Today is a quadruple witching hour for markets, so try not to freak out if there’s more than the usual market volatility today.
Posts Tagged ‘Border Controls’
Time for another Texas vs. California update:
California has earned quite a reputation for being openly hostile to business, as confirmed by numerous studies and surveys. Its plethora of taxes and regulations are driving away legions of entrepreneurs and workers, but they are doing wonders for one segment of the economy: the moving industry. It is almost as though that industry is secretly lobbying the state Legislature for its anti-business policies.
Joe Vranich, as president of Spectrum Location Solutions, an Irvine business relocation consulting firm, knows all about what drives businesses’ decisions to give up and leave for greener pastures. According to his research, in just the past seven years, approximately 9,000 businesses have decided to leave California or expand their operations out of state. Companies leaving California typically save between 20 percent and 35 percent of operating costs, he concluded.
Texas has been the biggest beneficiary of California’s business exodus.
California’s litigious climate has become a common complaint of business owners. No wonder the American Tort Reform Foundation once again named California the No. 1 “Judicial Hellhole” in the nation last year, based on the state’s excessive laws and regulations and a flood of disability access, asbestos and food advertising and labeling lawsuits, frequently more opportunistic attempts at extortion than legitimate attempts to seek justice for victims who have been truly harmed.
California has proven to be a particularly harsh climate for manufacturing businesses. “Even if California were to eliminate the state income taxes tomorrow, that still would not be enough,” CellPoint Corp. CEO Ehsan Gharatappeh told the Dallas Business Journal of the Costa Mesa company’s move to Forth Worth.
General Magnaplate Corp., which has made reinforced parts for the aerospace, transportation, medical, oil and other industries for 36 years, decided to shut down its California facility in Ventura altogether. “This is a very sad day for our employees and for my family, who have a long history of job creation in this area, but the simple fact is that the state of California does not provide a business-friendly environment,” CEO Candida Aversenti said in a press release. “Increases in workers’ compensation costs and government regulations, combined with predatory citizens groups and law firms that make their living entirely by preying on small businesses, have left us with no other choice but to shut down our California facility. This is in stark contrast to our New Jersey and Texas facilities, which are flourishing in small business-friendly environments created by the respective local governments and environmental agencies.”
Yahoo’s 279 workers let go this year contributed to the 3,135 tech jobs lost in the four-county region of Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and San Francisco counties from January through April, as did the 50 workers axed at Toshiba America in Livermore and the 71 at Autodesk in San Francisco. In the first four months of last year, just 1,515 Bay Area tech workers were laid off, according to mandatory filings under California’s WARN Act. For that period in 2014, the region’s tech layoffs numbered 1,330.
The nation’s largest public pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, has one-fifth of its assets in bonds and is down 1.3% since July 1, according to public documents. The system, known by its abbreviation Calpers, also has 53.1% of its assets in stocks, 9% in real estate and 9.4% in private equity. In 2015, Calpers posted a return of 2.4%, below its target rate of 7.5%.
Nor is CalSTARS doing much better:
The nation’s second-largest public pension plan, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, has shifted a significant amount of money away from some stocks and bonds to protect against a downturn. It moved assets into U.S. Treasurys and so-called liquid-alternative funds, which mimic hedge-fund strategies. Calstrs, as the pension is called, reported gains of 1.5% during a choppy 2015, with returns on its fixed-income investments up just 0.6%.
(Note: WSJ link, so you may need to do the Google thing.)
The newest outrage comes from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in the form of a proposed “road diet.” This would essentially halt attempts to expand or improve our roads, even when improvements have been approved by voters. This strategy can only make life worse for most Californians, since nearly 85 percent of us use a car to get to work. This in a state that already has among the worst-maintained roads in the country, with two-thirds of them in poor or mediocre condition.
In essence, the notion animating the “road diet” is to make congestion so terrible that people will be forced out of their cars and onto transit. It’s not planning for how to make the ways people live today more sustainable. It has, in fact, more in common with Soviet-style social engineering, which was based similarly on a particular notion of “science” and progressive values.
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Still digesting the Trump victory and what it means. In the meantime, have some links:
Today voters go to the polls in Indiana. If Cruz wins, we’re likely headed to a floor fight at the Republican convention. If not…
The Texas voter ID law will remain in the books, at least for the November election, after the Supreme Court refused to issue an “emergency” request to suspend the law while the court case against it is being considered.
What this means in the short term: Democrats won’t be able to steal some down-ballot Texas races with illegal alien votes this year.
No wonder Democrats hate voter ID…
Time for another Texas vs. California roundup, with the top news being California’s hastening their economic demise with a suicidal minimum wage hike:
California’s drive to hike the minimum wage has little to do with average workers and everything to do with the Golden State’s all-powerful government employee unions.
