Posts Tagged ‘waste’

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.

    Salon Writer Complains That Democrats Are Corporate Whores

    Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

    Well well well, what have we here?

    It’s a jeremiad by Democrat Bill Curry about how his party has abandoned its soul for the sweet smell of Wall Street crony capitalist dollars.

    Democrats hooked on corporate cash and consultants with long lists of corporate clients were less attuned to Nader’s issues.

    Democrats today defend the triage liberalism of social service spending but limit their populism to hollow phrase mongering (fighting for working families, Main Street not Wall Street). The rank and file seem oblivious to the party’s long Wall Street tryst. Obama’s economic appointees are the most conservative of any Democratic president since Grover Cleveland but few Democrats seem to notice, or if they notice, to care.

    These days, says Curry, Democrats “don’t believe in ideas because they don’t believe in people” and calls for a Nader-esque populism. (Indeed, Nader’s latest book seems to provide the spine for his piece.)

    Curry actually sees the populist Tea Party energy on the right and laments its absence on his side of the aisle. “If there’s a true populist revolt on the left it is as yet invisible to the naked eye.” (Though I note one very hot populist issue, widespread opposition to the Democratic Party’s push for illegal alien amnesty, is conspicuous by its absence from his piece.)

    “Democratic elites are always up for compromise, but on the wrong issues. Rather than back GOP culture wars, as some do, or foreign wars, as many do, or big business, as nearly all do, they should back libertarians on privacy, small business on credit and middle-class families on taxes.”

    This advice is far from the worst Democrats have received, but they are congenitally unable to follow it for numerous reasons:

  • As a party, Democrats are all in on Big Government. Access to the Gravy Train and charging a transaction fee on robbing Peter to pay Paul are the only thing that holds their coalition together. Likewise, to say Democrats are unenthusiastic about cutting taxes is to vastly understate the case.
  • Democrats can’t embrace populism because both the political and cultural soul of the party is rooted in elitism. The people who run the party in D.C. are absolutely certain that they and their brethren can run peoples’ lives better than they can run their own. And the party’s biggest supporters in blue bastions like New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco are convinced that they are manifestly smarter, more moral, and above all more sophisticated than those gun-toting redneck freaks of JesusLand. Asking them to embrace real populism (as opposed to candidates making meaningless promises every 2 or 4 years) is almost certainly futile.
  • A significant fraction of their supporters in those blue bastions benefit directly from the crony capitalism Currey decries.
  • There are also numerous areas where Curry appears unable to shed his blue-colored glasses:

  • When he says “Oddly, the one system working relatively well, public education, is the object of our only sustained reform effort,” he’s ignoring the huge problems in teacher union controlled schools and curricula as documented everywhere from Waiting for Superman to Vergara vs. California. And in his conclusion, the very first member of his potential future coalition mentioned is “unions,” pointedly ignoring the populist revolt against fat cat public sector unions that have helped bankrupt Detroit and numerous California cities.
  • The plight of American workers pushed out of jobs by illegal aliens, and the popular revolt against busing them to communities across the country and amnesty? No mention.
  • He seems equally enthused about small business and fighting “global warming,” with nary a mention about how the EPA’s power grab thanks to the latter is crushing small business left and right, nor how many “green” firms are riding the crony capitalist gravy train.
  • Other populist “small ball” issues that never get mentioned: cheap light bulbs that work and toilets that flush. Though Shalt Not Question Washington’s Mandates.
  • Agribusiness subsidies, crony capitalism in almost its purest form? Not mentioned.
  • The Democratic Party faithful are never, ever, ever going to reengage with Nader, because their hatred for George W. Bush is far stronger and more visceral than their theoretical attachment to populist economic policies.
  • Of course, since it’s Salon, the piece has more than one inside-the-blue-bubble howler:

  • “Nader’s belief in convergence isn’t the same as Obama’s naïve pursuit of the holy grail of bipartisanship.” Obama has pursued “bipartisanship” with much the same fervor the late Amy Winehouse pursued “sobriety.”
  • “Republicans can talk values even while defending a corrupt status quo because, recent Tea Party convulsions aside, defending the status quo is their job. The Democrats’ job is to challenge the status quo; when they don’t do it, nothing they say sounds sincere. ” Republicans certainly defend many cultural status quos, but it is the Democratic Party that has consistently defended the status quo of the lumbering monstrosity that is Big Government.
  • When he says that until 1996, congress “had not enacted any major social or economic reforms since the historic environmental laws of the early ’70s,” he’s flat out lying. (Kemp-Roth was certainly reform.) What he actual means is “No reforms that far left economic populists like myself approve of.”
  • In the next paragraph he decries the deregulation of the airline, trucking and phone industries, missing the point that these were not only reforms, but populist reforms that ended monopoly profits by entrenched special interests, and ones which radically brought down prices for consumers.
  • “But Nader always hit hard; you don’t get to be the world’s most famous shopper by making allowances or pulling punches.” I would venture to guess that the world’s most famous “shopper” is probably someone like Paris Hilton, which is probably not the image he wanted to convey…
  • “Liberals have spent the intervening years debating macroeconomic theory.” Have they? As far as I can tell, the only debate in the ideological vineyards of the Democratic Party is over how much Keynesian vs. how much Marxism.
  • “Democrats must also learn to argue history. They chortle when Michele Bachmann credits the founders with ending slavery or Sarah Palin forgets who Paul Revere rode to warn.” Tiny little problem: By and large Sarah Palin got Paul Revere’s story right, no matter how much liberals might insist otherwise.
  • “The best template of populism remains the career of William Jennings Bryan.” Well, it’s not that Curry is necessarily wrong per se, but one must view with a certain jaundiced eye the idea that current electoral models can be found in a man who probably peaked in 1896.
  • Indeed, when you get right down to it, Curry’s piece could be boiled down to “Talk vaguely about populism while pushing the same Big Government, redistributionist schemes liberals always push.” Maybe the Nader book itself is bolder (and if someone wants to pay me to review it, I’d happily give it a go), but Curry’s piece is very old and undistinguished wine decanted into a slightly shinier bottle.

    No matter how many times liberals declare “This is it! I’m finally fed up with the Democratic Party!”, the party’s fat cats know the truth. Come November 8, 2016, they’ll remember they loathe Republicans far more than they love reform, and pull the (D) lever no matter how many jeremiads Bill Curry and his ilk pen.

    We’ve seen this movie before, and we know exactly how it ends.

    Ted Cruz Updates His List of Obama’s Abuse of Power

    Friday, May 9th, 2014

    Ted Cruz has thoughtfully compiled a fourth list of Obama Administration abuses of power. If you’ve been following the ObamaCare, IRS and Benghazi scandals, there might not be anything you haven’t already heard, but it’s nice to have them all in one place. There’s also mention of more obscure Obama Administration abuses of power, such as violation of the Magnitsky Act, or paying $205,075 to relocate a $16 shrub. Moreover, every item in the list is sourced, most to MSM outfits that liberals can’t dismiss summarily dismiss.

    Read the whole thing, then send a copy to any undecided voters you know.

    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.
  • Meet the Kronies

    Monday, February 3rd, 2014

    The Kronies has already been blogged by half the rightospehre, but it’s so well done that I wanted to post it here on the off-chance you haven’t watched it yet:

    Texas vs. California Update for January 8, 2013

    Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

    Time for another look at the respective fortunes of the nation’s two biggest states:

  • Between 1992 and 2010, California lost $45.27 billion in income while Texas gained $24.94B. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • That’s one of the many reasons Texas has a $2.6 billion budget surplus.
  • California’s Attorney General imposes some strange language choices on a proposed pension reform initiative.
  • California Governor Jerry Brown to shift money from a green “cap and trade” fund to the high speed rail boondoggle. “Brown, et al., apparently believe that diverting cap-and-trade fees into the bullet train may buy enough time to move some dirt and lay some track, with the hope that once construction begins, it will create a moral/political commitment to complete the project. But the proposed diversion is more likely to be dumping more money into a bottomless rathole.”
  • Remember: Spending money on green boondoggles means less is available for paying for luxuries like heating classrooms in winter.
  • Desert Hot Springs inches closer to bankruptcy. They’ve already eliminated their fire department, owe $4 million from last year, and are expected to run out of money in April.
  • How the California city of Pacific Grove broke the law and ignored voter wishes to accumulate massive pension debts. “Pacific Grove now has a new unfunded pension deficit of about $45 million, in addition to the $20 million in pension bonds. The deficit grows at 7.5% per year (about $3.2 million compounding).” A neat trick for a city whose entire budget is around $12 million a year. The first in what promises to be a 7 part series.
  • Orange County employees enjoy a whole bunch of plush benefits.
  • There’s a movement afoot in California to replace seniority with performance for determining teacher layoffs. Another group wants to make it easier to fire sex offenders. Naturally teacher’s unions are opposing both. (Hat tip: TPPF.)
  • California declares war on hot sauce maker Sriracha.
  • Is California’s 10 day gun waiting period unconstitutional? (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.)
  • Restaurant chain Mimi’s Cafe relocates their headquarters from California to Texas.
  • There’s a lot of talk (not yet confirmed) that Vista Equity Partners is planning to move Active Network, Websense, and Omnitracs to Texas.
  • Evidently Los Angeles can no longer support a WNBA team. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Allied Van Lines confirmed that Texas remained the number one destination for relocation in 2013.
  • 14 things non-Texans don’t understand.
  • Texas vs. California Roundup for December 11, 2013

    Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

    Time for another roundup of Texas, Red State Champion, versus Blue State California:

  • Texas is the tenth best run state in the union, while California is the worst.
  • The vast gap between California’s haves and Have Nots.
  • The federal court Detroit bankruptcy ruling has made CalPERS nervous. As well it should.
  • Ditto public employee unions. “Government agencies should have the right to reduce future accruals, just as private-sector employers can — and they shouldn’t have to wait until they’re insolvent to do so…In California, prospective benefits are sacrosanct because of a series of poorly reasoned legal rulings…The system must be fixed before more municipalities reach bankruptcy. For state and local governments to climb out of their deep holes of pension debt, they must first stop digging.”
  • A succinct statement of the problem “California local governments cannot thrive if escalating retirement costs crowd out money for public service.” Plus: “Bargaining effectively occurs between unions and those elected largely because of money from unions.”
  • Today’s California city teetering on the edge of bankruptcy: Fresno. (“Fresno? No one goes to Fresno anymore!”)
  • 18 LA County Sheriffs department deputies indicted for “beating jail inmates and visitors, trying to intimidate an FBI agent and other crimes.” (Hat tip: Dwight, who notes “They tried to intimidate an FBI agent? Does LACSD make it a practice to hire and promote deputies who are dumber than a bag of hair?”)
  • Speaking of police behaving badly, 28 Santa Monica cops took home more than $200,000 last year. For comparison, Austin’s chief of police earns $198,819 a year.
  • Even California isn’t wild about Obama anymore.
  • California lobbyist organizes a second junket to Cuba.
  • Charting the Texas oil bool.
  • Cognizant moves operations center from New Jersey to College Station.
  • Texas vs. California Roundup for November 11, 2013

    Monday, November 11th, 2013

    Time for another roundup of Texas vs. California:

  • California’s high tax, high regulation government, and its resultant high cost of living, has given the state the nation’s worst poverty rate. How’s that blue State model working out for you?
  • Fresno is completely broke. “Now the city doesn’t even have a day’s worth of cash in its general fund.”
  • Given the tough economy, CalPERS cuts back on staff bonuses. Ha, just kidding! They doubled them.
  • Desert Hot Springs is the next California city eyeing bankruptcy.
  • Stockton’s Lavish pensions contributed to it’s bankruptcy. But guess who doesn’t have to take a haircut?
  • The message Stockton’s bankruptcy has for other California cities is obvious: Just screw taxpayers.
  • Bankrupt San Bernardino throws the bums out. And the new team looks like they’re willing to take on CalPERS. A case of mixed messages.
  • Covered California, California’s ObamaCare agency, is hair plugs and fat camp.
  • There’s a magazine called Time that says that Texas is the nation’s future. (There’s a longter story, but I don’t feel compelled to obtain a login to read it.) I’m sure Texas has a much brighter future than Time
  • Your tears, Lakers fans! Let me taste them! (Missing from that piece: Dwight Howard will no longer give 10.3% of his income to the state of California, and Texas has no state income tax.)
  • 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.”

    Also:

    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.