn’t “have sex” with a sheep, he prefers goats. My mistake.

    1. Works for golfers, but team-sports players are going to balance the taxes off against the (financial and mental) bonuses for winning.
      Right now, it’s likely that the bonuses for being on SF baseball and football teams make up for the taxes. When they again sag back to mid-field or worse, it’s going to be tough to attract talent without bidding high.

  12. Awesome. I know none of you watched “The Taste” but they had a montage of 3 vegan cooks all getting rejected flat out.

  13. The organization I work for (a non-profit) is (was?) losing $12 million a year.

    They initiated a program called TAG or “Turn Around and Grow”.

    During a meeting, my boss (now fired after a minor scandal) read a list of savings the organization was projected to make by implementing programs like L.E.A.N. He huffily re-iterated how we were going to save money when I quietly raised my hand at the end of his list and asked, “So, how does that stuff add up to $12 million in savings?” Yeah, I’m one of those guys in a business meeting. My career shows it.

    Immediate implementation of L.E.A.N. manifested itself by cleaning out the supplies cabinet and getting rid of surplus stuff like extra hi-lighters.

    $12 million in savings, here we come.

    Needless to say, a year+ later, and his firing not withstanding, we didn’t make up the $12 million.

    We’re now “affiliating” with a larger hospital group- an affiliation whose talking points keep reading, “We remain independent!” with an immediate followup which reads, “But we’re going to follow all the basic rules and practices of the organization with which we’re affiliating”.

    Corporate management… it takes a special kind. I estimate the people at the top of most corporations would do well in politics. It’s political theater all the way down.

    The point is, when a guy in a pin-striped suit maintains his plastic smile while telling you how great things are, he’s lying.

    Have fun with your T.A.G. progam California.

    1. “They initiated a program called TAG or “Turn Around and Grow”.”
      Sort of red-lines the BS meter as soon as management develops any program that gets an acronym.
      Second warning sign: VP/producer ratio. Now, there’s no doubt that VPs work, but in most industries the guys on the shop floor or in the cubicles are delivering product and generating income.
      Once the ratio hits even 1/10, there’s no way it is going to work; you can’t scrape 10% off the top for admin, unless you’re Google.

    2. LEAN management: Kaizens make everything more efficient and better!!!

      Biggest crock of shit I’ve ever seen, but administrator types eat it up like it is juicy steak. Don’t you dare question the religious movement that is LEAN.

  14. Piling small stones upon large ones at the pinnacle of stupid.

    Maybe this vanguard of progressivism should all wear matching shirts…

    1. Oh perfect, I snark all over stupid and SF the link.

      1. No president has ever pulled off what Obama now hopes to do — move Congress by mobilizing a standing grassroots army.

        Annnnnnnd I’m done.

        And fuck you for making me read even that far.

        1. I’m not exactly sure how you can call attempting to mobilize supporters with a directive from on high “grass roots.”

          1. If you’re a statist, you simply command the grass roots to do your bidding. There is no contradiction.

        2. You know who else mobilized a…

          The hell with it, it’s too easy.

  15. my buddy is now retiring with 25 yrs service as a San Diego area firefighter.

    i hope calpers can pull it off, but if i were him, i’d be apprehensive.

    1. my buddy is now retiring with 25 yrs service as a San Diego area firefighter

      Firefighter:

      Someone who uses a telephone to call a civil engineering contractor for the purpose of clearing a perimeter around a fire.

      Firefighter:

      Someone who shows up with big red truck when you dial 911.

      Firefighter:

      Someone who inspects industrial facilities demanding expensive Factory Mutual certification of instrumentation without having the foggiest idea what is being measured or how the instruments works.

      These are your pals.

  16. OMG, major propaganda.

  17. Has Tony showed up yet? Inquiring minds and all that…

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