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The Mad Crapper
07-03-2011, 09:17 AM
“Failed state.”

That sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Do a web search with the words “failed state” and names like Somalia, Haiti, and Sudan will appear on your computer screen.

Unfortunately, the 31st state in our union – California – is looking more and more like a “failed state” as well. And this should matter to every American, because like it or not, California is both a global economic epicenter and a spectacular place in the world.

My native homeland of California is home to the highest mountain in the contiguous forty-eight states (Mount Whitney), the lowest valley (Death Valley), Facebook, “Surf City, U.S.A.”(Huntington Beach), Apple Computers, The World Champion San Francisco Giants, the most fertile farm land in the world (San Joaquin Valley), eBay, Legoland, Cisco Systems, “the entertainment capitol of the world” (Hollywood), three U.S. Presidents (Richard Nixon by birth, and Herbert Hoover and Ronald Reagan by “adoption”), and Mitsubishi Motors of North America. It remains a global leader in the agricultural, information technology, and aerospace sectors. If it were its own country, it would comprise the eight largest national economy in the world.

This is to say that California can be and should be a place of robust economic opportunity across multiple sectors. But politicians and government employee labor unions have a stranglehold on the state (sound familiar?). Businesses and capital are now leaving while actual economic output is slumping.

Most academicians and government bureaucrats who keep track of the world’s “failed states” still won’t admit that Greece belongs on their lists, so the idea that California has in any sense “failed” isn’t even considered. But if we take seriously the criteria for determining a “failed state,” then the sad truth about California becomes painfully clear.

One of the most often quoted authorities on failed states is The Fund for Peace, a Washington, DC-based non-profit think tank organization, and among the many indicators of a failed state that “FFP” notes is “uneven economic development among group lines.” This notion of “uneven economic development” often has “life or death” implications in places like Zimbabwe or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, yet the idea is every bit as real in California as it regards the disparity between the government, and the private sector economy.

For the record, the government of California presently entails a budget deficit of somewhere between $10 and $15 billion – a deficit that is expected to swell to about $25 billion by the middle of 2012. With this as his backdrop, Governor Jerry Brown took office in January noting at the time that California had a history of “kickin’ the can down the road” with its budget woes, and that his plan to solve California’s dreadful fiscal problems would involve both cuts in government spending, and – if California voters approved – tax increases.

Yet Governor Brown is a life-long government employee, and will have nothing to do with cutting state spending where it is most problematic – in the arena of government employee salaries, benefits, and retirement pensions. In fact, while he has been completely unable to implement his plan of “temporarily extending” certain “temporarily inflated tax rates” (which de facto amounts to a tax increase plan), he has continued lining the pockets of unionized government employees with more lavish expenditures on their salaries, benefits, and retirement pensions.

In April, for example, Brown approved a new contract for the California Prison Guard’s union, which allows guards to accrue unlimited numbers of un-used paid vacation days each year. When a guard retires, the un-used vacation time can now be “cashed-in” at the guard’s highest salary rate- a sweet pay-off from Governor Brown to a labor union that spent nearly $2 million on his campaign last year.

And here’s where yet another set of criteria comes in to play for determining a “failed state.” According to the Fund for Peace, failed states often exhibit “a disappearance of basic state functions that serve the people, including a failure to protect citizens from terrorism and violence…” The high-minded folks at the FFP may not know this, but – shocking news! – California has so horribly mismanaged its prison system that it can’t afford to facilitate all of its prisoners.

After being taken to court over the conditions in which they were detaining convicts – which included as many as 54 prisoners sharing one toilet – the California government was ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in May of this year to release huge numbers of prisoners. This is to say that California’s leaders had plenty of money to spend on their unionized prison guards, yet it doesn’t have enough money to properly facilitate prisoners so as to comply with federal requirements.

Is this “failure enough” to get anybody’s attention? By the FFP’s own criteria, California has failed to fulfill a “basic state function” and to protect “citizens” from “violence.”

The Fund for Peace needs to sound the alarm bells over the California government’s failures, but they probably won’t. It’s up to the state’s citizenry to demand better leadership in Sacramento – before it’s too late.


http://townhall.com/columnists/austinhill/2011/07/03/california,the_failed_state

notorious
07-03-2011, 10:23 AM
My friend and I were talking about Cali a few days ago when a frightening opinion came up.


California and the Northeast are the result of Liberal Utopias coming full term.


I would have to agree.