Nationally, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is known for representing lower skilled workers. But, of the SEIU’s 2.1 million dues-paying members, half work for the government. In California, that translates to clout with much of the $50 million SEIU spent in the U.S. on political activities and lobbying spent in California. In fact, out of the 12 “yes” votes for the minimum wage bill in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on March 30, the SEIU had contributed almost $100,000 out of the three-quarters of a million contributed by public employee unions—yielding a far higher return on investment than anything Wall Street could produce.
Unions represent about 59 percent of all government workers in California. Many union contracts are tied to the minimum wage — boost the minimum wage and government union workers reap a huge windfall, courtesy of the overworked California taxpayer.
“California’s taxes and regulations are crushing businesses, and there are more opportunities in Texas for people to start new companies, get good jobs, and create better lives for their families,” said Nathan Nascimento, the director of state initiatives at Freedom Partners. “When tax and regulatory climates are bad, people will move to better economic environments—this phenomenon isn’t a mystery, it’s how marketplaces work. Not only should other state governments take note of this, but so should the federal government.”
According to Tom Gray of the Manhattan Institute, people may be leaving California for the employment opportunities, tax breaks, or less crowded living arrangements that other states offer.
“States with low unemployment rates, such as Texas, are drawing people from California, whose rate is above the national average,” Gray wrote. “Taxation also appears to be a factor, especially as it contributes to the business climate and, in turn, jobs.”
“Most of the destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes,” Gray wrote. “States that have gained the most at California’s expense are rated as having better business climates. The data suggest that may cost drivers—taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs—are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus.”
(Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
Another important primary day, part of what seems a never-ending stream of them. There’s a republican primary in Arizona and a Republican caucus in Utah today. Mots recent polls have Cruz with a big lead in Utah, and trump with a small er lead in Arizona.
The Democrats are kidding themselves if they think they are going to be able to rely on their usual attacks on Republicans with Donald Trump at the helm. They aren’t going to be able to launch into the tired war on women or talk about how Republicans hate poor people and sick people, etc., and make that stick. Nothing even close to those charges has stuck to Donald Trump so far. On CNBC, I recently likened Donald Trump to the dark force from the movie “The Fifth Element.” He seems to absorb attacks and grow in strength rather than be wounded.
Trump isn’t just a counter-puncher; he uses rhetorical counter-force weapons to deprive opponents of their favorite attacks. Remember how Trump stifled and silenced Hillary’s attempt to launch an attack on Trump as sexist? I would guess we will be hearing a lot more in the general election about Bill’s indiscretions and her complicit role in helping him concoct the lies and demonize his victims. But that will just be Trump getting warmed up. Trump will routinely go after Hillary Clinton in ways the Democrats have always thought would be off-limits. And he will do so to her face. The email controversies, the odd arrangements Hillary staffers had with the private sector, the coordination between the State Department and the Clinton foundation, the money that poured in from foreign and corporate sources who wanted easy access to the Clinton world, a variety of Clinton’s flaws and previous gaffes – even Chelsea’s employment – will all come roaring out of the Trump campaign. The Clinton campaign will spend a lot of time on their heels.
Democrats try to comfort themselves with the idea that there is no such thing as an Obama voter from 2008 or 2012 who will turn around and vote for Trump in 2016. It is easy to say Trump can’t win a general election. But that is the kind of rational thinking that has been applied to Trump ever since his campaign started. And it’s the kind of thinking that has been proven wrong time and time again. I can imagine Donald Trump pulling into a predominantly poor African-American neighborhood, standing on a platform, pointing to his wealth and saying, “If you want a chance to get rich, vote for me – look around, and if you want the status quo, vote for Hillary!” It could strike a chord with some young black voters who want a shot at a better life, not promises of incrementally more dependence and servitude to the Democratic establishment. I don’t dismiss the idea that Donald Trump could find a foothold in the African-American community.
Twin blasts hit Zaventem airport at about 07:00 GMT, killing 11 people.
Another explosion struck Maelbeek metro station near the EU’s headquarters an hour later, leaving a further 20 people dead.
The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attacks in a statement issued on the IS-linked Amaq agency.
An Islamic group responsible for a terrorist bombing? Inconceivable! Quick, someone Photoshop Brussels with a peace symbol! It’s vital Western Europe continue its Sacred Meaningless Gesture Rituals!
The New York Times has put the current death toll at 34. So in one day, Islamic terrorists have killed as many people as the Baader-Meinhof Gang/red Army faction killed in three decades.
One wonders if a bombing on its doorstep will finally shock the EU out of its complacency and denial regarding both the current wave of unchecked Islamic immigration and its refusal to deal systematically with the threat of jihad.