Archive for the ‘Regulation’ Category

Texas vs. California Update for April 15, 2014

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Today sucks if you still have to finish your taxes. It sucks more in California than Texas, since you have to pay state income taxes as well. That includes a marginal tax rate of 9.3% for all those millionaires making more than $49,774 a year. As opposed to Texas’ marginal rate of 0.0% for all…

  • Rich Californians don’t seem to mind that their green fantasies are screwing the poor.
  • California Democrats are trying to write racial quotas into the state Constitution. Oddly enough, Asian Americans are actually objecting to their children getting screwed out of college admissions. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “A combination of unfriendly tax policies, military budget cuts and cutthroat competition is wreaking havoc on California’s storied aerospace industry, a new study cautions.” ​​More here, which notes that:

    Texas and Washington offer low corporate income tax and no personal income tax, while providing a stable business climate and skilled work force. Many high-profile corporations have relocated their operations to new states. Recent examples include Northrop Grumman, which moved its headquarters to Northern Virginia; Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, which moved its headquarters to McKinney, Texas; and Boeing, which moved two aircraft modernization programs, for the C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and the B-1 bomber, from Long Beach to Oklahoma City.

  • CalPERS latest report proves conclusively that the fund spontaneously generates unicorns, rainbows and jobs. The Wall Street Journal examines the claims, wipes the vaguely yellow liquid off their legs and concludes “This political report offers one more reason why taxpayers and public workers shouldn’t trust Calpers with their money and would be better served by defined-contribution retirement plans that employees own and control.”
  • The California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced it faces $73.7 billion in long-term liabilities. “CalSTRS has a $71 billion unfunded pension liability.”
  • Both CalPERS and CalSTARS are desperately in need of reform.

    The state teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, needs an extra $4.5 billion each year for 30 years to pay off its unfunded liabilities. CalPERS’ local government members will see costs increase by 50 percent during the next six years. And the state needs to contribute $1 billion more per year for retiree health care benefits.

    These obligations for benefits already earned must be paid, and over the next decade, they will continue to drain funding from essential services such as education, public safety, transportation and health care.

    Yet, powerful interests remain all too eager to kick the can down the road and push our pension problems onto future generations.

  • Why California has an affordable housing crisis.
  • Is there a way out of Taxifornia? As such a solution would require liberals to stop acting like liberals, the answer is: probably not.
  • Bell’s corrupt officials agree to plea bargain deal. Bonus: Robert “Ratso” Rizzo gets 33 months on federal tax evasion charges. (Hat tip: Dwight, who has been all over the Bell story.)
  • At least 60 companies have relocated from California to Texas. But Elk Grove, California is striking back, trying to lure Texas companies to California. “The slogan: ‘Don’t wait for high taxes and stifling regulation to come to you, end the suspense and move to California’ just doesn’t seem too appealing to me.”
  • Continuing troubles with California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Sports equipment maker MonkeySports is relocating from Corona, California to Allen, Texas, adding up to some 225 Texas jobs over two years.
  • A closer look at relocations to the Austin area.
  • Texas vs. California Update for March 24, 2014

    Monday, March 24th, 2014

    In California, I would say that March Madness is ignoring the looming pension crisis, except that madness extends to every other month as well…

  • Where is income inequality worst in the U.S.? Well, for one thing, in California:

    Perhaps no place is inequality more evident than in the rural reaches of California, the nation’s richest agricultural state. The Golden State is now home to 111 billionaires, by far the most of any state; California billionaires personally hold assets worth $485 billion, more than the entire GDP of all but 24 countries in the world. Yet the state also suffers the highest poverty rate in the country (adjusted for housing costs), above 23%, and a leviathan welfare state. As of 2012, with roughly 12% of the population, California accounted for roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients.

    With the farm economy increasingly mechanized and industrial growth stifled largely by regulation, many rural Californians particularly Latinos, are downwardly mobile, and doing worse than their parents; native-born Latinos actually have shorter lifespans than their parents, according to a 2011 report. Although unemployment remains high in many of the state’s largest urban counties, the highest unemployment is concentrated in the rural counties of the interior. Fresno was found in one study to have the least well-off Congressional district.

    The vast expanse of economic decline in the midst of unprecedented, but very narrow urban luxury has been characterized as “liberal apartheid.” The well-heeled, largely white and Asian coastal denizens live in an economically inaccessible bubble insulated from the largely poor, working-class, heavily Latino communities in the eastern interior of the state.

  • The Myth of the California Renaissance:

    California also has the nation’s highest poverty rate and the most food stamp recipients, and policymakers have done little to address profligate spending, unfunded pensions, and ever-growing retiree health-care obligations.”

    Inland California, from Imperial in the south to Modoc in the north, remains one of the poorest regions in the nation. Though the state unemployment rate fell in February to 8.1 percent, inland unemployment ranges from 9.5 percent in Riverside to 25.9 percent in Colusa. Of the 20 counties in the United States with the largest unemployment rates, 11 are in California.

  • California only has the second highest taxes in the nation! Thank God for New York!
  • Unfavorable ballot language stymies a California pension reform effort
  • …but pension reform advocates are regrouping to make another push in 2016.
  • Indeed, pension reform will be the biggest issue for southern California voters this fall.
  • More on how government at the state and national level is destroying California agriculture in the name of protecting the Delta Smelt.
  • There’s speculation that California Governor Jerry Brown actually wants to see the illegal, underfunded, and ill-fated “bullet train to nowhere” die, he just doesn’t want to get the blame for killing it.
  • How Texas job growth has outpaced both the nation and California.
  • Occidental Petroleum is moving its headquarters to Houston and spinning off its California operations as a separate company.
  • Rick Perry raids again.
  • Telecom company Channell Commercial is relocating from Temecula, California to Rockwell, Texas. “Blaming California for an oppressive business climate for manufacturing growth, Channell said the costs to do business here have made expansion in this state no longer feasible.”
  • And I missed this story from last year on Chevron building a 50 story office building in Houston. That could mean the days of their California headquarters are numbered…
  • Texas vs. California Update for February 11, 2014

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

    Meant to put this up at lunch, but Stuff. And Things.

  • How California overprotects public employee union contracts. If the paper from Volokh the Younger is too heavy-sledding for non-lawyers, here’s a nice summary.
  • CalPERS is demographically doomed.
  • The people of San Bernardino vote all the bums out. “After Tuesday night, six of seven council members are now on record as saying they want to explore reducing San Bernardino’s pensions, along with [Carey] Davis, the new mayor, and a new city attorney, Gary Saenz.”
  • Another California city, Placentia, drifts toward bakruptcy. “Placentia has been papering over a structural $1.5 million deficit in its $30 million budget for at least five years, plugging the hole with lucky money (more soberly called ‘one-time revenues’).”
  • Stockton: Hey, we’re in bankruptcy! I guess that means we can just kill our shelter animals willy nilly. Federal judge: Not so fast.
  • Los Angeles firefighter compensation averages $218,000 an employee. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.).
  • Are even California’s Democratic legislators waking up to the problem?
  • California university workers plan a strike. See, no matter how broke you are, unions still want wage hikes…
  • Unions want to ensure that Bob Filner’s closest ally is elected Mayor of San Diego to keep their gravy train coming…
  • Union membership in California is down to 16.4% of the workforce.
  • Jerry Brown: Hey, Supreme Court, reverse that high speed rail decision! High Speed Rail Contractor: Thanks, Jer! Here’s $27,000.
  • Websense is relocating from San Diego to Austin. Dropbox is also moving additional jobs to Austin.
  • Charles Schuab is relocating jobs from San Francisco to Texas.
  • California industrial brush company relocates to Utah.
  • The Texas labor force keeps growing.
  • Rick Perry Comes Out For Marijuana Decriminalization

    Friday, January 24th, 2014

    Rick Perry has come out for marijuana decriminalization and for states rights on legalization (though he still opposes legalization himself).

    This makes Perry objectively more pro-legalization that former frequent choom-abuser Barack Obama.

    This will be a great surprise to people who know Perry only from the liberal caricature of him in their head, or who haven’t been following the intellectual debate among conservatives, which has leaned toward the “legalize it, regulate it and tax it” position for almost a quarter century now.

    Perry has been a staunch supporter of the Tenth Amendment and States Rights. To reiterate what I’ve said before, I oppose the War on Drugs for reasons of general principles (it’s not the purpose of government to save people from themselves), the specific application of constitutional federalism (the Commerce Clause should not apply to the regulation of drugs manufactured and sold within the confines of a single state), and for reasons of budgetary philosophy (making drugs illegal has expanded the size and power of the federal government while increasing the budget deficit; legalizing, regulating and taxing drugs would reduce both the deficit and the harm to individuals and society). My position is not uncommon among conservatives, Republicans, or members of the Tea Party.

    So liberals: Stop acting shocked when conservatives come out for decriminalization and legalization. The only reason it is a shock is that you refuse to listen.

    Hot Stuff

    Friday, January 10th, 2014

    A couple of days ago I mentioned that hot sauce maker Sriracha had been temprarily shut down due to more stringent California regulations.

    Now the followup: In good news for pho restaurants everywhere, Huy Fong Foods announced that Sriracha shipments will resume by the end of the month.

    Moreover, Texas Republican state representative Jason Villalba has invited them to come on over to Texas.

    Villalba, who has been in office for a little under a year, happens to be a Sriracha fan, but he’s looking to move the company for more than personal reasons. He notes in his letter that in Texas there are no personal or corporate state income taxes and a plentiful non-union labor pool. He also mentions that Forbes Magazine named Texas the best climate in the country to grow a business.

    “The great state of Texas would welcome you and your employees with open arms if you would consider moving…” reads the letter. “…Texas could provide you with exactly what you need to continue to grow, build and maximize the opportunities of Huy Fong Foods.”

    Houston Democratic state rep Gene Wu has also invited them over as well.

    No word on whether they’re considering moving or not, but plenty of California businesses have already relocated from California’s failing blue state model to Texas’ booming economy, so it’s certainly possible…

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    This Just In: ObamaCare Still Sucks

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

    Suddenly, Democrats aren’t sounding so all-fire sure about ObamaCare after all. “After 16 long days of vowing to Republicans that they would not cave in any way, shape or form on ObamaCare, Democrats spent their first post-shutdown week caving in every way, shape and form.”

    Jonah Goldberg gets in some solid whacks on the idiot pushback from Democratic mouthpieces: “Obama’s [#ObamaCare] statements were not ‘narrowly untrue.’ They were broadly, knowingly and entirely untrue.”


    The president and the Democrats lied us into a bad law. The right opposed the law on principle. A single party — the Democrats — own this law in a way that no party has had complete ownership of any major social legislation in a century. They bought this legislation with deceit and the GOP said so. Now that it is going into effect, the facts on the ground are confirming that deceit. Moreover, the same haughty condescending bureaucrats and politicians who told us they were smart enough and tech-savvy enough to do just about anything are being exposed as incompetent political hacks.

    Charles Cooke debunks the single payer fantasy and the myth of Republican responsibility for ObamaCare:

    Obamacare was passed into law without a single Republican vote; its passage led to the biggest midterm blowout since 1948; and repealing the measure has been, to borrow Harry Reid’s favorite word, the “obsession” of Republicans for nearly five years. It is a law based upon an idea that Republican leadership failed to consider, debate, or advance during any of the periods in which they have held political power — and one that they actively opposed when it was suggested in a similar form by President Clinton during the 1990s. If Republicans were desperate to get something done along the lines that Obama proposed in 2009, they have had a funny way of showing it over the past 159 years.

    Also, “single payer,” i.e. the Democrats platonic ideal of fully socialized medicine, was so horribly unpopular with the public that it never had a chance of passing:

    There is a devastatingly dull reason the bulletproof Democratic majority of 2008 didn’t build “comprehensive health insurance on Social Security and Medicare,” and that is that it didn’t have the votes. Indeed, with full control of the government, Democrats didn’t even have the votes to set up a public insurance option, let alone to take over the whole system. Long before Scott Brown was elected to the Senate, Ezra Klein was lamenting that the public option was dead on arrival.

    Charles Krauthammer also goes to town on Jay Carney’s smarmy dishonesty:

    The Obama Administration wrote regulations that actually made the situation worse. (Hat tip: Ace, who notes that NBC tried to neuter their original version to make it less critical of Obama).

    Mark Steyn on the website debacle. Bonus: The same firm who coded the ObamaCare website also coded the incompetent, bloated, non-functioning Canadian Firearms registry:

    Their most famous government project was for the Canadian Firearms Registry. The registry was estimated to cost in total $119 million, which would be offset by $117 million in fees. That’s a net cost of $2 million. Instead, by 2004 the CBC (Canada’s PBS) was reporting costs of some $2 billion — or a thousand times more expensive.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, we’ve all had bathroom remodelers like that. But in this case the database had to register some 7 million long guns belonging to some two-and-a-half to three million Canadians. That works out to almost $300 per gun — or somewhat higher than the original estimate for processing a firearm registration of $4.60.

    So how did CGI get the gig? Well, the fact that executive Toni Townes-Whitley was an old friend of Michelle Obama’s, having been in the Organization of Black Unity together at Princeton, and who visited the Obama White House several times, might have something to do with it.

    It also promotes racism, with “sections that factor in race when awarding billions in contracts, scholarships and grants” and give “preferential treatment to minority students for scholarships.” It also “creates separate and unequal operating standards for long-term care facilities that serve racial and ethnic minorities.”

    A few more nuggets:

  • “I lost my health insurance because of ObamaCare.”
  • Liberals: “I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it.”
  • The Obama Administration was warned that the website was non-functional garbage before it went live. Evidently spiting Ted Cruz was more important than actually providing a system that worked.
  • Texas vs. California Update for September 18, 2013

    Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

    Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • CalPERS decides commoners are unworthy of knowing what their betters in the California state retiree system get paid.
  • New California law to shield pedophiles in teacher’s unions in California each year, seven to eight times as much sexual misconduct takes place in public schools as in the Catholic Church.
  • I’ve often thought Texas would consider doing this: Nevada gives mentally ill tickets to California.
  • You know all those pieces on how “California is back?” Yeah, not so much.
  • Because other states just aren’t getting enough businesses fleeing California, they’re moving to hike the minimum wage again.
  • Sacramento Convention Center loses $218 million over 14 years.
  • California bends over backwards to prevent jailed illegal aliens from being deported.
  • What it’s like living in bankrupt Stockton: “Anderson called the police recently after a boy was shot riding his bike down the alley that runs alongside her home. It took them four hours to show up.”
  • Judge rejects CalPERS, allows San Bernardino’s bankruptcy to proceed. Naturally CalPERS is incensed that their golden pension goose could be cooked along with everyone else.
  • California toll road agency misses overly optimistic projections, may have to declare bankruptcy. “The Foothill-Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency, which operates 39 miles (63 kilometers) of toll highways in Orange County, risks default on $2.4 billion in debt.”
  • Rick Perry goes fishing for new businesses to relocate to Texas in Maryland.
  • Also Missouri, where the Democratic governor just vetoed a tax cut.
  • Today’s Most infuriating Quote

    Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

    Via Dwight comes a link to this Jonathan Chait piece in New York magazine. Which contained this gem of prevarication:

    Bloomberg’s health crusade is so unusual because it embraces a political mode usually associated with the right. Conservatives favor regulation of vice and personal behavior, especially related to sex, because they believe that the state has a legitimate role in shaping the culture. Traditional social values, they believe, undergird stable families and a well-functioning community. Liberals traditionally want to remove the government from regulating personal behavior and to deploy it only in the economic realm.

    That quote might have had some nodding relationship to reality in, oh, 1980 or so. But it’s certainly not conservatives who have been pushing to:

  • Ban civilian firearms ownership
  • Increase tobacco taxes
  • Ban incandescent light bulbs
  • Force Catholics to pay for abortions
  • Ban “high flow” toilets
  • Ban “hate speech”
  • Ban plastic bags
  • Ban transfats
  • Ban crosses and managers on public land
  • Ban liquor stores in black neighborhoods
  • Ban talk radio
  • Ban government use of the word “Christmas”
  • Ban SUVs, or any other vehicle that get insufficiently “virtuous” gas mileage
  • Ban genetically modified foods
  • Ban foie gras
  • And don’t forget that the “War on Drugs” was an extremely bipartisan affair, with Hubert Humphrey, Joe Biden and Tip O’Neil all among its enthusiastic backers.
  • Etc.
  • This poster makes many of the same points:

    The idea that modern (as opposed to classical) liberals “want to remove the government from regulating personal behavior” is a naked, vainglorious, self-flattering lie on Chait’s part, and only someone living in the coastal Liberal Reality Bubble could possibly type it with a straight face.

    Should Someone With Downs Syndrome be Allowed To Fight MMA?

    Monday, August 19th, 2013

    Florida stopped a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight between two consenting adults because they have disabilities. Garrett Holeve is a 23-year-old with Down’s Syndrome, while 28-year-old David Steffin has cerebral palsy.

    Here’s a profile of Holeve:

    Should Flordia allow an adult with Downs Syndrome to fight in an MMA event?

    It appears on the surface that this is a hard case, given that MMA blows could reduce Holeve’s already diminished mental capacity. But it’s really not:

    1. Is Holeve a free adult citizen of the United States? If so, he’s free to make up his own mind.

    2. If Holeve is not a free adult, but is a ward of his parents, it is up to them to give their consent. As the above video makes clear, his father has determined that the benefits Garrett Holeve gets from MMA training and fighting (increased concentration and drive, greater physical well-being, etc.) outweigh the risk of injury.
    3. Only if Garrett Holeve were a ward of the state of Florida should that state get to decide what he should do with his life. That is clearly not the case here.

    If I had a Downs Syndrome son, I probably wouldn’t enroll him in an MMA program. But Garrett Holeve isn’t my son, and it’s not my call to make. Nor is it that of the state. The job of the state is not to protect people from themselves.

    Let him fight.

    Texas vs. California Update for February 21, 2013

    Thursday, February 21st, 2013

    Another Texas vs. California update! And I don’t even have a line item on how the Houston Rockets picked the Sacramento Kings’ pockets’ in yesterday’s trade.

  • All of TPPF’s Texas vs. California updates in one handy place.
  • California is raising taxes and decreasing services.
  • Mainly because pension funding is crowding out everything else.
  • Good news for California: They got $5 billion more in revenues than they expected in January. The bad news? It was only “an accounting anomaly.”
  • California voters approved a few modest pension reforms last fall. Naturally, unions are sponsoring legislation to have them overturned.
  • Logic: “No amount of legal argument can sidestep the grim numbers facing San Bernardino. The City Council and employee unions alike should recognize a basic fiscal fact: The city will never climb out of bankruptcy without reining in personnel costs.” Unions: You and your oppressive math and logic can die in a fire.
  • Who says California’s high taxes and excessive regulation are driving businesses away? According to The Sacramento Business Journal, 54% of Californians.
  • One reason businesses flock to Texas from California is lawsuit reform. Texas has it, California doesn’t. “For decades, its leaders have consistently pursued policies that promote excessive litigation, making it among the most litigious states. These policies create obstacles for the new and small businesses that drive California’s economy and have allowed abusive lawsuits to delay or halt projects.”
  • The Economist sniffs that Texas’ spending restraint meant the state spent less than the could have. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature.
  • Liberal compares Rick Perry to Stalin because Texas won’t spend as much as liberals think they should. I’m sure we all can agree that was the very worst thing about old Joe Stalin: Fiscal restraint.