HolyHandgernade
07-03-2011, 04:44 PM
Let's see, another article blathering on about a failed liberal utopia that fails to mention the Populist/republican initiatives that hamstrung the government into making every improvement a "bond issue". Fails to mention Texas' similar "failed state" deficit, fails to mention the greater population differential to any other state, blames working people and unions, fails to mention a greater diversity of people within the state, fails to mention the differing cultures across such a vast expanse of land, fails....oh, screw it, just more conservative red meat that just fails.

Stewie
07-03-2011, 04:51 PM
The San Joaquin valley is the most fertile land in the world? Really? Not even close. California needs to wake up from its superiority complex.

The Mad Crapper
07-03-2011, 05:16 PM
Let's see, another article blathering on about a failed liberal utopia that fails to mention the Populist/republican initiatives that hamstrung the government into making every improvement a "bond issue".

LMAO

So California has a $26.6 billion dollar deficit and it's--- wait, let me stop laughing--- it's all the republicans fault?

That's some funny moonbat shit there.


fails to mention the greater population differential to any other state

You mean white flight? LMAO

blames working people and unions.

By "working people" do you mean do nothing school administrators? LMAO


Six-figure pensions soar for California school administratorsShare
By Phillip Reese and Laurel Rosenhall
preese@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, Jun. 26, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Sunday, Jun. 26, 2011 - 9:44 am

Thousands of newly retired school administrators will earn more during retirement than most Californians will make during their working careers.


The number of educators receiving $100,000-plus annual pensions jumped 650 percent from 2005 to 2011, going from 700 to 5,400, according to a Bee review of data from the California State Teachers' Retirement System.

Though they make up just 2 percent of CalSTRS pensions, six-figure payouts are a focus of pension reform discussions under way at the Capitol. Six-figure retirees eat 7 percent of CalSTRS benefits and can ultimately get millions more than they put into the system.

Booming administrator salaries are largely behind the trend. Public school superintendents, on average, earned $168,000 in base pay last year, roughly 56 percent more than they did 10 years ago, according to data from the California Department of Education.

"Top-level management … start their careers at a higher wage level, see larger percentage increases than their classroom colleagues, and they still manage to work long careers," said CalSTRS spokesman Ricardo Duran.

A series of benefit enhancements a decade ago also explain the rise. Experienced teachers and administrators can now make a pension equal to 2.4 percent of their highest pay for each year of service, up from a flat 2 percent. Largely as a result, more than a third of the state's six-figure pensioners earn more each year in retirement than they ever did on the job.

The number of six-figure pensions will likely continue to rise as more highly paid baby boomers reach the end of their careers.

CalSTRS is the nation's second-largest public pension system, trailing only its cousin, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, which, as reported by The Bee earlier this month, also has seen a surge in $100,000 pensions. CalSTRS serves teachers and administrators in the state's community colleges and school districts.

Like other public pension systems, CalSTRS has financial problems. The value of its assets isn't enough to cover what it has promised in benefits. System officials estimate CalSTRS will be unable to fund benefits in about 30 years unless the Legislature implements higher contribution rates for school districts, employees or the state.

Investment losses, broad pay raises and benefit boosts, not six-figure pensions, are the primary cause of CalSTRS' troubles. Most CalSTRS retirees are teachers, and the average annual benefit for those who retired last year is $49,000.

Big pensions are a drag, though, and they will hamper the system if they continue to grow exponentially. Already, six-figure CalSTRS retirees get $645 million in annual benefits – almost as much as the combined pay of Sacramento County's 11,000 teachers.

"The system says (six-figure pensions) are a tiny percentage of all pensions," said pension reform advocate Jack Dean, who runs the PensionTsunami.com blog. "They are, but they keep growing. I look at it as the tip of the iceberg, and every day it seems to grow."


The $100,000 club

Several of the best-known former superintendents from the Sacramento region earn close to $200,000 a year in pensions, including:

• Sacramento City Unified superintendent Mary Carrillo Mejia, who will earn about $195,000 in pension benefits this year.

• San Juan Unified Superintendent General Davie, who will earn about $181,000.

• Sacramento County Office of Education Superintendent David Meaney, who will earn about $192,000.

Meaney retired in 2004 with 42 years of service, including two years he received free as a retirement incentive. His annual salary increased about 90 percent to $188,302 during his last 10 years on the job, CalSTRS records show.

Asked about his pension, Meaney noted that CalSTRS members generally don't get Social Security benefits. Meaney paid into Social Security when he moonlighted teaching college classes, but he was not able to draw much because of his participation in CalSTRS.

"So people are taking a hit. That is a downside of retiring under STRS in California," he said. The maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at Meaney's age is about $21,000 annually, or about one-ninth of his annual retirement benefits.

