Ex-Government Workers in California Make More Than Those Still Working in the Private Sector

Last week the California Policy Center released a new study that compared the average full-career government pension to the average annual earnings of a full-time private sector worker. Not surprisingly, at least for anyone paying attention, ex-government workers make 26 percent more than people make in the private sector who are still working. The average government pension after 30 years work? $68,673. The average private sector pay? $54,326.

Pension moneyHow is it possible to pay government workers more when they’re retired than the rest of us make while we work? How can we afford this? When you try to answer this question, you begin to see just how misguided the left in California has gotten – at least the “left” as it is conventionally understood.

Because the left wants everything. And the government unions who control the “left” in California, along with the state Legislature and nearly every major city and county, promise everything. If any politician or public speaker stands up to them, they help organize demonstrations by left-wing activists, where, when they aren’t breaking windows and spraying innocent people with mace, they chant silly little phrases.

For example, they want to turn California into a “sanctuary” and invite millions of destitute immigrants to join the millions who are already here. But at the same time, they want to block development of land, energy, water and transportation assets, because that might harm the earth.

Please come on in, we welcome millions more
but building homes is sinful, so go sleep on the floor

The reason leftists are dupes is because despite all their resentment of “privilege,” they ignore the agenda of the most privileged special interest that has ever existed, which are the government unions in the state of California. They’re so busy insisting that California’s government invite the entire world’s destitute population – while simultaneously doing nothing to make room for them – that they’ve failed to realize that it is the government unions who are the only winners in this miserable equation.

Neglect the roads, let dams give way
but increase public servant pay

Every era has had its dupes, but the reason California’s leftists are the biggest dupes in the history of the world is because they haven’t figured out that their supposed friends are actually sleeping with the enemy. The left demonizes the wealthy, they demonize the banks, they demonize “Wall Street,” but fail to realize that their own state government – leftist to the core – is partnering with these corrupt financial special interests.

Who do they think invests nearly $800 billion of pension fund assets, collecting billions in fees? Who do they think lends billions to cash-strapped state and local governments that have gone broke paying government workers twice what ordinary citizens make? Who do you think benefits when restrictions on land and energy development cause asset bubbles at the same time as they drive the cost of living through the roof?

We hate wealth, we hate greed
but we are Wall Street’s friend in need

or

Invest your savings in the market, and lose it in the crash
but we’ll increase your taxes, so pension funds have cash

No expose of California’s left is complete without mentioning how they have corrupted environmentalism. In a practical world, we would strike a reasonable balance between development and preservation, so prosperity might lift billions out of poverty, empower women who actually need empowerment, and stabilize those burgeoning populations who eye the developed nations with understandable envy. Instead, California’s leftist oligarchs, supported by millions of leftist dupes, have decided to encourage immigration while actually curtailing our supplies of energy, water and land.

If this were all based on pure and naive idealism, one might forgive it. But these Malthusian, misanthropic masochists have embraced rationing as a substitute for development, abetted by surveillance systems that would make George Orwell blush, to make sure nobody uses a single kilowatt-hour or gallon of water more than they’re allotted. Want to plant a hedge, a lawn, or a “water guzzling” tree? Do you love to nurture living things on a lot bigger than a postage stamp? Not in California. Meanwhile, wealthy Silicon Valley “entrepreneurs” develop the mandatory sensors that will let your appliances monitor your behavior, at the same time as wealthy corporate interests plant vast new orchards of thirsty nut trees on the arid western acreage of the Central Valley.

Take short showers, pay excessive fees
so corporations can plant Walnut trees

California’s leftists aren’t helping themselves, the rest of humanity or the earth. They are dupes of the oligarchy. They have been duped into ignoring a profound, counter-intuitive, and very nonpartisan political reality: Government unions and wealthy elites are working together to undermine our liberty and our prosperity. At best, California’s leftists are blinded by their ideals and biases. At worst, they are seditious traitors to the people and the culture that gave them the time and the freedom to crowd our public spaces with their vandalism and their vacuous rhymes.

Ed Ring is the vice president of policy research for the California Policy Center.

