McCarthy praises Trump policy over “backwards” California—and is met with protest

California is raising taxes while Congressman Kevin McCarthy and President Trump is lowering taxes.  President Trump is adding jobs to the economy, California lost 50,000 jobs since February.  Trump/McCarthy want an infrastructure plan—California has the worse freeways and road sin the nation.  Yup, McCarthy is accurate—California is a backward State.  Trump is trying to make America great again, Jerry Brown is trying to make California into the North American version of Venezuela.

“Speaking at a Sacramento event hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California, McCarthy offered a laundry list of reasons why he and his caucus deserve to be reelected this November. He championed the Republican-led federal tax overhaul, which cut personal and corporate taxes across the board last December. He credited those changes to the tax code for the recent round of rosy economic statistics nationwide. He also called for tighter borders and defended the president on trade policy, predicting agreement on the North American Free Trade agreement “probably sometime within the next month.”

In contrast to federal policy, McCarthy slammed the state of California, leading with his criticism of the recent increase in the gas tax. Last year, state lawmakers hiked taxes on gasoline and diesel and introduced two new vehicle fees to fund more than $5 billion in extra transportation spending per year.”

Hopefully the voters will hear the words of McCarthy and see the results of the Trump policy and pull us from the precipice of poverty and slums by voting against Socialism on November 6, 2018.  What do you think?

kevin mccathey support photo

McCarthy praises Trump policy over “backwards” California—and is met with protest

 

Ben Christopher, CalMatters,  8/15/18 

 

Protesters outside the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Sacramento. Photo by Elizabeth Castillo for CALmatters

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy today touted federal policy under the Trump administration, in contrast to what he termed “backwards thinking” coming out of California.

“Once President Trump was elected, it seemed as though California wanted to be in a position to just sue and fight instead of take a pause and listen,” he said.

Speaking at a Sacramento event hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California, McCarthy offered a laundry list of reasons why he and his caucus deserve to be reelected this November. He championed the Republican-led federal tax overhaul, which cut personal and corporate taxes across the board last December. He credited those changes to the tax code for the recent round of rosy economic statistics nationwide. He also called for tighter borders and defended the president on trade policy, predicting agreement on the North American Free Trade agreement “probably sometime within the next month.”

In contrast to federal policy, McCarthy slammed the state of California, leading with his criticism of the recent increase in the gas tax. Last year, state lawmakers hiked taxes on gasoline and diesel and introduced two new vehicle fees to fund more than $5 billion in extra transportation spending per year.

“It’s the backwards thinking between what California is doing and what Washington (is doing),” he said. “Washington lets you keep more of your own money.”

McCarthy, whose district includes Bakersfield, is hoping to replace fellow Republican Paul Ryan as the next Speaker of the House. He’s considered the most likely successor—but only if Republicans maintain their House majority after November’s midterms.

He’s also long maintained a cozy relationship with President Trump, who once called the congressman “my Kevin.” As CALmatters’ Laurel Rosenhall wrote in her profile of the congressman last year, he has served as Congressional Republicans’ Trump-whisperer throughout the president’s tumultuous first term, “charged with shepherding the president’s legislative agenda.”

“No politician has more clout with the Trump White House than he does,” she wrote.

This November, voters will be given the chance to repeal that increase in the gas tax, with its business and labor defenders arguing that it’s necessary to maintain the state’s crumbling roads and highways, but Republicans hoping to channel opposition to boost GOP turnout.

McCarthy also lambasted plans to implement a single-payer health insurance system, either in California or nationwide. He called the state’s vehicle emission standards, which the Trump administration recently challenged, “impossible to reach” and predicted that whoever becomes the next governor of California will be forced to cancel the high-speed rail project, which is now estimated to cost up to $98 billion. Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox has promised to do just that if elected.

The interview was interrupted for several minutes by immigration activists chanting “McCarthy, where’s your heart?”

After the banner-toting activists were ushered from the room, McCarthy bemoaned what he sees as the demise of civility in our national discourse—an erosion for which many hold Trump responsible.

“Why can’t we sit down and communicate with one another?” McCarthy asked. “Why do we have to be so divided?”

 

Colman: IT’S TIME FOR A PEACEFUL, ELECTIVE COUP

Is it time to say normal politics are over?  Are we in an era where social media bans conservative thought, the news media either makes up the news, or led by the Boston Globe calls for the end of an elected president?  Our campuses, just opening have already started the riots and bullying—Cal had a sit in near the student “union” demanding that illegal aliens be allowed in our nation and they, the students get “free” tuition—to learn how to riot, rally and bully—education is not part of the equation.

In California, the Democratic Party has a virtual stranglehold on government.  The Democrats are wallowing in the excrement of identity politics — a politics based on factors other than merit.  It’s time to end Affirmative Action, a complicated way of saying quotas and discrimination take priority over ability and hard work. 

At the state-level, California Democrats have abused power by dictating land-use policies for local communities.   

Public transportation in Northern California is riddled with crime and overcompensated labor and management personnel.  Recently, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) experienced three murders in five days.  Why would anyone want to use BART?  In fact, at each BART station, there should be signs saying:  “Enter at Your Own Risk.  Possession of a firearm is recommended.” 

We need a revolution at the ballot box—short of that expect chaos, bullying, higher taxes and a government controlled by the special interests—and the corrupt.

ballots-vote

IT’S TIME FOR A PEACEFUL, ELECTIVE COUP

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views,  8/17/18

In America, including California, governments are not overthrown by violent means. 

The best way to change things is to use the ballot box. 

In California, the Democratic Party has a virtual stranglehold on government.  The Democrats are wallowing in the excrement of identity politics — a politics based on factors other than merit.  It’s time to end Affirmative Action, a complicated way of saying quotas and discrimination take priority over ability and hard work. 

At the state-level, California Democrats have abused power by dictating land-use policies for local communities.   

Public transportation in Northern California is riddled with crime and overcompensated labor and management personnel.  Recently, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) experienced three murders in five days.  Why would anyone want to use BART?  In fact, at each BART station, there should be signs saying:  “Enter at Your Own Risk.  Possession of a firearm is recommended.” 

California used to be the land of opportunity.  The public schools were good, tuition at the University of California was less than $200 a year, the freeways were not overwhelmed with traffic, and there were places to park.  Housing was affordable, and jobs were plentiful.  Today, California is more and more like Mumbai (Bombay).  California seems ungovernable. 

In California, English used to the main language.  Now, it seems that fewer and fewer people in California really how to speak, read, and write English. 

It’s time to tell people who, for general purposes, want to speak some language other than English to stop using foreign tongues — at least in public.  English must be the official language of all states in the United States.  People who disagree are free — and should — move to another country. 

At the national level, there is too much power in the presidency.  If the president wants to impose tariffs on imported goods, he must get approval from Congress.  Otherwise, the president is acting like a dictator. 

Tariffs, simply put, are taxes — taxes imposed without the consent of Congress.  Why should a president autocratically impose tariffs on imported steel, aluminum, washing machines, solar panels, and other products? 

Tariffs only invite retaliation by other nations hurt by American tariffs.  Eventually, tariffs produce higher prices and lower economic growth for all nations involved. 

In America, the rate of inflation from June 2017 to June 2018 was close to three percent.  Inflation, like tariffs, is a form of taxation — again, taxation not passed by Congress. 

Here is an example:  If a person earns $100,000 a year and there is three percent inflation, he has $97,000 left over.  If Congress passes a three percent tax, that same person will still have $97,000 left over.  No wonder people are losing confidence in the American dollar and other fiat (government) currencies.  While people are reading this commentary, the value of the money in their possession is going down. 

The Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank, has two mandates:  full employment and price stability.  There should only be one mandate:  price stability.  Otherwise, it’s time to get rid of the Federal Reserve. 

On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon ended the convertibility — at a fixed price — of dollars into gold.  Before that date, one could exchange $35 for one ounce of gold.  Today, one needs $1,200 to buy an ounce of gold.  That means that a person — 47 years later — has to pay 34 times more for an ounce of gold.  Thus, if a person earned $20,000 a year in 1971, that person would need $680,000 annually to buy that same amount of gold. 

Control of immigration is a responsibility of the federal government.  Yet, the federal government — intentionally or unintentionally — is letting millions of people enter the United States illegally.  The United States cannot accommodate all the people who want to live in this country.  Anyone who is here illegally should be deported. 

There is nothing wrong with legal immigration.  However, legal immigrants must know English and have a job.  There cannot be any government funds (welfare) for immigrants who don’t know English and are unemployed. 

Both the Democratic and Republican Parties are failing Americans.  It’s time for both parties to change.   Otherwise, it’s time for a new political party — a party for Americans who play by the rules. 

America must not have violent overthrow of the government.  But Americans must use the power of the ballot box to restore America — including California — to greatness.

 

Labor Watchdogs Back Trump’s Dues Skimming Crackdown

Did you know that unions are stealing money from the workers paid for by the VA to take care of disabled veterans?  Without permission, the unions have been taking money from the workers’ paychecks.  Thanks to President Trump, this theft is ending.  Now, will the Administration sue the unions to get the money back for the workers?

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a new proposal in July that would reverse an Obama era rule that allowed third parties such as unions to automatically deduct fees and dues from Medicaid reimbursements. Those reimbursements are generally intended to pay full-time home health aides for the disabled, which in many cases are people caring for relatives.

“This proposed rule would remove the regulatory text that allows a state to make payments to third parties on behalf of an individual provider for benefits such as health insurance, skills training, and other benefits customary for employees,” the proposal says. “We are concerned that these provisions are over broad, and insufficiently linked to the exceptions expressly permitted by the statute.”

The move earned high praise from labor watchdogs, who have long objected to using Medicaid payments to enrich labor organizations.”

Trump has also ended the free rent for unions stealing government offices for their organizing efforts.  Now they have to pay rent.  Personally, they should not be allowed to run a business on public property, period—especially a business that has as it model extortion and blackmail, plus harassment of workers that object.  What do you think?

Union

Labor Watchdogs Back Trump’s Dues Skimming Crackdown

Proposed rule would close Obama era loophole, steer millions away from unions

BY: Bill McMorris, Washington Free Beacon,  8/14/18

Labor watchdogs are praising the Trump administration for its proposal to prevent unions from siphoning off money meant to care for disabled Americans.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a new proposal in July that would reverse an Obama era rule that allowed third parties such as unions to automatically deduct fees and dues from Medicaid reimbursements. Those reimbursements are generally intended to pay full-time home health aides for the disabled, which in many cases are people caring for relatives.

“This proposed rule would remove the regulatory text that allows a state to make payments to third parties on behalf of an individual provider for benefits such as health insurance, skills training, and other benefits customary for employees,” the proposal says. “We are concerned that these provisions are overbroad, and insufficiently linked to the exceptions expressly permitted by the statute.”

The move earned high praise from labor watchdogs, who have long objected to using Medicaid payments to enrich labor organizations. Trey Kovacs, a labor expert at the pro-free market think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the rules are more in line with the spirit of supporting home health aides and caring for the disabled.

“The Trump administration rule-change will ensure Medicaid funds reach their intended destination and used exclusively to care for the elderly and disabled, not siphoned off to a labor union that may be unwanted by patients, families, and caregivers,” Kovacs said in a statement.

Labor unions have been the chief beneficiary of these automatic dues payments. CMS estimates that third party organizations have collected $71 million from such dues skimming policies, while another analysis has found that unions have pocketed as much as $150 million from these types of payments. Vincent Vernuccio, a senior policy adviser at the State Policy Network, called these practices “deceptive” and said the lower reimbursements that come after skimming “reduces the quality of care that can be provided to people who need it most.”

“No mother should be coerced into joining a union just to look after their child, and HHS’ proposed rule would ensure this never happens again,” Vernuccio said in a statement.

This is not the first time such schemes have come under scrutiny. In 2014, the Supreme Court declared an Illinois dues-skimming policy unconstitutional because the union had no input over bargaining—such as asking for higher wages—since the federal government sets reimbursements, not the states. That ruling, however, only applied to Illinois. Trump’s proposal is designed to avoid any potential work-arounds at the state or local level that would allow unions to continue collecting dues.

Labor unions that have used dues skimming in the past have accused the Trump administration of “silencing” workers. Service Employees International Union said the proposal could “endanger quality home care services” and would undermine attempts from home workers to demand higher wages or other regulations on working conditions.

“The proposed rule targets these home care workers and is designed to stop them from contributing their own wages to support their union,” the union said in a July release. “This proposal is a transparent attempt to interfere with workers’ freedom to choose to join together in a union and advocate for higher wages, better training, and basic benefits like affordable health care and paid sick time that are crucial to ensure quality home care.”

The National Right to Work Foundation helped to bring the suit that ended Illinois’ dues skimming practice. President Mark Mix said in a statement that he hopes the new rule would settle the question and eliminate any future loopholes. He called on the agency to adopt the proposal “expeditiously.”

“It is long past time that this outrageous attempt to create another exemption in federal law for union officials be ended,” Mix said in a press release. “Despite the wishes of the politicians they back, union officials are not exempt from federal law. All the current proposed rule change would do is close the illegal loophole the Obama administration attempted to create.”

The public comment period for the proposed rule ended Monday evening. The department will issue a final rule after reviewing the submissions, though no formal date for that response has yet been issued.

 

Motorists In Los Angeles Take $3,000 Hit Due To Bad Roads, Congestion

Thanks to government corruption, mismanagement and ineptness, the cost of driving a car in the Los Angeles area has an added $3,000 per year.  If that is not enough, we also have dozens of unsafe bridges—you could see yourself on the evening news re-living your car going down and collapsed bridge—exciting!!

“Driving on Los Angeles area roads costs motorists nearly $3,000 a year in vehicle repairs, fuel costs, the results of crashes and lost time because of traffic congestion, a transportation research organization said Wednesday.

The Washington, D.C.-based group TRIP found that throughout California more than two-thirds of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing drivers more than $900 dollars a year in the form of accelerated vehicle depreciation, repair costs, increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

A report from the group also stated that 176 of the 4,703 bridges that are 20 feet or more in length in the Los Angeles area are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.”

We have the highest gas taxes in the nation and the least amount going to the streets and roads—corruption?  This is how a socialist government operates—they create a problem, tax you to fix it, then spend the money on trains, buses and choo choo trains to nowhere!

Photo courtesy of Eric Garcetti, Flickr.

Motorists In Los Angeles Take $3,000 Hit Due To Bad Roads, Congestion

Posted by Contributing Editor, MyNewsLA, 8/15/18    :

Driving on Los Angeles area roads costs motorists nearly $3,000 a year in vehicle repairs, fuel costs, the results of crashes and lost time because of traffic congestion, a transportation research organization said Wednesday.

The Washington, D.C.-based group TRIP found that throughout California more than two-thirds of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing drivers more than $900 dollars a year in the form of accelerated vehicle depreciation, repair costs, increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

A report from the group also stated that 176 of the 4,703 bridges that are 20 feet or more in length in the Los Angeles area are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

TRIP also found that drivers paid on average about $300 for vehicle repairs from traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor.

Traffic congestion is worsening in the Los Angeles area, causing 82 hours of delay a year and costing drivers nearly $1800 in lost time and wasted fuel, TRIP said.

The report stated the efficiency and condition of California’s transportation system, in particular its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses deciding where to relocate or expand may look for states with smoother, more efficient roads and modern transportation systems, impacting the nearly $3 trillion in goods that are shipped to and from sites in California, mostly by trucks, relying on the state’s freeways and bridges, said TRIP.

“Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving California’s drivers time and money,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director.

The TRIP report, “Los Angeles Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the Region’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility” is available at tripnet.org.

Native Tribes Are Taking Fire Control Into Their Own Hands

Good news for the Native Tribes—they are now able to manage their forest to protect themselves and property from out of control, massively intense and large fire.  How?  By using common sense and cutting down dead trees, taking them away—making some money from them, then clearing the brush—so there is less fuel for the fire.

Too bad Jerry Brown and the previous Washington Administration want out of control fires—they outlawed cutting dead trees and dead brush—they wanted the fuel for a fire to exist.

“Such scenery is rare in the western US today, a result of 1911 federal legislation that made it illegal to ignite fires on public forest lands. That legislation curtailed centuries of forest management by the native Karuk, Yurok, and Hupa people, who had long lived in villages dotted throughout these forests; a 1918 US Forest Service ranger’s memo declared that “renegade Indian” fires were rooted in “pure cussedness.”

A hundred years later, though, western science and policy-makers are rethinking the subject. Federal forests are now choked with dead leaves, brush, and dense fir trees, a tinderbox for wildfires whirling out of control. Between 1975 and 1985, wildfires burned just over 2,000 acres a year in the Klamath area. In the decade from 2005 to 2015, that number averaged more than 350,000 acres a year. So in a new policy, the Forest Service on July 27 signed an implementation plan for managing public forest lands—an agreement in which both fire and the Karuk play a vital role.”

Once again, native Americans are, and were, smarter that the out of place government in Washington—glad to see at least native American forests can be saved—how about Yosemite?

Rainforest

Native Tribes Are Taking Fire Control Into Their Own Hands

Mejs Hasan, Wired,  8/14/18

The Klamath region near the California-Oregon border is home to indigenous tribes that once used controlled burns to prevent wildfires. Now, their role is being restored.

Sometimes Vikki Preston is inching her way through the forest when she comes across a grove of tan oak trees that feels special. The plants are healthy, the trees are old, and their trunks are nicely spaced out on the forest floor. “You can feel that the grove has been taken care of,” she says. “There’s been a lot of love and thoughtfulness.”

Tan oak groves have long been tended by indigenous people who still live along the banks of the forested Klamath and Salmon Rivers near the California-Oregon border. Preston, a cultural resource technician for the Karuk tribe, grew up watching her grandfather tend just such a grove—by burning it. Fire helped cleared away small pines, alders, and willows. It killed pests like weevils that ruin acorns, and allowed for new, straight shoots of hazel to grow that can be used for basket-weaving. It left a forest sentineled with sugar pine and oaks, scattered with meadows full of wildflowers and ferns.

Such scenery is rare in the western US today, a result of 1911 federal legislation that made it illegal to ignite fires on public forest lands. That legislation curtailed centuries of forest management by the native Karuk, Yurok, and Hupa people, who had long lived in villages dotted throughout these forests; a 1918 US Forest Service ranger’s memo declared that “renegade Indian” fires were rooted in “pure cussedness.”

A hundred years later, though, western science and policy-makers are rethinking the subject. Federal forests are now choked with dead leaves, brush, and dense fir trees, a tinderbox for wildfires whirling out of control. Between 1975 and 1985, wildfires burned just over 2,000 acres a year in the Klamath area. In the decade from 2005 to 2015, that number averaged more than 350,000 acres a year. So in a new policy, the Forest Service on July 27 signed an implementation plan for managing public forest lands—an agreement in which both fire and the Karuk play a vital role.

The first project will burn 5,570 acres near Somes Bar, California, with the Karuk, NGOs, and state and federal agencies all working to manage the project’s contracts and workforce for the next 10 years. To prepare the forest, Karuk and other local work crews will first saw away some brush and thick vegetation, lightening the load of flammable material, explains Bill Tripp from the Karuk Department of Natural Resources. They will also use heavy equipment to thin out some dense stands of conifer trees, opening up room for hardwoods that are being shaded out.

A few landowners whose homesteads are tucked within the public forest are wary of the controlled burns. But Will Harling, codirector of the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council, says most of them have come to see the logic in it. It’s the difference between having a few days of smoky air and long months of wildfire smoke. And part of the work crews’ task is to dig up a bare-soil buffer to protect private lands.

Usually, if a prescribed burn gets out of control, it’s due to inexperience. But among the Karuk, Yurok, and Hupa, fire knowledge is deep—and now that laws are changing, that knowledge can finally be applied. Preston attends a yearly managed-fire training program, TREX, in her small hometown of Orleans. The two-week program attracts about 80 to 100 participants, who learn to spray water, create fire buffers, and determine safe temperature and wind conditions for managed fires. At the end, the teams conduct a prescribed burn on a few hundred acres of forest. Trained youth teach their new skills to their parents, filling in generational gaps where traditions were lost (federal policies separated Karuk children from their families for “re-education” in the early 1900s).

Getting to this point took a lot of work. In 2009 a previous collaboration between the Forest Service and the Karuk fell apart when a ceremonial trail was damaged by loggers. During discussions, the Karuk had pointed out the significance of this trail, but their requested protections never made it into the Forest Service logging contract. Resentment built and all sides found themselves in court, where the contract was ordered to be rewritten with cultural protection in place.

Just around that time, Randy Moore became the regional forester for the Forest Service in the area. Moore grew up in Louisiana and moved to North Dakota to work with natural resources. “I was shy and reserved,” Moore recalls, and he stood out as an African-American man. “I didn’t think anyone wanted to know what I think. What made a difference to me was when people invited me into the conversation.”

Moore remembered that feeling when he started working in the Klamath River area. To rebuild trust, he hired two Hupa members, Merv George and Nolan Colegrove, to his team. “They were both highly qualified,” Moore says, “and I really mean that.” In 2013, the Karuk and NGOs led the formation of the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership, with members including indigenous people, the Forest Service, landowners, and fire safety councils. The Nature Conservancy facilitated the hodgepodge of interests through public workshops, out of which emerged the first pilot project at Somes Bar. It was just awarded $5 million from Cal FIRE, besides other funding from the Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

On July 27, about 40 people assembled around a table placed at Camp Creek in the forest outside of Orleans to watch the Forest Service sign the project implementation plan. “We had elders crying their eyes out. They never thought they’d see this day,” says David Medford Rubalcaba, who heads the Karuk’s Integrated Fire and Fuels Management Program and is in charge of the Karuk work crews who will carry out the project. “There’s still some people around here who think natives are savages. But western science is catching up. They’re finally realizing that Native Americans have had this [forest management] knowledge all along.”

One day, Rubalcaba hopes they will manage the entire 1.4 million-acre area that comprises Karuk aboriginal lands, almost all of it administered by the Forest Service today. But in the near future, they at least want to clear away enough brush and forest litter so it will be safe enough to perform ceremonial burning for the Karuk’s World Renewal Ceremony at Offield Mountain. Ceremonial burning has been absent for over a century.

American Indians across the US are now contacting Tripp, Rubalcaba, and others in the Klamath River, wondering what chances they have for similar partnerships. Many tribes in different parts of the country are in conflict with local authorities—from state agencies controlling reservation water resources in Wyoming, to oil and gas companies threatening to disrupt reservation lands in Oklahoma. Rubalcaba offers them advice and some hope: “Washington, DC, is watching what’s happening here; they’re aware. If you can’t convince your local agencies to help, what about Congress or your governor? If you can’t build it with them, go higher up, go to Washington, go to the media. You’ll get somebody’s ear. Talk to other tribes, find out what ear they have. But don’t wait, don’t waste time.”

Future Taxpayers and Public Employees Are Paying for Past Pension Mistakes

In 1998 or 1999, the California legislature passed SB 400—since then CalPRS and CalSTS have been pushed into insolvency—kept alive by doubling the mandated contributions and having the State add hundreds of millions each year—otherwise, the doors would close.  If either were in the private sector, the government would close them down.  Then you have cities and school districts raise wages without thought of the added pension costs—again, creating massive deficits in the programs.

“As San Diego County sues its own pension fund for the right to slash benefits for new hires, and while taxpayer costs continue their ascent to record-high levels, understanding the true cause of the county’s pension crisis is more important than ever.

While some blame the stock market crash of 2008-09, the real culprit was an explosive growth in the size of promised pension benefits, and the flawed accounting practices that encouraged such recklessness. Over the past 30 years, the accrued liabilities of the San Diego County pension fund, SDCERA, increased by nearly 1,300 percent — almost four times more than the growth in the county’s total personal income over that same time period.”

It is a disaster waiting to happen, like watching a train wreck and government adds to the problem.  Now future employees will pay for the sins of the past—sounds like government, right?

SACRAMENTO, CA - JULY 21:   A sign stands in front of California Public Employees' Retirement System building July 21, 2009 in Sacramento, California. CalPERS, the state's public employees retirement fund, reported a loss of 23.4%, its largest annual loss. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

Future Taxpayers and Public Employees Are Paying for Past Pension Mistakes

Public sector unions are displeased at proposals to make the full cost of their pensions known. But as the experience of San Diego County so aptly demonstrates, the damage caused by overpromising is often borne by government workers themselves, particularly future hires.

 

Robert Fellner, Voice of San Diego,8/14/18

As San Diego County sues its own pension fund for the right to slash benefits for new hires, and while taxpayer costs continue their ascent to record-high levels, understanding the true cause of the county’s pension crisis is more important than ever.

While some blame the stock market crash of 2008-09, the real culprit was an explosive growth in the size of promised pension benefits, and the flawed accounting practices that encouraged such recklessness.

Over the past 30 years, the accrued liabilities of the San Diego County pension fund, SDCERA, increased by nearly 1,300 percent — almost four times more than the growth in the county’s total personal income over that same time period.

The willingness to make such large pension promises stems from accounting practices that understate their cost by ignoring risk entirely.

Specifically, by treating assumed future stock market returns as certain — despite acknowledging their investments will underperform expectations roughly 50 percent of the time — SDCERA can “discount,” or minimize, the estimated cost associated with safely funded employees’ future pension benefits.

Of course, ignoring risk on your balance sheet doesn’t make it go away in the real world, which is why this approach is outlawed in the private sector and rejected by public pension plans in more than 100 countries worldwide, with U.S. state and local public pension plans being the only exception from that consensus.

This also reveals why blaming San Diego County’s soaring pension costs on the Great Recession is so misleading. The cost was created when the promises were made, as indicated by SDCERA’s nearly 1,300 percent increase in accrued liabilities, not when they were exposed by a market downturn.

But because defraying costs to future generations is so politically attractive, there has been little interest in reform, despite the urgings of those like Warren Buffet, Nobel Laureate William F. Sharpe and what seems like the entirety of the economics profession.

Thankfully, after years of fierce criticism by prominent actuaries worried about the harm that would befall their profession as a result of its continued silence, the Actuarial Standards Board proposed a new rule that would finally require pension plans to meaningfully account for risk.

While the proposal would simply require plans to disclose the level of risk associated with their funding strategy, government unions are nonetheless howling in displeasure at the idea, terrified at the consequences of making the full cost of their pensions known.

But this reflexive opposition to honest accounting is short-sighted and destructive. As the experience of San Diego County so aptly demonstrates, the damage caused by overpromising is often borne by government workers themselves, particularly future hires.

After having been lulled into a false sense of security by numbers that overstated the health of the fund while understating the cost of increasing benefits, the County Board of Supervisors in 2002 passed a 50 percent benefit enhancement for all county employees.

But when the inevitable market downturn hit — a certainty for any long-term investor like SDCERA — paying the full cost of the 2002 enhancement fell to today’s taxpayers and public employees, who never received any of the benefits they are now being required to pay for.

In addition to forcing both groups to pay more, while getting less, the county also repeatedly cut the benefits offered to new hires to get its soaring retirement costs under control.

After reducing the retirement benefits offered to new hires in 2009 and again in 2013, the county earlier this year approved a plan to cut new employees’ benefits to the lowest level allowable under law, which are worth roughly half as much as those received by pre-2009 employees.

The current lawsuit that has delayed the implementation of this new, bare-bones retirement plan focuses only on how and when that plan will be implemented, not if.

This makes clear that all groups — including government employees — are harmed by the status quo.

Had the Board of Supervisors been informed of the true cost of the excessive and unnecessary 2002 benefit enhancement — and the degree of risk associated with relying on stock market returns to pay for it — this whole mess could have been avoided.

Requiring public pension funds like SDCERA to meaningfully account for risk will make it much harder for policymakers to force future generations to pay for their past funding failures.

And that’s good news for everyone concerned with the fiscal health of the county and the fair treatment of all its citizens — taxpayers and public employees alike.

Robert Fellner is executive director of Transparent California, a public pay database supported by the nonpartisan Nevada Policy Research Institute.

Meet Morgan Murtaugh, The Youngest Female Congressional Candidate

The future of the Republican party can be found in San Diego—our candidate for Congress against the Pelosi rubber stamp, Susan Davis, is a young lady—Morgan Murtaugh.  She has come to the attention not only of the folks in the District, but this article first appeared in the Federalist, from Washington, D.C.

You’re a young, Latina woman running for Congress against a powerful incumbent. Your description is similar to the Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but only one of you is on Trevor Noah’s show. Why do you think that is?

I had an interview with Marie Claire earlier and they made it clear to me that the reason AOC has been getting the attention versus me is because she “already beat the incumbent,” and because according to them, she’s a shoe-in.

The sad part is, we got about the same amount of votes primary night. We turned out about the same amount of people. I’m the youngest candidate in the nation running for Congress; however, I’m on the Republican ticket, and I don’t fit the narrative. I like being the underdog, though. I have a lot to gain and nothing to lose.”

Isn’t this the type of candidate we want?  Not only watch this race—help this candidate.

Photo courtesy of Rob Crawley, flickr

Photo courtesy of Rob Crawley, flickr

Meet Morgan Murtaugh, The Youngest Female Congressional Candidate

A young, female 20-something is looking to upset how things are done in Washington DC by defeating a long-entrenched incumbent. She’s not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s not even a Democrat.

By Juliana Knot, The Federalist, 8/15/18

A young, female 20-something is looking to upset how things are done in Washington DC by defeating a long-entrenched incumbent. She’s the youngest person running for Congress in 2018. She’s not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s not even a Democrat.

Morgan Murtaugh is running as a Republican for Democrat Rep. Susan Davis’s seat in California’s 35th District. Davis has held the seat for 15 years. The Federalist talked with Murtaugh about her platform and why she thinks she can turn this blue district red.

CA-53 has been blue ever since its creation in 2003. California has consistently voted for Democrats. What made you think that the district might want to shift red?

This district has been blue since its creation, yes, but that’s because the same person has held the seat since its creation. What people don’t realize is that San Diego County has consistently been a red county until only recently [when it] has begun to shift to purple. As someone who has been born and raised in this district, with family and friends on all ends of this district, who went to school, played sports, got baptized, and even had my first kiss in this district, I know it like the back of my hand.

I know the people here and I know that what we need is someone who is ready to take into consideration the wants and needs of the district over the wants and needs of special-interest groups. The truth is, in order to shift the blue tide in California we need to have the conversations everyone, especially our current leadership, avoids having. That’s what I’m doing and that’s why I think we have a good shot at winning this.

You’re a young, Latina woman running for Congress against a powerful incumbent. Your description is similar to the Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but only one of you is on Trevor Noah’s show. Why do you think that is?

I had an interview with Marie Claire earlier and they made it clear to me that the reason AOC has been getting the attention versus me is because she “already beat the incumbent,” and because according to them, she’s a shoe-in.

The sad part is, we got about the same amount of votes primary night. We turned out about the same amount of people. I’m the youngest candidate in the nation running for Congress; however, I’m on the Republican ticket, and I don’t fit the narrative. I like being the underdog, though. I have a lot to gain and nothing to lose.

A Gallup poll just said that more Democrats identify with socialism than with capitalism. Many young people are spearheading this change. How do you feel about millennials’ embrace of socialism?

This to me is so terrifying that it’s in my stump speech. I truly believe that young people who identify with socialism, a lot of them, don’t know what that really means. I say this because, labels aside, when I talk to people about my platform many identify with it. Many millennials identify with lower taxes, equal opportunity, individual liberty, and, let’s be quite frank here… no one can live that “Instagram lifestyle” with socialism.

The only way we are going to really make a difference in this scary shift in way of thought is to have conversations and explain to people what we stand for as Republicans and why we are the better choice in the long run.

You are openly campaigning on reforming Social Security, a political taboo. Why are you so outspoken on an issue that most politicians avoid?

I think that most career politicians avoid it because they are pandering to their peers, their base of voters. But the truth is, millennials are going to be the largest voting bloc by 2020 and we are the generation that are going to feel the repercussions of the inaction, of our lack of leadership, for so long now.

We are the future, but our current leadership can’t seem to get out of the past. They say they’re progressive, but their actions speak otherwise. It’s time for the next generation of leadership to step forward and clean up the mess that they made with Social Security, because right now we are paying into a system that we will never see a dime back from, and that’s not okay.

Your website does not highlight any social issues like abortion or same-sex marriage. You have said before that people “continue to vote blue based on social issues and not fiscal ones.” Do you share the same stance as the GOP on social issues? If so, why are you not actively campaigning on them?

I’m campaigning on the issues that affect people’s everyday lives here in San Diego like border security, tax reform, entitlement reform… The Supreme Court already decided on same-sex marriage, and they already decided on abortion. My personal opinions on the issues aside, it frustrates me to see Republicans continue to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to these issues.

Instead of focusing on issues we can solve to make sure that future generations can continue to live the American Dream for years to come, many Republicans want to keep fighting a fight that has already ended. If the GOP wants to avoid this blue wave, we need to campaign on the issues directly affecting our constituents and not on issues that the high court has already decided on.

You fiercely support the First Amendment and have said that you will withhold funds to public universities that silence speech. This is one of the first issues you reference on your website. Why did you choose to highlight this issue?

This is a very important issue to me because what we are seeing in DC is directly reflected of what we are seeing on college campuses and home. Our leadership cannot seem to have a conversation on the issues affecting our nation, instead they obstruct the other side every chance they get and the same goes for college campuses.

With groups such as Antifa doing everything that they can to silence speech they disagree with. Our universities are supposed to be a place of diverse opinion to foster learning and growth, something we seem to have forgotten. We need to find a way to foster that same type of environment again before we lose what it truly means to be Americans.

You’re the underdog, running against a well-financed, well-established candidate. What advantages do you have over your opponent?

Heart. I have so much love for my community that there’s no doubt in my mind that we can do this. I doubt my opponent has knocked on a door in over a decade. I know she has never debated an opponent even though she’s been challenged, and I know that God is with me on this one because I’ve never been more sure of a path than the one I’m on right now. I know he has a plan, and I’m where I’m supposed to be.

You can read more about Murtaugh on her website.

Juliana Knot is an intern at The Federalist.

Housing affordability hits a decade low in Tulare County

Get real—even the Central Valley is caught in the tax and spend, regulate to death goals of Sacramento.  Worse, its main industry, agriculture, is being killed by the lack of water due to Jerry Brown trying to kill off this vital industry.  Want to build a new home after January1, 2020 in the Central Valley or elsewhere in California—you MUST use solar panels—to kill off the oil industry and make the cost of housing go up.

“Statewide, only 26% of California households could afford to purchase the $596,730 median-priced home in the second quarter of 2018, down from 31% in first-quarter 2018 and down from 29% a year ago. This is the 21st consecutive quarter that the index has been below 40 percent. California’s housing affordability index hit a peak of 56 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

A minimum annual income of $126,490 was needed to qualify for the purchase of a $596,730 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the second quarter of 2018. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, would be $3,160, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.70 percent. The effective composite interest rate in first-quarter 2018 was 4.44 percent and 4.09 percent in the second quarter of 2017.

Why is Texas doing so well—Sacramento wants you out of the State, NOW.

Housing

Housing affordability hits a decade low in Tulare County

Posted by: Reggie Ellis, Sun-Gazette,  8/15/18

California Association of Realtors says only 65% of households can afford an entry level home

TULARE COUNTY – The number of families who can afford to buy a home in Tulare County is at a low for the decade since the housing market crashed.

According to a report released earlier this month by the California Association of Realtors (CAR), Tulare County has seen one of the biggest drops in affordability compared to surrounding counties in the last year due to a combination of record home price increases and higher interest rates. Sixty-five percent of households could afford to purchase an entry level home in the second quarter of 2018, that’s down 2% from the first quarter of 2018 and down 4% from 2017. Tulare County was among nine Central Valley counties to see a decrease in housing affordability from a year ago (Fresno, Kern, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare). Kings County remained unchanged and Madera County saw a 7% improvement.

CAR’s Housing Affordability Index (HAI) measures the percentage of all households that can afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in California. C.A.R. also reports affordability indices for regions and select counties within the state. The index is considered the most fundamental measure of housing well-being for home buyers in the state.

That doesn’t mean Tulare County isn’t affordable. Tulare’s median home price is still $198,050, with an average monthly mortgage payment of $1,060, lower than all of the surrounding counties and the fourth lowest in the state. CAR estimates that households making more than $31,000 can afford a home in Tulare County.

Tulare County is still one of the most affordable counties in California, only trailing Madera (71%), Kings (70%), and Lassen (77%) Counties.

The Central Valley remains the most affordability region for housing statewide. Every county between Kern and Placer Counties is double the state average of 26% and close to the national average of 69%. Overall, nearly two-thirds (63%) of Valley households can afford a single-family home compared with 60% in the Inland Empire, less than half in Los Angeles area (48%) and just over one-third (34%) in the Bay Area.

Statewide, only 26% of California households could afford to purchase the $596,730 median-priced home in the second quarter of 2018, down from 31% in first-quarter 2018 and down from 29% a year ago. This is the 21st consecutive quarter that the index has been below 40 percent. California’s housing affordability index hit a peak of 56 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

A minimum annual income of $126,490 was needed to qualify for the purchase of a $596,730 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the second quarter of 2018. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, would be $3,160, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.70 percent. The effective composite interest rate in first-quarter 2018 was 4.44 percent and 4.09 percent in the second quarter of 2017.

Housing affordability for condominiums and townhomes also fell in second-quarter 2018 compared to the previous quarter with 36 percent of California households earning the minimum income to qualify for the purchase of a $477,790 median-priced condominium/townhome, down from 39 percent in the first quarter. An annual income of $101,270 was required to make monthly payments of $2,530.

 

Massachusetts Mayor Appears to be Mentally Ill With TDS—Need Therapy?

Now we have elected officials bullying major corporations—for the crime of meeting with the President of the United States.  Civility has ended, rational discourse has ended, now it is them vs. us and if you are a Socialist Democrat it is your goal to end jobs and free speech—in that order.

Boston Business Journal reports that Sam Adams founder Jim Koch and other business executives dined with the president last Wednesday. During dinner, Koch reportedly thanked the president for a tax cut that would greatly help his business compete against foreign brewers. According to the report, Koch told Trump, “The tax reform was a very big deal for all of us, because 85 percent of the beer made in the United States is owned by foreign companies.” He added that American beer companies paid 38 percent in taxes while foreign competitors paid 20 percent.

An angered Curtatone tweeted a promise to boycott Sam Adams beer. He also wrote, “We need to hold these complicit profiteers of Trump’s white nationalist agenda accountable.”

This Mayor is a Marxist!!  He compares tax cuts, creating jobs and making families prosperous as an act of “white nationalism”.  How sicj is this guy—and how sick are those that elected him.  Now you understand why the Democrat Party is the modern Socialist Party—they believe capitalism, by its very nature, is racist.  Sad.  Sick.  I will never eat Boston beans again.  Or Boston cream pie.

Donald Trump political ad

Massachusetts Mayor Claims Sam Adams Is Profiting Off Trump’s ‘White Nationalist Agenda’

Taking a tax break now amounts to taking a side.

Zuri Davis, Reason, 8/14/18

:

Joseph  Curtatone, the Democratic mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, is calling on city residents to boycott the beer company Sam Adams for profiting off President Trump’s “white nationalist agenda.”

Boston Business Journal reports that Sam Adams founder Jim Koch and other business executives dined with the president last Wednesday. During dinner, Koch reportedly thanked the president for a tax cut that would greatly help his business compete against foreign brewers. According to the report, Koch told Trump, “The tax reform was a very big deal for all of us, because 85 percent of the beer made in the United States is owned by foreign companies.” He added that American beer companies paid 38 percent in taxes while foreign competitors paid 20 percent.

An angered Curtatone tweeted a promise to boycott Sam Adams beer. He also wrote, “We need to hold these complicit profiteers of Trump’s white nationalist agenda accountable.”

There have been significant changes in favor of American beer recently. Last year, Reason‘s Christian Britschgi reported that a bipartisan Senate tax reform bill cut taxes for brewers, vintners, and distillers—in some cases by half. Additionally, the bill would ease some regulations on things such as bookkeeping and easier transportation between distilleries. The law went into effect at the beginning of 2018.

“That would have a huge impact on our business,” Julie Verratti, co-founder of Denizens Brewing Company, said. “Any type of alleviation is huge for us.”

As Reason‘s Scott Shackford previously reported, this is not the first time a popular beer faced criticism from a Democratic politician for its proximity to Trump. After Dick Yuengling Jr. of the Yuengling brewery welcomed Eric Trump to the brewery in 2016, Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims responded with, “Goodbye Yuengling and shame on you.” Though Yuengling Jr. said a Trump presidency would help create more companies like his, Sims dismissed his support as “anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-racial minority and anti-equality.”

Following the tweet storm, Curtatone addressed critics who promised to make Sam Adams their beer of choice.

 

Sacramento Democrats: Dumb Down Education—Ethnic Studies NOT Computer Studies

In a world where technology is king and the rest of the world is flipping burgers, Sacramento Legislative Democrats are demanding that students NOT succeed in life—instead learn about ethnic heritage, not coding and computers.  The good news is that students in other States will be able to get California jobs with significantly less competition from those with a diploma from a California school.

It is good to know about Caesar Chavez—but will then learn he opposed illegal aliens?  I doubt it.  Still, that is one less class the student can take that is meaningful in their lives—like computer science.

“This week the Legislature—which had been considering a bill to make California the first state to require ethnic studies for high school graduation—backed away from creating such a statewide mandate, citing costs estimated to top $400 million. Sponsors settled on a pilot program instead.

The pilot would cover 10 to 15 school districts across the state that will opt in to have ethnic studies as a graduation requirement. Schools would begin applying next year and the program would create the requirement for some students as early as 2022, with schools reporting their findings in 2024.

A state law passed in 2016 already encourages high schools to offer an elective course in ethnic studies, and requires the state to create a model curriculum for the class by 2020. Currently only 1 percent of California’s public high school students take ethnic studies.

Too bad California education is about race, gender, social justice, not education.  Want poverty, stop education—as the Sacramento Democrats have done.

Walton_High_School_New_Classroom

Require ethnic studies to graduate high school? California inches closer to the idea

By Elizabeth Castillo, CalMatters,  8/14/18

 

As a teacher in Los Angeles county, Jose Lara has fought for years to have ethnic studies taught in high schools across the state. He’s taught the course for 13 years and says he’s seen his students transform by studying their history—whether learning about Cesar Chavez, who led the farmworkers movement in the ’60s, or about Angel Island, a port of entry near San Francisco that limited Chinese immigration in the early 1900s.

“Ethnic studies helps students develop an academic identity,” he said. “It really builds empathy cross-culturally as well so it brings communities that may be different from one another closer together.”

But skeptics say the state couldn’t afford to require such a course. Some critics go even further, insisting the state shouldn’t reinforce “identity politics” and instead should laser-focus on shrinking the academic achievement gap for black and Latino students.

This week the Legislature—which had been considering a bill to make California the first state to require ethnic studies for high school graduation—backed away from creating such a statewide mandate, citing costs estimated to top $400 million. Sponsors settled on a pilot program instead.

The pilot would cover 10 to 15 school districts across the state that will opt in to have ethnic studies as a graduation requirement. Schools would begin applying next year and the program would create the requirement for some students as early as 2022, with schools reporting their findings in 2024.

A state law passed in 2016 already encourages high schools to offer an elective course in ethnic studies, and requires the state to create a model curriculum for the class by 2020. Currently only 1 percent of California’s public high school students take ethnic studies.

Other states, including Indiana and Oregon, have also boosted instruction of ethnic studies in recent years.

“This needs to be taught,” said the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblymember Jose Medina of Riverside. “I don’t know how a person can say they’re educated without knowledge of other groups, other cultures, other histories.”

Democrats who control the state Capitol—and even some Republicans—had voted for the statewide mandate, but its price tag led the California School Boards Association to oppose it.  The new changes that water it down to a pilot program may help the bill overcome a key hurdle this week when the Senate Appropriations Committee will kill many bills that propose costly new programs.

But even the weaker version is unlikely to mollify critics who say schools shouldn’t impose another graduation requirement when so many students are struggling with English and math. Just 32 percent of 11th graders met math standards on state exams last year, and 60 percent met standards for reading and writing.

“We have a very large segment of our black population, specifically they are boys who by a certain age in their educational career can’t read and write at the same level as their white counterparts,” said Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of Lake Elsinore, who voted against the bill.

“I think more of a focus on the essentials, the basics, for students is where the focus should be.”

But with students of color making up more than 70 percent of California’s public school population, some educators say a class in ethnic studies could boost student success.

“I believe this is critical to allow schools districts to adapt their courses to reflect the pupil demographics in their communities as an innovative strategy to constructively impact students both socially and academically,” state Superintendent Tom Torlakson said in a statement.

Medina and Lara pointed to research that found students enrolled in an ethnic studies course fare better in other coursework as well. The study followed 1,400 9th graders in the San Francisco Unified School District and found that for students taking ethnic studies, attendance increased by 21 percent, and their grade point averages improved by 1.4 points.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the ethnic studies curriculum covers ethnic identities including African-American, Latino American, American Indian and Asian American. The course includes a PBS documentary on the Trail of Tears, where thousands of Native Americans died while being forcibly removed by the federal government in the 1830s. It also covers contemporary developments, such as President Barack Obama’s 2013 speech on Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old unarmed African American fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a 28-year old neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida.

A model curriculum for the statewide course would include lessons on the student protests at San Francisco State University that first ignited the ethnic studies movement in 1968.