In contrast to booming supervisor salaries, average teacher pay – about $68,000 last year – grew only slightly faster than average pay for all California workers during the last decade, state data show. In the Sacramento region, teachers constitute less than 20 percent of educators earning six-figure pensions.

"Teachers are working their entire career," said Jennifer Baker, an advocate for the California Teachers Association. "They're not working to get rich but they know they have a secure, solid retirement they can count on."

When teachers do make the $100,000 club, it's typically at the lower end of the spectrum, and because they've had long careers. Most $100,000 pensioners have put in more than 30 years on the job and retired after age 62.

Sometimes, it's even a mistake. Marilyn DeVore, 64, of Yuba County draws a $101,000 pension, even though her highest salary as a teacher was $84,000. When she retired three years ago, CalSTRS erroneously gave her 53 years of service credit, said Duran, the CalSTRS official.

But the pension system never contacted DeVore about the mistake, she said, and she was surprised when The Bee informed her that her pension was based on the wrong count of her years worked.

"I would have immediately caught that," DeVore said. "I'm a math teacher."

She said all the paperwork she signed at the time of retirement showed she had 43 years of service credit, the amount she says she earned during a 40-year career that included many years of extra duties coaching sports and teaching night school.

DeVore appears to be one of more than 22,000 CalSTRS retirees who were overpaid last year, costing the system $43 million, according to a recent CalSTRS report on erroneous payments to beneficiaries.

"In no way was I knowledgeable about this," DeVore said. "And I will in good conscience make it right with STRS."

Her benefits will soon be lowered and she'll have to slowly start paying back the extra money she received, Duran said.


Reforming the funding

Administrators defend large raises and high pensions by noting that leading a school district got tougher in the last decade as accountability programs such as No Child Left Behind took effect.

Superintendents and principals are at risk of losing their jobs if student test scores don't meet benchmarks, said Bob Wells, executive director of the Association for California School Administrators.

In addition, Wells said, districts underpaid administrators in the 1990s and California was losing some of its best school leaders to other states.

"School boards keep an eye on those things," Wells said. "When you realize you need a great superintendent in order to run a big school district, you have to compete around the country."

Other states do offer administrators generous salaries and pensions. In New York, about seven educators earn $100,000-plus pensions per 10,000 students, according to data from SeeThroughNY, a public watchdog. That's almost the same rate as in California.

At the same time, though, most other teacher pension systems are, like CalSTRS, inadequately funded. A recent Manhattan Institute study found that U.S. teacher pension plans need almost $1 trillion more in funding to pay promised benefits.

Because of funding difficulties in CalSTRS and CalPERS, debate over large pensions has grown during recent months. Leaders in the Capitol are discussing pension reform as part of a possible state budget deal – and a potential ballot initiative that would force big pension changes.

The CalSTRS governing board entered the fray this month, asking legislators to limit the amount of compensation that would count toward pension benefits.

The board proposed a limit of $147,000 that would float upward with inflation. Earnings above that amount would go into a supplementary pension program that is akin to a 401(k) plan.

The CalSTRS board stipulated that the measure should not apply to current members, so its impact largely wouldn't be felt for decades. The current federal cap is $245,000, but applies only to those hired after 1996.

Some board members made clear they didn't care much for the idea of a cap, but they wanted a voice in the burgeoning discussion, lest legislators approve something more draconian.

"It's not like it's going to work," said Rich Zeiger, who represented State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson at the CalSTRS meeting. His comments were greeted by chuckles.

"You will drive people out," he said. "There will not be superintendents in the system. They will go to CalPERS. They will go in another system. Or they'll set up their own."


© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.



Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/26/3727843/six-figure-pensions-soar-for-california.html#ixzz1R5DdjafQ

notorious
07-04-2011, 10:14 AM
Let's see, another article blathering on about a failed liberal utopia that fails to mention the Populist/republican initiatives that hamstrung the government into making every improvement a "bond issue". Fails to mention Texas' similar "failed state" deficit, fails to mention the greater population differential to any other state, blames working people and unions, fails to mention a greater diversity of people within the state, fails to mention the differing cultures across such a vast expanse of land, fails....oh, screw it, just more conservative red meat that just fails.

:facepalm:


So you are telling us that California is not a Liberal state? ROFL

stevieray
07-04-2011, 10:25 AM
Let's see, another article blathering on about a failed liberal utopia that fails to mention the Populist/republican initiatives that hamstrung the government into making every improvement a "bond issue". Fails to mention Texas' similar "failed state" deficit, fails to mention the greater population differential to any other state, blames working people and unions, fails to mention a greater diversity of people within the state, fails to mention the differing cultures across such a vast expanse of land, fails....oh, screw it, just more conservative red meat that just fails. do you meam California allowed itself to become Mexifornia?

HolyHandgernade
07-04-2011, 10:44 AM
:facepalm:


So you are telling us that California is not a Liberal state? ROFL

Where in the frickin' world did you draw that conclusion from? My God, some of you people have your heads so far up your ideological asses it amazes me at the difference between what was written and how you interpreted it. Of course, California is liberal (despite large pockets of extreme conservatism in central California as well as San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties). The point is, relative to its population, California's deficit isn't any worse than a handful of other states including Texas. The problem isn't the difference between a liberal and a conservative state. Outside of North Dakota, just about every state is facing hardships born from a multitude of national problems, not local ones.

But if it makes you feel better, yes, our liberal socialist dream out here is facing hardships, but they are not so different from other populous states except in what you choose to emphasize.

HolyHandgernade
07-04-2011, 10:45 AM
do you meam California allowed itself to become Mexifornia?

I have no idea what you're talking about to even formulate a witty retort.

stevieray
07-04-2011, 10:46 AM
I have no idea what you're talking about to even formulate a witty retort.


....go to LA.

The Mad Crapper
07-04-2011, 11:00 AM
My God, some of you people have your heads so far up your ideological asses

Oh, the irony.

notorious
07-04-2011, 11:26 AM
Where in the frickin' world did you draw that conclusion from? My God, some of you people have your heads so far up your ideological asses it amazes me at the difference between what was written and how you interpreted it. Of course, California is liberal (despite large pockets of extreme conservatism in central California as well as San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties). The point is, relative to its population, California's deficit isn't any worse than a handful of other states including Texas. The problem isn't the difference between a liberal and a conservative state. Outside of North Dakota, just about every state is facing hardships born from a multitude of national problems, not local ones.

But if it makes you feel better, yes, our liberal socialist dream out here is facing hardships, but they are not so different from other populous states except in what you choose to emphasize.


You said that the Republican party hamstung the ****ing state. That's where I drew the conclusion. They have a fraction of the power that the Liberals have in that state.

At least Texas puts a lot smaller tax burden on their citizens then California.

BTW, I despise both parties, so you better pull your head out of your idealogical ass.

Fruit Ninja
07-04-2011, 11:31 AM
do you meam California allowed itself to become Mexifornia?

What the fuck does your ass mean allowed itself to become? When was it never not?

We been here since before the white folks!

Chiefshrink
07-04-2011, 11:32 AM
My friend and I were talking about Cali a few days ago when a frightening opinion came up.


California and the Northeast are the result of Liberal Utopias coming full term.


I would have to agree.

Precisely:thumb:

Chiefshrink
07-04-2011, 11:34 AM
Let's see, another article blathering on about a failed liberal utopia that fails to mention the Populist/republican initiatives that hamstrung the government into making every improvement a "bond issue". Fails to mention Texas' similar "failed state" deficit, fails to mention the greater population differential to any other state, blames working people and unions, fails to mention a greater diversity of people within the state, fails to mention the differing cultures across such a vast expanse of land, fails....oh, screw it, just more conservative red meat that just fails.

Another blind "useful idiot":rolleyes:

Chiefshrink
07-04-2011, 11:36 AM
BTW, nice find "Crapper":thumb:

HolyHandgernade
07-04-2011, 11:38 AM
....go to LA.

OK, that clears it all up. :banghead:

The Mad Crapper
07-04-2011, 11:38 AM
What the **** does your ass mean allowed itself to become? When was it never not?

We been here since before the white folks!

Who? The Spanish or the Mexicans?

HolyHandgernade
07-04-2011, 11:47 AM
You said that the Republican party hamstung the ****ing state. That's where I drew the conclusion. They have a fraction of the power that the Liberals have in that state.

At least Texas puts a lot smaller tax burden on their citizens then California.

BTW, I despise both parties, so you better pull your head out of your idealogical ass.

That's why, if you don't go back to the populism movement you won't understand. California Legislature can't pass any new tax without a 2/3 majority, which is damn near impossible. So now, everything becomes a bond issue. People read "this measure will not increase your taxes" and so they are more apt to approve things instead of really weighing the cost against their pocketbook. Many things contribute to poor economic strategies, but this stupid article makes you want to believe we're on the verge of starvation and para military factions. Each state has its own strategies for collecting and paying for the things its population wants and blaming this on a liberal (or in the case of Texas) a conservative ideology is nothing more than a way for one group to feel good about themselves and their position.

Now, maybe The Mad Crapper really believes all this crap he vomits all over the board, but the complexity of a socio-economic state is rarely so simplistic. Micro economies push up, national economies push down. It has very little to do with some "failed liberal utopia".

Chiefshrink
07-04-2011, 11:53 AM
That's why, if you don't go back to the populism movement you won't understand. California Legislature can't pass any new tax without a 2/3 majority, which is damn near impossible. So now, everything becomes a bond issue. People read "this measure will not increase your taxes" and so they are more apt to approve things instead of really weighing the cost against their pocketbook. Many things contribute to poor economic strategies, but this stupid article makes you want to believe we're on the verge of starvation and para military factions. Each state has its own strategies for collecting and paying for the things its population wants and blaming this on a liberal (or in the case of Texas) a conservative ideology is nothing more than a way for one group to feel good about themselves and their position.

Now, maybe The Mad Crapper really believes all this crap he vomits all over the board, but the complexity of a socio-economic state is rarely so simplistic. Micro economies push up, national economies push down. It has very little to do with some "failed liberal utopia".

:facepalm:

Yes, I can't wait for my Chinese tax dollars to start bailing your native state ass out only to further Progressive Marxism and continue the "Utopian insanity:shake:

HolyHandgernade
07-04-2011, 11:53 AM
At least Texas puts a lot smaller tax burden on their citizens then California.

BTW, I despise both parties, so you better pull your head out of your idealogical ass.

Yes, but how are they going to pay for things? They have a proportional deficit the size of California but their only solution is to continue to cut things rather than tax. I mean, how much can Texas really afford to cut before it affects their education, their utility services, etc.? Like I said in the other post, all States have their preferred method, but it doesn't mean Texas is solving it any better than California.

Despise both parties? Well, that's easy to say but has little real meaning anymore. I mean, who really likes politicians and lawyers? Apathy/hate, in the end they will still be the means by which we attempt to solve things, unless, of course, you're advocating some type of military overthrow.

The Mad Crapper
07-04-2011, 11:54 AM
That's why, if you don't go back to the populism movement you won't understand. California Legislature can't pass any new tax without a 2/3 majority, which is damn near impossible.

I understand the folly of California's absurd tax laws, but the majority in the legislature are democrats.

So for you to exclusively blame republicans for all of the insane spending that your state does WHEN IT DOESN'T HAVE THE MONEY is assinine.

HolyHandgernade
07-04-2011, 11:54 AM
:facepalm:

Yes, I can't wait for my Chinese tax dollars to start bailing your native state ass out only to further Progressive Marxism and continue the "Utopian insanity:shake:

I didn't know Kansas was in such dire straits.

The Mad Crapper
07-04-2011, 12:00 PM
California has the third highest state income tax in the nation: a 9.55% tax bracket at $47,055 and a 10.55% bracket at $1,000,000.

California has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%.

Residents of California pay the highest gasoline taxes (over 67 cents per gallon) in the U.S.


Even with all of the taxes, the budget deficit for the California state government for the current year is approximately 26 billion dollars.


California's unfunded pension liability is estimated to be somewhere between $120 billion and $500 billion.


Twenty percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid.

notorious
07-04-2011, 12:22 PM
unless, of course, you're advocating some type of military overthrow.


Nope.


There will be an end to the US, and then there will be a reset. There is no avoiding it.

Chiefshrink
07-04-2011, 12:29 PM
I didn't know Kansas was in such dire straits.

My apologies, I misread one of your posts then. Regardless you get my point.

Hydrae
07-05-2011, 08:51 AM
California has the third highest state income tax in the nation: a 9.55% tax bracket at $47,055 and a 10.55% bracket at $1,000,000.

California has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%.

Residents of California pay the highest gasoline taxes (over 67 cents per gallon) in the U.S.


Even with all of the taxes, the budget deficit for the California state government for the current year is approximately 26 billion dollars.


California's unfunded pension liability is estimated to be somewhere between $120 billion and $500 billion.


Twenty percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid.

I was questioning those numbers and found that you are correct about the state sales tax rate. On this site (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/Content/PDF/state_sales_tax.pdf) it has rates back to 2000. In 2000, the sales tax rate in California was at 5.75%. That is a hell of a jump in the last 11 years. (BTW, Texas has held steady at 6.25% during this same timeframe.)

The Mad Crapper
07-05-2011, 10:57 AM
I was questioning those numbers and found that you are correct about the state sales tax rate. On this site (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/Content/PDF/state_sales_tax.pdf) it has rates back to 2000. In 2000, the sales tax rate in California was at 5.75%. That is a hell of a jump in the last 11 years. (BTW, Texas has held steady at 6.25% during this same timeframe.)

Good work. :thumb: