Archive for the ‘Welfare State’ Category

Blogroll Addition: Pension Tsunami

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Since they linked to me yesterday, I’ve finally done what I’ve meant to do for a long time, namely get up off my ass and add Pension Tsunami to the Blogroll. They offer a great daily news roundup on the looming unionized public sector pension crisis that threatens to bankrupt cities and states across the country (especially California).

I’ve also added the new “California/Pensions/Unions/Etc.” link category and moved Kausfiles there as well.

Expect more additions to that blog category Real Soon Now.

Texas vs. California Roundup for October 9, 2014

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • If Stockton bankruptcy judge’s ruling is upheld, a lot of California cities could actually start working for citizens again, rather than public employee unions.
  • There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Stockton’s bankruptcy. Too bad Stockton’s officials seem unwilling to learn them:

    Pension contributions for public-safety workers now amount to 41 percent of payroll. That would put the total cost of salary, health benefits, and pensions at about $120,000 annually for a fifth-year officer…The long saga of Stockton’s decline dramatizes the inefficiency and illogic of union-dominated, monopolistic, government-labor markets.

  • But letting cities escape their crushing public sector union pension burdens doesn’t sit well with California’s looter class. Solution: propose eliminating Chapter 9 bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • According to the September labor report, California did manage to add 313,900 jobs between August 2013 and August 2014. But Texas added 395,200. (Hat tip: WILLisms Twitter feed.)
  • California legislature decides that students don’t need any of that stinking due process.
  • Hey, remember those “temporary” tax hikes Jerry Brown got voters to approve? Guess what?
  • California’s roads are among the worst in the country.
  • Someone should tell that to the city of Stanton, California, which reached for tax hikes rather than cutting the pay of unionized workers.
  • How San Jose reformed their finances using transparency. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How California browbeat Toyota over closing a money-losing plant.
  • The California-based manufacturing facility of Colorado-based Boulder Electric Vehicle shuts down after receiving a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission.
  • How California’s for-profit Thomas Jefferson Law School got itself into serious financial trouble through excessive dependence on loans (both the student type and the tax-exempt bond type).
  • Americans don’t want their state to secede so much as they want to kick California out of the union. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn of KRTraining.)
  • A look at PSAT participation rates in Texas. (Also via WILLisms.)
  • Californian Trip Hawkins, of EA, Apple and 3DO fame, filed for bankruptcy in 2011. This year, the 9th circuit ruled that a profligate life style (for certain values of “profligate”), does not, in fact, constitute a “willful” attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Mr. Hawkins seemed to be living well, but not necessarily living large
  • California owner of Akron, Ohio mall abandoned since 2008 declares bankruptcy. And since it’s the Halloween season, and abandoned malls are wonderfully creepy places, here’s a pic:

  • Texas vs. California: Hispanic Edition

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    I don’t know how I missed this Mike Gonzalez editorial in the Dallas Morning News from early September, but it’s well worth your attention. It goes into some detail on how Texas Hispanics are radically outperforming California Hispanics.

    The relative advantage that Hispanic Texans have in key cultural indicators is strongly related to the state’s dynamic economic growth and small government. But because Texas’ smaller government has allowed civil society to grow organically, there is a strong cultural background that must be considered.

    In fact, when factoring in both economic and cultural factors, one can say that California and Texas stand for two completely different faces of the Hispanic experience in America or, more to the point, the Mexican-American experience. The question is whether the two states will continue to lead two different Mexican-American subcultures in the future, or whether one approach will come to be the dominant one nationwide.

    Let’s first look at the statistics, starting with one of the most important ones: unemployment. In 2013, Texas’ Hispanic population boasted an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent. That was more than 2 percentage points lower than the national Hispanic average (9.1 percent). More important, it was better than the overall national average of 7.4 percent and only six-tenths of a percent higher than Texas’ overall rate (6.3 percent).

    Meanwhile, California’s Hispanics lagged across the aboard. Their unemployment rate of 10.2 percent underperformed all the national averages and was 1.3 percentage points higher than California’s overall unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.

    One thing that may account for the lower Hispanic unemployment in Texas is that Hispanics in the Lone Star State are much more entrepreneurial than those in the Golden State. Texas’ rate of Hispanic-owned businesses as a percentage of the Hispanic population is 57 percent, whereas California’s is 45 percent.

    Texas Hispanics also do better when it comes to social statistics than do their California counterparts:

    Hispanics in Texas are 10 percent more likely to be married than those in California (47 percent to 43 percent), and close to 20 percent less likely never to have been married (36.9 percent to 43.5 percent), one-third more likely to have served in the military (4.1 percent to 2.8 percent), and one-third as likely to have received Supplemental Security Income public assistance (2.4 percent to 6.2 percent).

    One of the most eye-popping statistics I have come across is that Hispanics in Texas are much more likely to live in an owner-occupied home than those in California (56.8 percent to 42.9 percent).

    Education? Same thing:

    The educational gap between Hispanics and non-Hispanic white students is much smaller in Texas than in California, where it is statistically significantly higher than it is in the rest of the nation.

    The fourth-grade mathematics gap for Texas was 20 points, below the national average; in California it was 28 points. For the eighth grade, the Texas gap was 24, compared with California’s 33. In reading comprehension, the fourth-grade Texas gap was 22 and California’s was 31, and for eighth-graders, Texas’s gap was 22 and California’s was 28.

    The difference in welfare recipients between Texas and California is dramatic:

    With 12 percent of the total U.S. population, California has 34 percent of the welfare caseload, for an overrepresentation of 238 percent. Or, to put it another way, though only 1 of 8 Americans lives in California, 1 in 3 welfare recipients lives in California.

    California’s 34 percent is not just the highest; the state is the only one in double digits. New York, which has the second-largest percentage of active welfare cases in the country, has a comparatively miserly 7 percent of the nation’s caseload.
    By contrast, Texas, with 8 percent of the U.S. population, has only 3 percent of the U.S. welfare caseload, for an underrepresentation rate of 35 percent.

    Read the whole thing.

    Texas vs. California Update for September 17, 2014

    Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • The Texas economy continues to hum along:

    During the second quarter, Texas employers added 148,200 net nonfarm jobs—an average of 49,400 per month. This amounts to an 18 percent share of all jobs created nationwide over this period in a state with only 8 percent of the country’s population and about 10 percent of total economic output. Over the last year, the addition of 382,200 net jobs in Texas was more new jobs than any other state. These employment gains increased the annual job growth rate to 3.4 percent, which is higher than those of the national average and other highly populated states.

  • The city of Los Angeles is at an impasse over police raises: the police union (naturally) wants raises, while the city says they can’t afford them. So what happens next? The issue goes before the Employee Relations Board, which just happens to be packed with union-approved appointees. In one-party Democratic cities and states, it’s always government together with unions against taxpayers. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “The ugly reality is that so long as the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS are controlled by public employee union loyalists, pension reforms enacted by state lawmakers and signed by governors will never live up to their billing.”
  • Jerry Brown lies about pension spiking.
  • Why San Antonio’s public-private partnerships are better at dealing with drought than Los Angeles.
  • A FAQ on Costa Mesa’s pension situation. Including answers to such questions as “How could the $228 million in unfunded pension liabilities affect the city budget?”
  • Watsonville, California passes a sales tax hike solely to pay for additional union pension payments.
  • A judge rules that bankrupt San Bernardino can cut firefighter pension benefits in order to exit bankruptcy.
  • A union-sponsored bill tries to increase liabilities for companies that hire contractors.
  • California is evidently cooking up a whole new batch of unconstitutional gun laws.
  • A look at phony baloney jobs numbers for California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Firefly Space Systems is relocating from California to Burnet County, Texas. “King said Firefly was attracted to Texas partly because of its business and regulatory climate.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out California offers a lousy climate for business. Or to put it another way: My days of underestimating California’s ability to improve its business climate are certainly coming to a middle…
  • Drone-maker Ashima is relocating to Reno, Nevada from California.
  • If you hadn’t heard, Tesla is building its battery factory in Nevada, not California.
  • An actual good law out of California: A law that prevents companies from suing customers for negative reviews.
  • North Carolina offered twice as much incentive money to Toyota but still lost out to Texas for relocating their HQ.
  • Your dedicated BART employee in action:

  • LinkSwarm for August 29, 2014

    Friday, August 29th, 2014

    In addition to not having a clue, when it comes to ISIS, Obama says that “we don’t have a strategy yet.” I’m sure if someone asked Franklin Roosevelt in early 1942 what his plans were for dealing with Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, he would have had a strategy. Then again, FDR’s polio probably severely curtailed his golfing

  • President of Ukraine dissolves Parliament. This happened before the latest Russian incursion.
  • Also, Ukraine seeks NATO membership. A little late for that…
  • Boko Haram beheads six year old boy because he’s a Christian.
  • Man threatens to slaughter Ohio school children with an AK-47 over Israel-Gaza conflict.
  • How and why journalists get the Israel story wrong. Namely because they want to. “Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality.”
  • For all the talk of Obama’s suit, it wasn’t the worst fashion disaster this week.
  • “Women who are sane, normal and happy do not become feminists, because such women do not need feminism.”
  • It turns out that Louisiana Democratic senator Mary Landrieu doesn’t actually live in her home state. Awkward. And unconstitutional. See also: Lugar, Richard, electoral defeat of.
  • New Republic writer Yishai Schwartz wants to get rid of that fascist “innocent until proven guilty” nonsense. You know, if I were writing a piece that hinged on “the details of Missouri law,” I think I would actually cite, verbatim, the relevant sections of Missouri law that supported my central thesis. Having conspicuously failed to do so, evidently Schwartz feels that such niceties (like the presumption of innocence in criminal trials) are beneath him… (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • Christian student groups are no longer welcome at Vanderbilt University.
  • You will be made to care.
  • British wind farms being paid not to produce energy:
  • A checklist for arguing with Social Justice Warriors.
  • Back when stewardesses were allowed to wear sexy uniforms. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • Everything you’ve ever known is a lie.
  • Texas vs. California Update for August 25, 2014

    Monday, August 25th, 2014

    Another look at how Texas stacks up to the no-longer-so-Golden state:

  • Problem: Those lousy taxpayers get pension reform passed. Solution: CalPERS uses “99 categories of ‘special pay’” to go on a pension spiking orgy.
  • What are some of those 99 categories? “Clerks who type well. Cops who shoot straight. Librarians who are “assigned to provide direction or resources to library patrons.” I’m too scared to check if “Teachers who don’t rape their students” is an actual category or not…
  • Governor Jerry Brown is sending mixed signals on the pension spiking issue.
  • Who actually owns the CalPERS gap between actual funding and what they’ll need to pay out? “CalPERS can be risky (and it has been) with no consequences. The taxpayers have all the responsibility, but none of the control.”
  • So how much payroll and pension did Stockton trim in their bankruptcy? Zero.
  • There is no California comeback. “Personal income-tax revenues fell by 11 percent in the first quarter of this year and more than 6 percent through June.”
  • California cities are among the slowest to recover from the recession.
  • The only way California can get pensions under control is through a constitutional amendment.
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is asking for more money. They’re also asking Angelinos to overlook their high salaries and lack of accountability.

    City leaders are battling with DWP’s union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, to release financial records of a nonprofit trust, run jointly by labor- and management-appointed trustees, that has run through $40 million in ratepayer money. Brian D’Arcy, IBEW Local 18’s business manager, has refused to turn over the trust’s financial records, and DWP executives have said they don’t know how the money was spent.

  • California voters get to weigh in on a 7.5 billion water bill in November, which seems to have considerably less pork than a previously delayed $11 billion bill.
  • So how does bankrupt San Bernardino plan to climb into the black? Cutting back on outrageous pensions? Ha, you must be high! “Help us, weed, you’re our only hope!”
  • I know this is a shock, but California’s High Speed Rail Authority is behind schedule on buying land for it’s doomed boondoggle.
  • Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz opposes ride share programs like Uber and Lyft. Strangely enough, he’s also received $11,000 in campaign contributions from the taxi industry. Quid pro, meet quo.
  • YTexas helps companies relocating to Texas connect with local businesses.
  • Ridiculous Bureaucratic Compensation in the UK

    Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

    It’s not just California. The bureaucratic apparatus has a way of feathering its own nests across the globe.

    Take the “town hall tycoons” in the UK, for example:

  • There were at least 2,181 council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2012-13, a fall of 5 per cent on the previous year’s 2,295.

  • Despite this, 93 councils increased the number of staff who received remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2012-13.
  • Keep in mind that at current exchange rates, £100,000 is somewhere north of $180,000.

    Texas vs. California Roundup for July 30, 2014

    Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

    Another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • How Los Angeles is killing itself. (Hat tip: Karl Rehn.)
  • Texas places five cities on list of top 10 growing cities: Austin, Dallas, McAllen, Houston and San Antonio.

  • California school officials are still grossly overpaid. Including 31 janitors who make more than $100,000 each. (Hat tip (for this and a few more): Pension Tsunami.)
  • And many of these munificently compensated employees are double-dipping: “More than 1,000 retired instructors who had already begun receiving their state-funded pension continued to work and receive a salary from districts in 2013.”
  • Only in California could a bill that requires 32 years to catch up and fund parts of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s current $74 billion in unfunded liability be hailed as a major reform.”
  • Essential school services in California are about to be cut to pay for doubled pension payments.
  • San Francisco landlords are suing the city over a law that requires them to pay as much as two years rent for evicted tenants. Of course, many landlords were evicting people because insane rent control laws make it almost impossible to sell a building that actually has tenants…
  • How the Texas model supports job creation.
  • Evidently male students simply aren’t welcome in California colleges. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Actual headline: “LA Councilman Convicted Of Voter Fraud Will Continue To Collect $116K Annual Pension.”
  • What a conservative Texas budget should look like.
  • California retail apparel chain Love Culture files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Evidently summer bankruptcies for retail stories are very unusual, since this is the time they start stocking up for the holiday season.
  • Another California for-profit university chain shuts down.
  • Oakland Raiders to move to San Antonio?
  • Are inherited IRA’s exempt from bankruptcy hearings in California? It depends on which precedent the judge chooses to follow.
  • Not news: Houston ISD holds job fairs looking for teachers. News: In North Carolina.
  • LinkSwarm for July 11, 2014

    Friday, July 11th, 2014

    More news from inside the handbasket, including the dust-up in Gaza and the illegal alien surge at the border:

  • Israel hits Gaza for a third day in retaliation for yet another round of rocket attacks. Is there really anything left to say about this that hasn’t been said before? Hamas is the elected government of Gaza, they fire rockets indiscriminately against Israeli civilians and fire them from their own civilian areas to maximize civilian damage at both ends, making them legitimate military targets under international law.
  • And speaking of rockets, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system racks up a 90% success rate. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ, who adds “Suck It 1980s Lefties”.)
  • And Hamas might be receiving taxpayer money.
  • Also speaking of rockets, in Iraq ISIS seizes control of one of Saddam’s chemical weapons sites, filled with rockets full of nerve gas agents. You know, the ones liberals swore didn’t exist in 2004…
  • Food inflation costs overwhlem wage growth.
  • Get ready for the next round of ObamaCare rate shock.
  • Scabies outbreak at the border. Well, that’s just lovely. Thanks, Obama!
  • Even Democrats think Obama should visit the border.
  • Are veterans being turned away from appointments because treating illegal aliens takes precedence? Caveat: Twitter is not a source.
  • But the Obama Administration seems to be going to great lengths to prevent lawmakers from inspecting illegal alien holding facilities.
  • “We can medically treat non-citizens in a few days, maybe even hours, but not our own veterans.”
  • Planes full of illegal aliens landing in El Paso.
  • They’re even trying to house illegal aliens in Virginia.
  • The scale of the problem:

  • Important reminder: Not all Hispanic immigrants are in favor of unlimited illegal aliens coming to the country.
  • Greg Abbott criticizes Obama. “Whether it’s on the broken VA system, or our porous border, he is all talk and no action. He’s all hat and no cattle.”
  • Airlines reduce flights to Venezuela due to cash trapped in the country by currency controls. How’s that socialism working out for ya?
  • Hillary Clinton and Adultery. Then again, maybe Hillary is one of Ashley Madison’s fake profiles.
  • Hillary’s book drops off the Amazon 100 list. Evidently there are tens of millions of Democrats who found that not buying Hard Choices was, in fact, an easy choice…
  • Public employees union AFSCME severs ties with the United negro College Fund because they took money from the Koch brothers. So it’s more important to display their hate than to help black people go to college…
  • 50 colleges now charge more than $60,000 a year to attend, and Harvard, Yale and MIT are not among them. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Evidently former Merrill Lynch chairman Stan O’Neal wants this to disappear.
  • Texas vs. California Update for June 20, 2014

    Friday, June 20th, 2014

    Believe it or not, there seem to be a few actual glimmers of sanity in California in the latest roundup:

  • Texas: Not just leading the nation in jobs, but doing it more equitably as well.
  • “The income gap between rich and poor tends to be wider in blue states than in red states.” More: “Texas has a lower Gini coefficient (.477) and a lower poverty rate (20.5%) than California (Gini coefficient .482, poverty rate 25.8%).” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Perhaps the biggest crack in the “Blue State” model this month was a state superior court judge ruling that California’s teacher protection laws were illegal, because they violated the equal protection clause for students. How the Vergara vs. California decision plays out on appeal is anyone’s guess, but just recognizing that union contracts that keep crummy teachers employed harms students is a huge step forward.
  • New California payroll and pensions numbers are now available. “The data shows that public compensation in California is growing more out of control, threatening the solvency of the state and local governments.” Let’s take a look at a few locales, shall we?
  • Will wonders never cease: CalWatchdog calls the just-passed California budget “fairly prudent.”
  • The legislature also passed a law almost doubling the amount of money school districts pay into CalSTARS.
  • But don’t let that fool you: California’s legislature is still crazy.
  • Especially since California Democrats just elected a new Senate leader guaranteed to pull them to the left.
  • But Republicans are poised to torpedo California Democrat’s Senate supermajority.
  • Desert Hot Springs is contemplating dissolving it’s police force to avoid bankruptcy. (By my count, 21 Desert Hot Springs police officers make more than $100,000 a year in total compensation. Including five officers who make more than the Police Chief…)
  • San Bernardino has evidently reached agreement with CalPERS in it’s ongoing bankruptcy case, but no details have been reported.
  • They also closed a gap in a yearly budget thanks to some union concessions. But one union is balking, and its members are threatening to join the SEIU instead.
  • The California town of Guadalupe considers bankruptcy. One problem is that the town has been illegally transfering money from dedicated funds (like water bills) to general funds. “If voters do not pass three new taxes in November, Guadalupe is expected to disband its police and fire departments, enter bankruptcy or disincorporate, meaning it would cease to exist as a city.”
  • Ventura County residents collection enough signatures to force a ballot measure on pension reform. Response? A lawsuit to keep it off the ballot.
  • Los Angeles 2020 Commission goes over what changes the city needs to avoid a future where “40% of the population lives in ‘what only can be called misery,’ ‘strangled by traffic’ and hamstrung by a ‘failing’ school system.” Response? “Meh.”
  • Sickout among San Francisco municipal bus drivers. Good thing poor people don’t depend on buses for transportation…
  • Huge growth in Texas apartment complexes.
  • California’s prison system illegally sterilizes female inmates against their will.
  • The Obama Administration Department of Education is driving the California-based Corinthian for-profit college chain out of business.
  • A Californian discusses why relocation to Texas might be attractive, and hears the pitch for Frisco, Texas.
  • “‘Building a business is tough. But I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,’ Perry says.”
  • California regulators can’t be arsed to come out and check flaming tap water.
  • California bill to add warning labels to soft drinks fails.
  • California-based nutritional supplement maker Natrol files for bankruptcy, mainly due to class action suits. I note this because I’ve found their 3mg Melatonin to be really effective as a sleep aid.