How Would President Hillary Affect California?

Photo courtesy SEIU International, flickr

Photo courtesy SEIU International, flickr

Should Hillary Clinton be elected president on Nov. 8, how would that affect California?

1) National recession. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard just reported in the Telegraph, “The risk of a U.S. recession next year is rising fast. The Federal Reserve has no margin for error. Liquidity is suddenly drying up. Early warning indicators from U.S. ‘flow of funds’ data point to an incipient squeeze, the long-feared capitulation after five successive quarters of declining corporate profits.”

Uh-oh.

There are ways to deal with this. When something similar happened 35 years ago, President Reagan and Fed Chairman Paul Volcker met it with cuts in taxes and regulations and stabilizing the dollar at $350 an ounce of gold – even though Volcker pushed up interest rates to kill off the 1970s inflation. As Reagan later admitted, it was a mistake to delay the bulk of his tax cuts to 1983. But when the tax cuts finally freed the economy, that year it grew at 7 percent, and at least 4 percent annually until President George H.W. Bush’s “Read my lips! New taxes!” tax increase of 1991 sparked a recession.

Donald Trump’s program would be similar. But we’re talking here about Hillary, who wants more taxes and regulations. Assuming Republicans still control the House, she’s unlikely to impose higher taxes; but taxes won’t go lower, either. And President Obama has shown how executive orders can greatly increase the intrusive powers of the regulatory state. She has regretted promising, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” And she supposedly believes those jobs will be replaced by “green jobs.” But that just means more Solyndras.

2) Massive California budget deficits. If the Fed increases interest rates, that finally would end its Zero Interest Rate disaster, now more than eight years long, which has devastated middle-class savings. But raising interest rates would tank the places money has been forced to go: the stock market and real estate.

That would shrink California tax collections, which rely abnormally on income, capital gains and (despite Proposition 13) property taxes. The state’s $7 billion “rainy day fund” would dry up fast. Soon we’d be back to $20 billion-plus deficits.

3) Split-roll tax increase? The deficits would spark calls for yet another tax increase to keep the state spending spree going. If Democrats again grab 2/3 of both houses of the Legislature, they could pass tax increases themselves, with no Republican input. But moderate Democrats likely would torpedo that. And Gov. Jerry Brown probably would say it should be put before voters for the June or November 2018 ballots; probably the latter because of greater (more liberal) turnout.

With the Proposition 55 income tax increase (or “extension”) likely having passed in 2016, it would be tough to push income tax rates yet higher, say to 15 percent from an already staggering 13.3 percent. Moreover, the declining revenues would be due to a drop-off in income and cap gains taxes, so increasing taxes on lower revenues wouldn’t help that much.

So the push would be for a split-roll tax on property, with Prop. 13’s protections remaining for homes. A higher tax would be levied on commercial property, possibly with an exemption for apartments. As we’ve seen whenever this proposal has come up, it would be a battle royale between the public-employee unions and such anti-tax groups as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who probably would win.

Here are a couple of “positive” things for California:

4) More defense spending and jobs. Hillary heavily pushed for the bombing in 1999 of Serbia over Kosovo and in 2011 of Libya. She also supported the Iraq and Afghan wars; as well as other wars in Ukraine, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, etc. And every chance she gets she attacks Russian President Vladimir Putin and says Donald Trump is his puppet. Wars are the greatest way to boost defense spending because you have to replace the depleted materiel.

Moreover, a President Hillary would have stronger political and economic ties to California than any president since Reagan and, before him, Richard Nixon of Yorba Linda. As did LBJ in the 1960s, the Bushes moved a great deal of defense spending to Texas. So did Vice President Dick Cheney, the former chief of Houston-based Halliburton. Assuming she doesn’t get into a nuclear tiff with Putin and get us all killed, that will mean more defense industry jobs for Californians. Also more jobs in the U.S. Army’s Mortuary Affairs service.

5) A more level playing field with other states. Enthused AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, “[A]ction taken by California to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will have far-reaching effects by encouraging other states, the federal government, and other countries to act.” That hasn’t happened. Instead, AB 32 and similar legislation have pushed businesses and jobs to other states.

But if Hillary is elected, she’ll impose AB32 and similar legislation nationally. Likewise, although she won’t be able to raise the national minimum wage to the $15 an hour California soon will have, she certainly will be able to convince Republicans to boost it from the current $7.25 – say, to $12. Who cares if a higher minimum wage destroys the jobs of poor people? That will mean more jobs for Hillary-supporting social workers.

But the greater relative damage to other states from her policies would mean fewer jobs leaving California for those states. Although jobs still would depart for more sensible countries.

My suggestions to ride out the tough years of a Hillary administration: Get a job in the defense industry or as a social worker. And if she keeps up her belligerence toward Russia, dig a bomb shelter.

Veteran California columnist John Seiler now is a freelance writer. His email:writejohnseiler@gmail.com

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

The Legacy on Nancy Reagan

2_21_Reagan_Nancy01Nancy Reagan said her job was to protect her husband, President Ronald Reagan, and she carried out that role to the smallest detail, as I discovered firsthand.

In 2002, when I was writing a book, the Legend of Proposition 13, I did research at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I wanted to look at Reagan’s radio commentaries, voiced before he became president, that discussed taxes. They were written in his own hand on sheets of yellow legal pads and were part of a special collection. Working through the Reagans’ close aide, Joanne Drake, who served Nancy Reagan until her passing yesterday, I sought approval for handling the original documents. I was told approval to do so had to come directly from Nancy Reagan. I had to wait a while, but finally I was told, yes, I could see the documents.

Nancy Reagan continued to protect President Reagan’s legacy and build the Reagan Library as not only a shrine to the Reagan presidency, but also a place to keep involved in political and policy matters by hosting numerous events, many of which she attended.

The last time I saw Mrs. Reagan was at the library at one such event. A few years ago, I accompanied my friend, renowned civil rights attorney, Connie Rice, to the Reagan Library as she planned to listen to and meet with her cousin, Condoleezza Rice, scheduled to speak at the library. Before the former Secretary of State was introduced, while the program’s moderator spoke on stage, Mrs. Reagan, despite being frail, sat in the center of the front row of the audience flanked by the Rice cousins.

The library, which she worked so hard to develop, will remain a legacy of Nancy Reagan as a center of policy and political matters, as well as a tribute to her husband.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Nancy Reagan’s death evokes sadness, admiration across the political aisle

As reported by the Los Angeles Daily News:

Nancy Reagan’s death sparked feelings of sadness and admiration across Southern California on Sunday as the former first lady was remembered as a fierce protector of her husband who devoted her life to carrying out his life’s work until her final days.

Reagan died of congestive heart failure Sunday morning at her Bel-Air home. She was 94.

“In Great Britain, when they lost Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, they called her the Iron Lady, and in my opinion, that’s who Nancy Reagan was to me, the Iron Lady of America,” John Heubusch, executive director of the Simi Valley-based Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, said from the library’s grounds, where the former first lady will be buried next to her husband. …

Click here to read the full article

California and the GOP Debate

Republican presidential candidate businesswoman Carly Fiorina stands on stage for a pre-debate forum at the Quicken Loans Arena, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015,  in Cleveland. Seven of the candidates have not qualified for the primetime debate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Looking for California in the GOP debate presented some challenges even with one candidate who has tentative ties to the Golden State and the state’s Democratic governor who tried to put himself into the debate via a letter to the candidates on climate change.

There was only one Californian (sort of) in the field of 17 — Carly Fiorina who made her name as CEO of Hewlett-Packard and was handily defeated by Barbara Boxer for the California U.S. Senate seat in 2010. She now lives in Virginia.

She did fairly well in the first debate, many pundits declaring her the winner. And it appeared that former Texas governor Rick Perry has Fiorina lined up for the Secretary of State job if he becomes president. In criticizing the Iran nuclear deal Perry said, “I’d rather have Carly Fiorina over there doing our negotiation rather than (Secretary of State) John Kerry.”

Major California companies Google and Apple also made it into the first debate with Fiorina saying they should cooperate with the government on investigations that might prevent terrorism.

Apparently, Jerry Brown sent his letter to the wrong recipients for the main debate. California’s Democratic governor tried to work his way into the debate when he sent a letter asking GOP candidates how they would address climate change. He should have sent his letter to the Fox News Channel debate moderators. They didn’t bother to engage the candidates on climate change in the debate featuring the 10 leading candidates.

There was a reference to climate change in the first debate held for candidates in positions 11 to 17 in the polls. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham responded that if he debated presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton on climate change she would argue cap-and-trade that would ruin the economy while he would focus on energy independence and a clean environment. Cap-and-trade is a key strategy in Brown’s camapign on climate change.

Immigration was a big issue at the debate although nothing specific to California. However, the situation on sanctuary cities was raised in both the earlier and later debates. The sanctuary cities issue gained headlines after the shooting death in San Francisco of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant who had been deported many times but still came back. Candidates from Jeb Bush to Ted Cruz, to Bobby Jindal said they would eliminate federal funds to sanctuary cities.

There are a number of presidential candidates working with individuals with strong California ties. To name a few: Jeff Miller is campaign manager for Rick Perry, Mike Murphy is a strategist for Jeb Bush and Todd Harris is communication director for Marco Rubio.

While California didn’t have a big role in the debates one of her favorite sons was mentioned frequently –Ronald Reagan. And that will carry over with the next Republican debate scheduled for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley September 16.

Originally published of Fox and Hounds Daily

Ronald Reagan statue unveiled at state Capitol

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

The Ronald Reagan Centennial Capitol Foundation unveiled its statue of the former U.S. president and California governor in the Capitol’s basement rotunda Monday.

The event included former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of Energy John Herrington and other former state and federal Reagan staff members. Speakers had high praise for Reagan’s domestic and international legacy.

“To all of you here today that work in this city … I urge you to come from time to time and look at a truly great leader,” Herrington said. …

Click here to read the full article

Why Jerry Brown Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

Two weeks after his landslide reelection, four-term California Gov. Jerry Brown invited lobbyists to a private fundraising reception at a swanky Capitol restaurant.

The move was odd because, at 76 years old, the termed-out chief executive of the nation’s largest state is too old for the final political promotion to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

If the White House isn’t in the cards, what’s Brown up to?

With nearly $24 million stashed away in campaign accounts, and reports showing he spent just $5.9 million on his re-election campaign—even less than GOP opponent Neel Kashkari’s $7.1 million—there’s no reason for Brown to bother with the chicken dinner fundraising circuit if he’s planning to end his career.

Whatever his intentions, one thing is certain: Moonbeam isn’t planning to ride off into the sunset.

Jerry Brown for President — Fourth Time’s the Charm

On Inauguration Day 2017, Jerry Brown will be older than Ronald Reagan on his last day in office. Those state-level campaign funds can’t be transferred (easily) to a federal campaign. And Brown definitively ruled out another presidential run last year, saying “time is kind of running out on that.

It doesn’t make sense for Brown to seek the White House a fourth time, and that’s exactly why he’ll do it. The Zen politician has prided himself on going against the grain.

Last year, he cruised to reelection with a non-campaign. A nation weary of the prospects of Bush vs. Clinton 2.0 could embrace Jerry’s low-key style. The toll-free hotline from his 1992 presidential bid remains active. Moreover, a presidential run gives Brown the chance to define his legacy by telling the country about his “California comeback.”

Brown was the top performing Democrat in the 2014 midterm elections. He earned a million more votes than former Gov. Charlie Crist’s losing effort in Florida and doubled the vote total of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s win in the Empire State. Raw vote totals are skewed by California’s size. Brown also had the widest margin of victory by percentages making him the strongest elected Democrat in the country.

Political Leverage: Ballot Measures in 2016

Brown’s been around California politics long enough to know that the real battles are fought over ballot measures. The signature threshold for qualifying ballot measures is determined by turnout in the previous gubernatorial election. Consequently, last year’s record low turnout will result in a record number of ballot measures in 2016.

Brown has said that he’s looking to use his surplus cash for “some major ballot measure battle that I can’t even conceive of.” While some of his largess will go towards 2016 ballot measures, it won’t consume his entire war chest. This election, Brown made big business and big labor pony up most of the $13.9 million for Propositions 1 and 2. Why would he spend his own money this time around?

The Legacy Project

Jesse Unruh has an institute. John Burton has a building. What’s Jerry Brown going to buy to ensure his name lives on?

When California’s ill-conceived high-speed rail plan runs off track, Brown will be without a legacy project. Not to worry, his millions of dollars in campaign funds can save his place in history with a sizable endowment to a university for an institute better than Unruh’s and a building bigger than Burton’s.

The Democratic Kingmaker

Brown could dispose of his campaign cash with campaign contributions to legislative candidates and the California Democratic Party. Then again, Brown has been stingier than your coupon-clipping grandma who still uses her passbook savings account.

Brown was, in the words of the Sacramento Bee, “nowhere to be seen in most down-ticket races.” In the June primary, the governor didn’t intercede on behalf of Steve Glazer, a faithful political adviser who was pummeled by the state’s labor unions in a Democratic legislative primary. In the general election, Brown cut an ad for one competitive State Senate candidate, but couldn’t manage to get the candidate’s name right.

Brown the Philanthropist

As mayor of Oakland, Brown founded two charter schools, the Oakland School for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute. In the past decade, he’s raised tens of millions of dollars for the education initiatives. After the November election, an unnamed Brown aide told the San Francisco Chronicle, “My bet is whatever is leftover would go to those two projects…They are near and dear to his heart.”

Attorney James V. Lacy, a frequent guest on Fox News Channel’s “Varney and Company,” is author of “Taxifornia: Liberal’s Laboratory to Bankrupt America.”

This article was originally published by The Blaze