California’s Latest War on Trump – Gas mileage standards: Jim Lacy discusses on Fox Business

Jim Lacy discusses California’s latest war on Donald Trump – gas mileage standards – and how it could result in two different kinds of cars being produced: One for Californians, and one for everyone else.

Also talked about: New proposed legislation would exempt California teachers from paying income tax.

Gavin Newsom to pitch universal health care as California governor’s race grows crowded

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is drafting a health care plan for California that he plans to unveil as a core component of his gubernatorial run, based in part on the universal health care program he signed into law when he was mayor of San Francisco.

Newsom, seen as a strong contender in the increasingly crowded field of candidates vying to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018, is staking out an ambitious plan to rein in rising health care costs, expand universal access to people across the state regardless of income or immigration status, and preserve coverage for the estimated 5 million Californians who risk losing their insurance under President Donald Trump’s changes.

“I think we can learn a lot for the state of California from what we did with Healthy San Francisco,” Newsom said in an interview. “We had the resourcefulness, the resources, and the boldness and audacity to try something new. It’s not necessarily something that can be adopted in all 58 counties, but it can be adopted …. where the majority of California’s population is.”

The idea would likely require substantial state and federal funding. …

Click here to read the full article

NeverTrump’s Ant Flatulence in a Hurricane

Legend has it that President Franklin Roosevelt’s son James (soon to enlist in the Marines and serve with distinction) was in the White House on December 11, 1941 and one of the first to learn that Italy had declared war on the United States. He rushed to the Oval Office and breathlessly told his father that Italy had declared war. Without looking up from his paperwork FDR said, “Jimmy, have you ever heard an ant fart in a hurricane?”

The remark gives insight both to Roosevelt’s sense of humor and his judgment of Mussolini’s war-making prowess. FDR was proven correct, as Il Duce’s divisions were a pale imitation of the invincible legions of Julius or Augustus Caesar.

Roosevelt’s “ant flatulence” bon mot gained new relevance last year in the personas of NeverTrump. The leaders of the NeverTrump cabal were every bit as haughty and imperious as Mussolini. Il Duce was hung upside down and left to bleed to death by loyal Italians at the end of the war. Millions of conservative voters did the same to NeverTrump, first at the GOP convention and then on Election Day.

Trump adultThe political prognostication powers of NeverTrump grandees like Billy Kristol, Bow Tie Will and former President-Designate David French turned out to be equivalent to the battle readiness of the Italian army, with all the effect of ant flatulence in a hurricane. Rational conservatives assumed that a group of people so wrong so often about so many things would do the honorable thing and slink away in silence under the cover of darkness. No such luck with the smug and pompous elephantine egos of NeverTrump. They continue to spout their nonsense as if the election never happened and their total disconnect from reality never exposed.

How wrong were they? Let us count the ways.

NeverTrump charged that Donald Trump had duped conservatives supporting him and if nominated would veer sharply toward the center in the choice of running mate. The actual result was Trump choosing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, widely regarded as the most conservative governor in the country.

NeverTrump charged that the GOP nominee Trump would be routed by Hillary Clinton, losing in an historic landslide. The actual result was Trump destroying the Democrats’ Midwest “blue wall,” carrying states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan that hadn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since the 1980s. Trump received more electoral votes than any GOP candidate since H.W. Bush in 1988.

NeverTrump warned that GOP nominee Trump, losing in a landslide to Hillary, would most certainly cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate. The actual result was continued GOP control of the Senate, with Trump aiding the come-from-behind victories of endangered Republican incumbents like Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Ron Walker in Wisconsin.

NeverTrump assured us that not only would the Clinton landslide win over Trump cost the GOP the Senate, but that the loss would be so big as to endanger the GOP majority in the House. The actual result was a miniscule Republican loss of 6 seats out of a GOP total of 247, when even the most optimistic GOP forecasters were predicting a 12-15 seat loss to the Democrats.

In the immortal words of Ron Popeil, “But wait, there’s more!”

NeverTrump warned conservatives that the Clinton victory margin over Trump would be gigantic enough to wipe out state and local office holders by the hundreds, decimating our “bench” for future elections. The actual result was a Republican tsunami at the local level, winning state, county and municipal districts that had been solidly Democrat for decades. The day after the November election the Republican Party was stronger nationally than at any time since 1920. (For UCLA graduates that’s almost 100 years ago.)

NeverTrump assured us that Trump’s list of conservative candidates for the Scalia Supreme Court seat put together by the impeccably conservative Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society was a sham. They insisted that Trump had no intention of naming someone from that list and that conservatives were fools to believe that he would. The actual result was highly respected conservative Neil Gorsuch being nominated to the court. Doubts about Judge Gorsuch’s future impact on the court can be dispelled by Googling the reaction of any Democrat Senator to the nomination.

NeverTrump has been wrong about everything – quite literally, everything. Not wrong by a little, but by 180 degrees. There were no near-misses in the NeverTrump rants. As the old saying goes, they missed by a country mile.

There is a happy ending to this morality tale, however, and that is the isolation and irrelevance of NeverTrump. The worker bees of the conservative movement, the folks in fly-over country, took a good look at the NeverTrump leaders and realized that these ever-so-pious and pure guardians of “acceptable” conservative thought were empty suits. Other than bloated salaries and Sunday morning talk-show gigs they produced little of substance the last 20 years.

Instead of political and policy victories these “leaders” delivered hot air, pomposity and arrogance. Without knowing it the grass roots are channeling Senator Everett Dirkson, who shouted at Tom Dewey from the podium of the 1952 Republican Convention, “We have followed you before and you lead us down the road to defeat.”

No more. NeverTrump is taking its rightful place on the ash heap of history. The White House is the epicenter of an historic earthquake of conservative ideas and policy. Conservatives will surely find things to quibble with in President Trump, and when we do we should say so. In the meantime we owe it to our country and our movement to support the most conservative White House since the Reagan days, and more likely since the Coolidge days.

NeverTrump will no doubt continue on for awhile, full of sound and fury signifying nothing, emitting its occasional ant flatulence. Meantime, in the real world, conservatives across the country are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work making America, and the conservative movement, great again.

Bill Saracino is a member of the Editorial Board of CA Political Review.

CA’s Retired Public Workers Earn More Than Private-Sector Workers Still on the Job

As reported by KFI radio:

California’s retired government workers earn 26% more in retirement than private-sector workers earn while still on the job.

That’s the finding of an in-depth analysis released this week by the California Policy Center.

“This is an absolutely upside-down system,” said California Policy Center CEO Mark Bucher. “In the Golden State, it truly pays not to work.”

The new study found that the average pension for a retired public employee in California was $68,673 in 2015, before benefits. By contrast, active private-sector workers earned on average just $54,326.

That same year, the maximum Social Security benefit for a high-wage earner retiring at age 66 was just $32,244 – less than half the benefit of a retired government worker.

Study author Ed Ring analyzed 23 of the largest pension systems in California, representing 95 percent of all state and local government retirees – over 1 million retirees. …

Click here to read the full story

A Supreme Court Litmus Test from Our Founders

Photo courtesy Envios, flickr

Photo courtesy Envios, flickr

As the March 20 start of confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch approaches, Americans have been hearing about litmus tests. For instance, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have set up a standard of “being mainstream” in their eyes and respecting precedents they like, ignoring whether they violate the Constitution.

However, there is a far more relevant litmus test – our founders’ views of American government under the Constitution justices pledge to defend. They are worth reviewing as a primer for where attention should focus on any nominee for the Supreme Court.

Samuel Adams: The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution … it is our duty to defend them against all attacks … to maintain the rights bequeathed to us.

Patrick Henry: Liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.

Thomas Paine: A constitution is not the act of a government but of a people constituting a government … . All delegated power is a trust, and all assumed power is usurpation.

James Wilson: Government … should be formed to secure and enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government which has not this in view as its principal object is not a government of the legitimate kind.

Benjamin Franklin: An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges and advantages, is what every part is entitled to.

Thomas Jefferson: A sound spirit of legislation … banishing all arbitrary and unnecessary restraint on individual action, shall leave us free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another.

John Dickinson: We cannot be free, without being secure in our property … we cannot be secure in our property, if, without our consent, others may, as by right, take it away.

George Washington: [Government] has no more right to put their hands into my pockets, without my consent, than I have to put my hands into yours.

John Adams: The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. …“Thou shalt not covet” and “Thou shalt not steal” … must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be … made free.

Richard Henry Lee: It must never be forgotten … that the liberties of the people are not so safe under the gracious manner of government as by the limitation of power.

James Madison: The powers of the federal government are enumerated … it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.

John Taylor of Caroline: Every innovation which weakens the limitations and divisions of power … makes [government] strong for the object of oppression.

Alexander Hamilton: A limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing. … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.

Joseph Story: The Constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes for which those powers were conferred.

James Otis: An act against the Constitution is void.

George Mason: Flagrant violations of the Constitution must disgust the best and wisest part of the community.

Mercy Otis Warren: Any attempt [to] subvert the Constitution … cannot be too severely censured.

Our founders clearly revealed their central purpose was defending Americans’ rights and liberties against encroachment, particularly from overbearing government. That is the Supreme Court’s primary function. Therefore that should the central litmus test focus in evaluating Judge Gorsuch, as well as any other nominee, to the court tasked with preserving and protecting the highest law of the land.

Gary M. Galles is a Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, an Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and a member of the Foundation for Economic Education Faculty Network. His books include “Lines of Liberty” (2016), “Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies” (2014) and “Apostle of Peace” (2013).

Politicians Failing to Spend Our Money to Fix Roads

los-angeles-freewaysConsider this argument from Sacramento politicians: California’s roads, freeways and bridges are crumbling. Our spending on transportation is so seriously inadequate that a gas tax increase and other taxes are desperately needed to save California from ruin.

If this sounds like the shrill arguments we are currently hearing to support an increase in California’s gas tax by another 12 cents a gallon and a hike in the car tax by nearly $40, you’re only half right. Those with long memories will recall that these were the identical arguments made in 1990 by Gov. George Deukmejian and transportation interests urging the passage of Proposition 111, a 9 cents-a-gallon tax increase combined with a 55 percent increase in truck weight fees.

Demonstrating that not much has changed in a quarter-century, promoters of Prop. 111 trotted out long lists of projects that would be completed with the billions of dollars in new revenue. Advertising focused on the benefits of Proposition 111, without ever mentioning taxes.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Senate bill would eliminate income tax for California teachers

As reported by the Santa Clarita Valley Signal:

In light of the increasing teacher shortage in California, Senators Henry Stern and Cathleen Galgiani announced the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act.

If passed, Senate Bill 807 would eliminate all state income tax for teachers who stay in the classroom for more than five years, as well as provide tax credits to cover training costs and teaching credentials for new teachers.

“Teachers are the original job creators,” Stern said in a statement. “The teaching profession is critical to California’s economic success and impacts every vocation and profession in the state.”

The senate bill aims to tell teachers they are valued in California by training them and keeping them in classrooms, Stern said. In addition to encouraging people to go into teaching, the bill aims to encourage veteran teachers, former teachers and out-of-state teachers to get into California classrooms. …

Click here to read the full article

California has the nation’s highest poverty rate

California’s job and economic growth has outpaced much of the nation in recent years. That growth, however, has not eliminated one of the state’s biggest challenges: poverty.

This week, State Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes called poverty California’s No. 1 priority during a forum of legislative leaders in Sacramento.

Mayes, who represents parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, claimed the state’s poverty rate is higher than any state in the nation when considering factors such as cost-of-living.

“If you look at the official poverty measure in California, we’re about average with the rest of the country,” Mayes said. “But if you use the supplemental poverty measure, we are in the lead. We have the highest poverty rate in the nation — higher than New Mexico, higher than any of the southern states, Louisiana, Alabama, higher than Idaho.”

We decided to fact-check whether the report Mayes cited really shows that California has the highest poverty rate in the nation.

Our research

From 2013 to 2015, California had America’s 17th-highest poverty rate, 15 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Official Poverty Measure. That measure uses income levels to determine poverty, but does not consider differences in cost-of-living among states. It lists the official poverty threshold for a two-adult, two-child family at $24,036 in 2015.

During the same period, California had the highest poverty rate, 20.6 percent, according to the census’ Supplemental Poverty Measure. That study does account for cost-of-living, including taxes, housing and medical costs, and is considered by researchers a more accurate reflection of poverty. For a two-adult, two-child family in California, the poverty threshold was an average of $30,000, depending on the region in the state, according to a 2014 analysis by Public Policy Institute of California.

Looking at state poverty rates, the second highest is Florida’s 19 percent, followed by New York’s and Louisiana’s shared 17.9 percent rate. The national average is 15.1 percent using the supplemental measure.

“I think Assemblymember Mayes’ comments are accurate,” said Chris Hoene, executive director of the left-leaning California Budget Policy Center, which has closely studied poverty in the state.

Hoene said the high poverty rate in the supplemental report is driven by California’s stratospheric housing costs. He added that use of the supplemental measure has gained wide acceptance among researchers.

“I think in most quarters, that’s not disputed,” he said.

Marybeth Mattingly, a researcher at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality added by email: “Basically, yes, this statement is (sadly) accurate.”

Caroline Danielson, who studies poverty at the Public Policy Institute of California, noted that when considering the margin of error in the supplemental poverty report, California and Florida are closer than one might assume. California’s estimate has a margin of error of ± 0.8 percent while Florida’s had a margin of ± 1.1 percent.

“California’s rate is essentially the same as Florida’s,” she said. “California, we might say, is in the top two.”

Several researchers noted that California’s poverty rate has declined in recent years: “But they haven’t moved as much as you would hope,” Hoene said.

Our ruling

State Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes said recently that California has “the highest poverty rate in the nation” when considering the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure.

Data from that report, and researchers who study poverty, support Mayes’ statement. The state’s 20.6 percent poverty rate is higher than any other, though Florida’s 19 percent rate is close, especially when considering the margin of error.

The supplemental report is considered by experts the best state-by-state measure of poverty, because it takes into account geographic differences in cost-of-living, not just income levels.

In his statement, Mayes cited the specific report that backs his claim, and added the context that another report, one that doesn’t account for cost-of-living, shows California’s poverty closer to the national average.

Given this clarity and context, we rate Mayes’ statement True.

This article was originally published by Politifact.com

Why California’s Dams are Breaking

Oroville Dam 2Here’s a study you may find interesting:

Among all states, California spends the lowest percent of its budget on infrastructure, according to a report last year from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Golden State invested only 3.3 percent of its budget in 2013 on infrastructure, one of only three states that spent less than 4 percent. Texas, the most comparable state in size and population, spent almost twice as much at 6.4 percent.

We can easily see the result of this neglect. California’s roads and bridges are among the worst in the country, and the Oroville dam’s two spillways, when finally called upon to work in February, were quickly rendered useless, creating the potential for a devastating flood.

Incredibly, the state was warned in 2005 that the emergency spillway at Oroville was totally inadequate. Three environmental groups pointed out that because the spillway is a hill of bare dirt and not covered in concrete, that dirt would quickly erode as soon as water hit it, creating a potential lake-draining catastrophe. And that is exactly what happened, forcing officials to evacuate nearly 200,000 people downstream.

Despite the warning, the state chose to do nothing for 12 years. For that matter, the state has done little over the years to capture more water to supply the increasing population. That means a good deal of the heavy rainfall from this winter is draining into the ocean.

To his credit, Gov. Jerry Brown did admit recently that the state has not spent what it should on infrastructure and there is now $187 billion worth of unmet needs. Continued failure to invest, he said, could lead to an “apocalypse and absolute disaster.”

And to their credit, the state’s business community has long pushed for more infrastructure investment, seeing it as the foundation for a sound economy.

So now everyone agrees that something needs to be done. The only real question is how it will all be paid for. You can almost predict where this is headed: The legislature will push for some kind of tax increase. Even though the state has a record general fund budget and even though legislators have diverted money from infrastructure for years, the statehouse gang will cry that they just don’t have the money to pay for it all. Lack of money. That’s the problem, they’ll say.

Well, here’s another study you may find interesting:

Among all states, California collects the sixth-highest amount of tax money on a per capita basis, according to the Tax Policy Center, a left-leaning think tank.

In other words, the state already taxes its people and businesses heavily. Money is not the problem. Spending is the problem.

ditor and publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily