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  • California’s Tipping Point

    Posted by Shannon Love on January 23rd, 2009 (All posts by )

    I think a threshold or tipping point exists in the ratio between the political power of those who pay taxes and those who consume taxes directly. After that tipping point is reached, those who pay taxes become the economic slaves of those who consume taxes.

    I think California has passed that point. [h/t Instapundit] Tax consumers now control the state government and can vote themselves almost any level of personal income and benefits they wish while taxpayers cannot muster the political capital to defend themselves. 

    This might seem overwrought but it has a precedent in the concept of the military-industrial complex. When that arch-leftist Eisenhower created the concept he warned that those who benefited from military spending, from stockholders and CEOs of defense companies to strippers who work the clubs outside military bases, would bring political pressure to distort defense priorities. He was right. The problem has bedeviled us ever since WWII. We keep bases we don’t need and buy new toys instead of spending money on training ammo. 

    Now, in addition to the existing vested interest in military spending, imagine that the 3 million active and reserve service members along with 500,000 civilian military employees all belonged to a single compulsory union. Imagine that the union endorsed candidates and policies, donated a lot of money to campaigns, assigned soldiers to go door-to-door and man phone banks. Imagine that the majority of people in Washington were in the union and had constant access to politicians. Unions provide a ready-made organizational framework that makes unions much more politically effective than a similar number of unorganized citizens of the same size would be. Their ability to buy advertising alone dwarfs that of any other group. The military union could bring enormous pressure to bear on any politician and force them to vote for more military spending. How much more distorted would military spending be than it is now? How much harder would it be to reduce military spending?

    This is the condition that California and other states with powerful public-sector unions find themselves in. California has ~2.3 million unionized government workers and ~18.6 million civilians. With so many people organized with a laser-like focus on increasing taxes and spending, the private working citizens of California find it nearly impossible to prevent government workers from voting their own paychecks.

    In effect, government workers have hijacked democracy. Instead of state employees working for the people, the people now work for the state employees. As far as the state government is concerned, people in the private sector work merely so that they can be taxed for the benefit of the tax consumers. They’ve entered a condition not unlike like that of pre-industrial serfs. 

    Of course no one is being whipped, but in effect an ordinary citizen of California cannot get their desires for reduced state spending implemented due to the disproportionate power of the State’s employees and allied interest. It appears now that the government unions will not accept any solution to California’s budget crisis except increased taxes in a declining economy. Ordinary citizens have no choice but to either emigrate or just lie there and take it. 

    By long custom and law, the U.S. military has remained ruthlessly apolitical. Serving members do not endorse candidates, organize politically in any fashion or make independent public statements about campaign issues. That standard evolved due to the obvious danger of having a military with a positive feedback loop into the political system that controls its budget. The same danger exists for all other state employees, albeit in a slower and less dramatic fashion. 

    No one should be able to vote their own paycheck. Government-employee unions should be legally restricted from engaging in any kind of political activity. If not, it is only a matter of time before civil servants become civil masters. 

     

    93 Responses to “California’s Tipping Point”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      “They’ve entered a condition not unlike that of pre-industrial serfs.”

      Beware the not-un- construction.

      I agree with the thrust here. Still, people can leave California without legal impediment, which is a big difference. And they can vote. And they have some legal protections against confiscation of their property.

      But the trend is very, very bad.

      We are getting near this point on a national level. When we get there, we will really be very far down the road to serfdom, since leaving the USA is hard, and there is nowhere left to go.

    2. onparkstreet Says:

      Once, during one of my very bad days in east-coast-academia-instructordom, I kind of half-heartedly (as in, not really serious) dug up info about the concierge hospitals in India and asked my friends who had practiced medicine in India about them. “Oh, it’s still really hard to practice medicine there, you have no idea.” I mean, I’d never go, this is my home and I love it, but, it’s funny how our family had a back-up plan to go back to India if things went bust here. Never happened (thanks USA!). Still.

      The whole, ‘where would you go’ quesion is interesting. It would be bad if there were groups of skilled Americans in the future who decided, well, this corner of Australia or that corner of India is the place to be. I love my country, but, for my family…. I guess I don’t have to make a case to THIS crowd about pushing too hard on some people.

    3. Lexington Green Says:

      “I guess I don’t have to make a case to THIS crowd about pushing too hard on some people.”

      Most of us will stay here and fight.

    4. onparkstreet Says:

      Oh, I believe that, but, you never know. Maybe at one time there were groups of Brits who thought the same thing, too, that they would stay and fight, and now you read about a steady outward migration. Tipping points are funny that way.

      *By going bust, I meant, if we failed to make it here, because you don’t want to be a burden, you want to support yourself.

    5. david foster Says:

      “It would be bad if there were groups of skilled Americans in the future who decided, well, this corner of Australia or that corner of India is the place to be”…but I understand that there *are* quite a few extremely-skilled Americans of Indian heritage who *have* decided to move to India to take advantage of expanded business opportunities there. There are more than a few Indians in Silicon Valley, and lousy business climate + high taxes in California might well push some of them over the threshold of going to India.

    6. marysaidno Says:

      Even if you go, you can’t really escape the taxation.I live in Ireland now, not sure it is any better. I am not enamoured of the EU.

      I have to file tax returns in both US and Ireland and even with tax agreements between countries,pay some tax in each. If I am successful in my application for Irish citizenship, and reject my US citizenship, I will still be liable for taxes in US for ten years after, thanks to a recent law. I do not know where else to go, and do not think I have it in me to fight to restore the America in which I believe. I think there are too few of us to be successful in restoring the America of our founding fathers. It is very sad.

      I do not know what the future holds for my two teenage sons. I am going to discourage my 17 year old from registering for selective service and wish my 19 year old hadn’t done so last year. I hope we will all be granted Irish citizenship and then look to see if there is anywhere else we could go.

    7. david foster Says:

      Let’s not get too despairing here. There have been dark times before. In the 1930s, many people thought our only choice would be between Fascist dictatorship and Communist dictatorship.

    8. onparkstreet Says:

      Yikes, I hope I wasn’t being too despairing. I was mostly musing…the US has a unique way of re-inventing itself. The Right will sort itself out, it’s just going through a bad phase.

    9. Joel Ruff Says:

      One can always leave and make a life elsewhere: west coast of Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic etc–many Americans with not lots of money can live comfortably in such places.

      fl

    10. Dan from Madison Says:

      Few people here are remembering the dark days of the seventies that were eventually righted. I grew up in that time and it was very depressing. The Democrats controlled the House for 40 years in a row before Newt. Bill Buckley was heard. Reagan came along. Things will change. I think sooner rather than later – I hope anyways. There will be short term pain. I will fight, as will others.

    11. Lexington Green Says:

      Agreed the ’30s and ’70s were terrible, in many ways far worse than now.

      We will not break faith with the Founders and the men of Valley Forge and so many others over more than two centuries.

      I’m not going anywhere. We get the ship back on course, or I, for one, go down with it.

    12. veryretired Says:

      One of the key elements in dealing with the issue of overbearing government, at least at the state and local level, is the possibility of drafting a referendum which can circumvent the powerful government/teachers’ unions and their captive legislatures.

      Given recent history, this option is especially pertinent to California. I don’t think the working people there are as helpless as it may appear, but they are definitely vulnerable to some serious depredations by the “public service” mavens.

      As an aside, my wife and I were talking very seriously about moving to California to be near her(even more) elderly parents after our youngest graduates from high school next year, but we’re having some serious second thoughts given the imminent bankruptcy of the state and its seeming inability to come to grips with the situation.

    13. John Galt Says:

      Who am I???

    14. checkers Says:

      Where to go?
      I suspect if it gets really that bad, that Texas, Montana, Alaska and maybe a couple others will have seceded from the Union.
      Go there.

    15. jaymaster Says:

      Don’t forget that for those 2.3 million govvy workers in CA, there are probably another 4.6 million or so who make a large portion of their living by providing those government employees with food, haircuts, oil changes, etc. And they will provide crucial votes in the battles to come.

      Those secondary government teat suckers also rely on us productive citizens for the majority of their income. We can’t let them forget that.

    16. Annie B Says:

      I suspect the migration with be between states.

      New York drove the producers south, to states that were then quite willing to welcome them with low taxes and more business freedom. Those states have in many cases ‘gone south’ themselves ( so to speak) but that just leaves an opening for those states that didn’t get a chance to grow and prosper the last time around. As the cyber age puts more emphasis on human value and less on natural advantages like ports and rivers, migration of production actually becomes easier.

    17. Tood Says:

      Keep in mind that California is becoming more and more Hispanic.

      There is not a SINGLE Hispanic Republican politician in CA.

      Hispanic folk heros are leftist : Cesar Chavez, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez.

      Whites are leaving for Arizona and Nevada. Asians are leaving for Asia (and taking pieces of the Silicon Valley engine with them).

      So exactly why will CA become less socialist?

    18. Tood Says:

      Places for an American to go to in order to escape taxes, while still continuing their career are :

      Hong Kong
      Singapore
      Dubai
      Australia
      Taiwan
      Some parts of India

      Those are all good choices.

    19. ALEXISTAN Says:

      Perhaps, then, it is time for a tax strike?

      Cannot the beast be starved?

      Stop paying taxes.

      Everyone.

    20. flenser Says:

      But remember – there are no negative consequences to open borders! This is the free market in action. It never occured to anyone to ask “what if the free market wants socialism?”.

    21. Supremacy Claus Says:

      California has 10% of the US population, but 15% of the nation’s lawyers. Government is a wholly owned subsidiary of the lawyer profession. They make 99% of the policy decisions, with elected officials as figureheads. It is the lawyer profession that is out of control, and that must be stopped. A law must exclude this oppressive group from all benches, all legislative seats, and from all policy positions in the executive branch. These laws are like those excluding the felon from such responsible positions.

    22. flenser Says:

      “New York drove the producers south, to states that were then quite willing to welcome them with low taxes and more business freedom.”

      And once they got there, they set about reproducing the conditions which ruined the states they left. Just as the Californian exiles are doing now to places like Colorado and Arizona.

    23. ObiJohnKenobe Says:

      This begs the question of why government employees need a union? After all, the government is supposed to enforce the labor laws, right?

      Disallow unions for government employees and a lot of this goes away… so therefore it won’t happen.

    24. Anonymous Says:

      California has ~2.3 million unionized government workers?

      I’m just curious where you got this figure. It sounds extraordinary. I take it you only include workers for the state of California, since employees for other levels of government would be happy to cut state workers and save on their taxes.

    25. Shannon Love Says:

      ObiJohnKenobe,

      Certainly in the modern era, no one needs a union for any reason other than extortion. Government unions are intrinsically anti-democratic, especially when given the power to strike. No one should have the ability to shut down government services against the will of the people.

    26. New Frontiersman Says:

      “New York drove the producers south, to states that were then quite willing to welcome them with low taxes and more business freedom. Those states have in many cases ‘gone south’ themselves ( so to speak) but that just leaves an opening for those states that didn’t get a chance to grow and prosper the last time around. As the cyber age puts more emphasis on human value and less on natural advantages like ports and rivers, migration of production actually becomes easier.”

      The trouble with that is:

      “Still, people can leave California without legal impediment, which is a big difference. And they can vote.” (Yes, I’m taking this out of context.)

      The Supreme Court banned long-term residency requirements to vote back forty years ago. So we have the phenomenon where you have Californians leave the state for better economic prospects . . . and then make new Californias, as Flenser pointed out. See Vermont’s transformation from a New Hampshire clone to what it is today under the influence of New Yorkers. Or the same effect starting to happen to New Hampshire today from Massachusetts. Or what’s happening in northeast Virginia.

    27. Allan E. Says:

      It is time for the states that are being overrun by the people leaving California to pass a law that former Californians can not vote for the first five years that they reside in their new states. That just might be long enough to deprogram them from their socialist ideas. Or piss them off so they stay away.

    28. kurt9 Says:

      I lived in Japan for 9 years and taiwan for 1 year. I have spent considerable time in Malaysia. In addition, my wife is a Japanese national, which means we can always go back to Japan if we like. I am as comfortable living in these kinds of places as I am in the U.S. In terms of happiness and psychological comfort, I don’t have to remain in the U.S. (or even “The West”) if I don’t want to.

      Most of the Asian countries have lower taxes (both corporate and individual) and less regulation than the U.S. The notable exception is Japan, which has a higher corporate tax rate than the U.S. and comparable levels of regulation (but in different ways). Taiwan is as much of a “free market” place as Hong Kong, but has lots of corruption in its government. The cities there are rather messy and noisy as well (although I got used to it) as the Chinese tend to be.

      I don’t know much about Korea other that it has brutally cold winters, which makes it unacceptable to me.

      Generally speaking, the other English speaking countries, not to mention the “continent”, are more socialistic than the U.S. In addition, Australia regulates vitamins and nutritional supplements more than the U.S. (which makes it unacceptable to me).

      If you are looking to leave the U.S. for “economic freedom”, I recommend that you learn Mandarin language and consider the East Asian countries. A specialized job skill (i.e. engineering, technical sales) is desirable too.

      In reality, I do not expect things to get that bad in the rest of the U.S. If the liberal-left really deep-six the economy, Obama will get tossed in ’12 just like Carter did in ’80. California will implode, of course. But could be quite nice around 2020 or so, once the state government has been downsized through bankruptcy and all of the state assets auctioned off.

    29. Shannon Love Says:

      Anonymous 10:55 pm,

      California has ~2.3 million unionized government workers? I’m just curious where you got this figure

      California has 2.3 million state and local government workers. Most 90% are in one union or another. Teachers, police, fire, corrections officers, highway workers, office workers etc all belong to unions which to my knowledge are compulsory. The unions way in heavily on political issues. They are especially noted for spending millions on advertising campaigns. They collect those millions from union dues. So, even if 49% of government worker oppose an issue the other 51% can force the union to support it.

    30. Iowaboy Says:

      I am one of the thousands of recent emigres from California (now living in working in Illinois). I left because I think the political-economic structure there is fundamentally untenable, with the mask hiding the state’s inherint insolvency now finally falling off, unreachable by any short-term fix or fiscal trick. They are now rewriting taxes as fees to circumvent legislative voting laws governing tax increases, in flagrant violation of the law, but the state’s chief law enforcement officer and the eunuch governor do nothing. Shannon is right on the money with this post. The government-union complex has for some time now been a competing power base to the civilian electorate, choosing its voters via open gerrymandering and forming an oligarchy via a revolving door of politicians who move from job to job to get around term limits. Now, as that tax-paying middle class flees, it is being replaced by not only a non-tax-paying working poor but one primarily of foreign origin. California is engaged in a mass importation of poverty that will not even have the illusion of supporting the state’s financial commitments. We are seeing Raspail’s Camp of the Saints become real.

    31. Tood Says:

      “It is time for the states that are being overrun by the people leaving California to pass a law that former Californians can not vote for the first five years that they reside in their new states. ”

      Terrible idea. It is conservative Californians who are leaving. Leftist Californians are staying.

      Remember that CA was a red state as recently as 1988 (going to GHWB not Dukakis).

    32. Kevin R.C. O'Brien Says:

      California is not the only basket case.

      I stayed in Massachusetts through November to vote — not because my vote would make a difference in the foregone-conclusion Presidential race, but because an income tax rollback was on the ballot.

      It lost by about 70-30 — which is about the ratio of tax eaters to tax payers in the Bay State. I paid at least $14k in state income taxes and Lord knows how much sales tax, gas tax, meals tax etc in 2008. I’ve relocated, and there’s going to be that much less to feed the leeches this year.

      I’m sure that if “Coupe” Deval Patrick could get his greedy, grasping mitts on me he’d crucify me for taking food off his union pals’ banquet table. But I’m beyond his reach.

      I may not be Spartacus, but I am John Galt.

    33. Blue Eyed Indian Says:

      Checkers: Bingo! You are right to a point. Washington D.C. is corrupt beyond all repair(98% voted Obama) and Washington State is not far behind. Every indication is the Sixties radicals and their clueless, bleeding heart, utopian students have ruthlessly taken over the country as we know it.Some of their next moves are(not necessarily in chronological order)

      1) They will give amnesty to all illegals, thus ensuring perpetual liberalism.
      2) Make the constitution a “living document” thereby allowing legislation from the bench.
      3) Pass a “Kyoto” style treaty which will gut American production and prosperity.
      4) Unionize the entire country.
      5) Encourage the UN to form a world government with the US in it.
      6) Re-enact the “Fairness Doctrine” to eliminate any dissent.

      It has been said that at that time it would be necessary for those wishing to be free would look at forming the Central States of America. A new constitution based on the original US constitution without the ultra-liberal add-ons would be drawn up. The contiguous “Red States” including Alaska would be happy to join by popular vote. There is some indication that Western Canada(specifically Alberta and Yukon) would be interested in joining. (Gulf coast to Alaska as an independant country.) Rapid City ,SD would make a refreshing new National Capitol City.

      It may come to this.

    34. rrr Says:

      “Terrible idea. It is conservative Californians who are leaving. Leftist Californians are staying.”

      Bull crap. I’ve seen first-hand what Californians do when they move. They change the entire culture to reflect Californian values. They’re like roaches. I live far away from them now and I hope I never have to land in their next hot spot ever again.

      Don’t forget the inevitable contradiction of leftist belief–I want higher taxes and more government for everyone but me. Me? I’ll move to some other state to escape high taxes and corrupt government and then start to vote for high taxes and big government when I get there and then wonder wide-eyed what happened when the cycle starts all over again. Roaches.

    35. New Frontiersman Says:

      Allan E. —

      Like I said, the Supreme Court has ruled long-term state residency requirements unconstitutional. Pass such a law in your state, and it’ll get slapped down.

    36. chuck Says:

      Unions are a type of monopoly and exist, as do other monopolies, to provide job security and income. Seeking such is a natural tendency of mankind and is why we have laws to limit industrial monopolies. There are no such laws regulating government employee unions, unfortunately.

    37. Blacque Jacques Shellacque Says:

      And they can vote.

      If by this you mean that the “voters” might somehow find it within themselves to change the situation by replacing their elected representatives, no chance. They’ll simply replace the current batch of tax-and-spend idiots in Sacramento with another batch of tax-and-spend idiots.

    38. renminbi Says:

      The franchise should be restricted to those who pay taxes and who are not on the state teat.The fact of the matter is almost all the democracies are marching off a cliff.as presently constituted they are not viable; I doubt more than a handful will be around at the end of the century.

    39. Sean Says:

      New York is the absolute same boat.

      There are about 8 million workers in New York State, and 2 million are unionized (1 million public sector, 1 million private sector). The vast majority of those unionized folks vote.

      In the 2006 Gubernatorial election, 4.6 million votes were cast. The unions allow the left to begin with about 40% of the electorate as a baseline.

      Add in those who depend on government funds (welfare folks, medicaid recipients, government contractors, lawyers, etc.), and the left has won a majority of the electorate before regular citizens even begin to consider issues and ideology.

      Sad to say, like California, New York passed it’s tipping point a few years back. The last competitive statewide election was 2002, and statewide races since then have seen Democrats begin winning 70% of the vote.

      Seems like every 40 years we need to bankrupt ourselves to get our shit together. The 30s, the 70s, and now, the 10s. We’re here folks. Expect it to get much uglier before it gets better.

    40. Don Meaker Says:

      I figure property values have to consider the location. Property located in California is stuck with the California electorate and state legislature. California real estate is overvalued by about a factor of 10. The democratic scum in CA legislature will be happy to steal everything you own, and you can’t move the land to another state. By contrast, real estate in conservative states is undervalued. If you let a CA leftist buy into your state, get a good price.

    41. K Says:

      There was a lot of libertarian activity during the early Clinton years. For example:

      http://tinyurl.com/ckqffx

      as a possible solution to the bandit state.

    42. Brett_McS Says:

      Get a salary or benefits from the state? No vote.

      It’s the only way to stop the positive feedback.

    43. Nahanni Says:

      Blue Eyed Indian,

      It has been said that at that time it would be necessary for those wishing to be free would look at forming the Central States of America. A new constitution based on the original US constitution without the ultra-liberal add-ons would be drawn up. The contiguous “Red States” including Alaska would be happy to join by popular vote. There is some indication that Western Canada(specifically Alberta and Yukon) would be interested in joining. (Gulf coast to Alaska as an independant country.) Rapid City ,SD would make a refreshing new National Capitol City.

      It will cone down to that.

      The “Leftists/Liberal/Progressive” have worked hard and have finally gotten what they wanted-a civil war. it has been a ‘cold’ civil war for the past six years but I have a feeling it will be heating up soon.

      The racist and Marxist rhetoric that is already coming out of the Obama administration combined with the Democrats looting the treasury as fast as they can and the feeling that those of us who are not goosestepping along with the Obamamessiah are voiceless is creating a very bad situation, it feels like watching the clouds on the horizon and knowing that those clouds are part of a hurricane. Add into that mix the constant insults, arrogance out of the MSM and Hollywood towards all of us “redneck racist morons” who aren’t worshiping at the altar of the Obamamessiah like they are and after 4 years of Obama and the Democrats I would not be a bit surprised to see it turn into a ‘hot’ civil war.

      Add in to that the growing migration of thousands out of the bleu states and into the red states is adding gasoline to the fire. Despite what some have claimed that it is the “conservatives” who are leaving the bleu states all one has to do is look at what has happened to formerly decent places to live like Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, etc. to know that what these posters call “conservatives” are considered moonbat Democrats here. I am already seeing many “Yankee Go Home” and “No Californication” and “Welcome to Texas, now GO HOME!” bumper stickers here. People are getting fed up with the liberals bailing out of the states that they have made into social and economic basket cases and moving here and wanting to start the same crap up. To tell you the truth I would not be a bit surprised to hear that someone emptied a clip into a car with California or New York plates on it just on general principles.

      The western provinces of Canada are in a similar boat. They have no voice really, they are drown out by Ontario and Quebec. However I would suspect that only Alberta and perhaps NWT and the Yukon would leave. Sasketchwan and Manitoba are still pure Scandinavian prairie populist (think Minnesota here) to leave the confederation.

    44. aaron Says:

      How about Texas?

      You don’t need to move to Taiwan to find some economic freedom.

      (I do live there now…)

      and seriously, not many people could find jobs in Asia.

    45. Zach Says:

      I’ve been thinking along the lines of OnParkStreet as well. I think that it is very possible that our country could reach a tipping point: the top most talented and educated workers might choose to go elsewhere.
      First, the best would go somewhere else and we wouldn’t even notice. They would graduate from American universities and graduate programs and go back to their home countries, not even seriously considering living in the US.
      Second, children of immigrants, with strong ties to their old countries, who speak that language fluently will start moving back. Places like China and Poland will be desperate for talented workers. Then people who have married foreign nationals will go to other countries.
      These people will be seeds for other family and friends to follow. Imagine if only 1% of the top 10% of American workers decided to leave America. That would have a huge effect on the economy and, especially, tax receipts.
      This effect could be compounded by the fact that some might wish more traditional values for their children and find it overseas as well.
      So, we are not talking about large numbers, or 5th generation Americans. But the impact would be huge. A tipping point, if you will.

    46. dustydog Says:

      [quote]Supremacy Claus Says:
      January 23rd, 2009 at 10:41 pm California has 10% of the US population, but 15% of the nation’s lawyers. Government is a wholly owned subsidiary of the lawyer profession. They make 99% of the policy decisions, with elected officials as figureheads. It is the lawyer profession that is out of control, and that must be stopped. A law must exclude this oppressive group from all benches, all legislative seats, and from all policy positions in the executive branch. These laws are like those excluding the felon from such responsible positions.[/quote]
      Quoted for truth.

    47. Broadsword Says:

      You may say this is off topic, however…As long as the great moral evil of our time, the murder of children in the womb, continues, everything else is secondary. One day people will look back at us, as we do at the arguments for slavery and say, “How could they not see that?” How is it possible to believe there will not be spiritual and moral consequences that grow from this abomination. I think the economic bankruptcies reflect this moral bankruptcy. Again, think of slavery. Imagine yourselves transported with all the modern conveniences and modes of thought to say, Maryland in 1857. Could you ignore the auction blocks? “Opposed to slavery? Don’t own one.” We are being dragged to destruction by the death, from ‘choice’ of one child in every four.

    48. Xmas Says:

      Kevin,

      I’ll tell ya. 5.X% income tax and 5% sales tax on everything except clothes and food ain’t so bad. I travel for a living, and I’m shocked at the rates I’ve seen on things. 11% meals tax in VA, gruesome income taxes in NY and NJ. If you tally state and local taxes together, Massachusetts is right in the middle of the pack.

      http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/336.html

      The major problem in Massachusetts is Proposition 2.5. The local communities can’t raise property taxes high enough, so they lean on the State Government which has to raise taxes so they can give money back to the local communities. It’s very inefficient, but property owners get lower property taxes, so they’re happy.

    49. Cleanthesbrule Says:

      “Rapid City ,SD would make a refreshing new National Capitol City.” Owing to the chinook winds, it has the best weather in the state – it can be very cold in the winter, but there are these pleasant, warm days.. And, with Mt. Rushmore nearby, all that edifice building that took place in D.C. won’t be immediately necessary.

      If British Columbia is added, the new country would already have the quality TV & movie production. A law would have to be passed against anyone moving from Beverly Hills to Vancouver after independence. In fact, completely closed borders for everyone for a decade would probably be a good idea. Longer for Hollywood liberals.

    50. Glenn Says:

      My prediction is that California is going to go through a “significant period of adjustment” The deficit is structural, there simply isn’t money to pay for all the “services” the pols have promised to get elected. And nowhere to get it unless the Feds kick in, and the Feds are running huge deficits as well. Toss into the mix large numbers of the most productive people leaving, and a huge and growing underground economy. No way out. It’s really too bad, it was such a great place to grow up.

    51. mjhlaw Says:

      One chink in the armor of the public employee unions (at least municipal employees) is Chapter 9 bankruptcy, and the potential ability of debtors to reject contracts from the estate. The current case of Vallejo will be very important to watch, as Vallejo has moved to reject the collective bargaining agreements negotiated with the police and firefighters’ unions, the terms of which are extremely generous. The other factor is CalPERS, which like other state pensions is a defined benefits plan with a full funding requirement. The “full funding” requirement is, to an extent, arbitrarily defined by overgenerous actuarial assumptions, as these plans are not subject to the ERISA assumptions required for private sector plans.

    52. lcp Says:

      NO REPRESENTATION WITHOUT TAXATION.

      You don’t pay taxes, you don’t get to vote.

      As a life-long and native San Diegan, California’s decline saddens me, but the slack-jawed blank-stare morons of this state have got it coming. The State’s problems have been so bad and so obvious for so long…and no one has done ANYTHING about it, except to vote for more of the same. And it’s not just that, California used to be a place where everyone wanted to be, now you tell people you’re from California and they laugh. It’s not a place where serious adults can go about their business without being harassed and forced to submit to some government program or a frivolous lawsuit or some city council regulating what kind of sex lubricant San Franciscans can use, while the state crumbles around them. Californians pay a ridiculous gas tax, and yet it’s been literally decades since there was major road maintenance done…anywhere. The last time I can recall a major highway repair was after the Northridge quake…some 15 years ago. So sad to see such a great state in such a needless, self-inflicted decline.

    53. Kim du Toit Says:

      I had to laugh at one report coming out of Austin, TX — when asked about the recent influx of Californians (coming to work at Dell, Tex. Instruments etc), a poll showed that average Austinites considered the Californians TOO LIBERAL.

      Top-selling bumper sticker in Nevada: “We don’t CARE how you did things in California.”

      The best part about California sinking into the pit is that as their own property values drop like a stone, transplanted Californians cannot inflate property values in their adopted states as much as they used to.

    54. Cal State Worker Says:

      This is a lot of B.S. I work for the State of California, and I have not had a pay raise since July 2006. It’s unlikely I’ll get a pay raise anytime in the next several years. In fact, Arnold now wants to reduce my pay by 10%, and he’ll probably win.

      Quit blaming the State worker. Like everyone else, we’re getting screwed by the politicians and the special interests that run government.

      If I could make one change, it would be to tie every government worker’s salary to regional or national measures of personal income. If the people are not earning more, the government workers don’t earn more. Let’s align incentives. So much of what I see going on at my State Agency is harmful to the economy, and our goal is to do a lot more of the same. Even though the State is broke, we’re always looking for more and more regulations to implement and enforce.

    55. Mike Says:

      If California goes belly up, it might serve as the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the US – if Republicans were able to make the case to the voters. Unfortunately, I fear they might not be up to the job, just as they were incapable of pinning the blame for the credit crisis on Democrats. And the Democrats, with the help of the media, would probably claim that California’s problems were the result of not enough spending and regulation, rather than too much.

      In which case the Central States of America looks the best option. But you would need to build a big wall, and fast, to keep the leftist parasites out.

    56. inmypajamas Says:

      Please show me that Austin poll because I certainly want to believe that but I sure don’t see it. Austin is a haven for the left, with its very active environmentalist community and liberal city council. Travis County is the only county in the state that voted for gay marriage when it was on the ballot a few years ago (though there were a couple of people who tried to force things when Gavin Newsome was playing King of California and they were told that, in Texas, we follow the law). You can definitely see the influence of liberal out-of-staters who come to avoid higher taxes. My biggest fear is that they will turn the state blue enough to somehow convince voters that we need a state income tax (even though our state consitution requires a direct vote by the entire state to accomplish that, which has kept us safe so far).

    57. Shannon Love Says:

      Cal State Worker,

      Quit blaming the State worker. Like everyone else, we’re getting screwed by the politicians and the special interests that run government.

      The state workers are a special interest and one of the most powerful if not the most powerful. Unionized they have the same deleterious effect on productivity and cost containment that they do in private sector only amplified by total lack of economic competition.

    58. Austin Says:

      In reality, the taxpayers’ kids have been indentured to the buyers of the state debt.

    59. PD Quig Says:

      The economic bust will have at least one positive consequence: when Sacramento tries to tax their way out of their spending problem in a deep recession / depression, there will at last be a revolt. It will make Prop 13 look like a picnic. Call out the instigator…

    60. robotech master Says:

      “This is a lot of B.S. I work for the State of California, and I have not had a pay raise since July 2006. It’s unlikely I’ll get a pay raise anytime in the next several years. In fact, Arnold now wants to reduce my pay by 10%, and he’ll probably win.”

      I guess I’m confused… why are you entitled to a raise every year? Most ppl work jobs and only get raises every few years… and then rarely at or above inflation. Chances are that being state employed your getting massive benefits and are already overpaid. Unless you post your pay, job and benefits and then your civ counterpart your just another moron begging for his ENTITLED handout.

      Also for Nahanni and all the other ppl in that vain http://www.appleseedinfo.org/

    61. Mwalimu Daudi Says:

      Please show me that Austin poll because I certainly want to believe that but I sure don’t see it. Austin is a haven for the left, with its very active environmentalist community and liberal city council.

      I remember it well. Back in the late 1980s I was a prole in the Peoples Democratic Republic of Austin.

      At the time (and perhaps it is still true) there was a rampant xenophobia among the city’s politicians and self-anointed intelligentsia that only liberalism can produce. There was endless prattle about “protecting Austin’s unique way of life”, which was mindless jingoistic patriotism. The feel was that of a totalitarian state complete with contempt-producing propaganda and the occasional witch hunt of politicians deemed “reactionary”. Only the secret police were absent.

      An infamous bumper sticker of the time that said NO VACANCY summed up the attitude of the Austin political class towards others who came from “outside” and were therefore contaminated and unworthy. In fact – were it not for the fact that it would have been deemed environmentally destructive – I believe that Austinites would have built their own version of the Berlin Wall. Only this time it would be to keep people with their “reactionary homophobic Christian nuclear war-mongering tax-cutting” ideas out.

    62. James DeBenedetti Says:

      This will probably fall on deaf ears, but for people interested in actual facts rather than partisan polemics, here’s what those dastardly unionized state workers in California have accomplished with their domineering control of state government:

      From FY 90/91 to FY 07/08:

      Compounded salary increase for State employees (general): 45.6%
      US CPI increase: 60.4%
      California CPI Increase: 62.0%

      State employees received no salary increase in FY 08/09, and the governor wants a pay cut of 10% for FY 09/10.

      Sources:

      http://www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2008/general_govt/gen_anl08022.aspx

      http://www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2001/general_govt/gen_39_9800_Augment_Empl_Comp_anl01.htm

    63. Gabriel Sutherland Says:

      Want change?

      Move to Chicago. Embrace the challenge presented by the weather cycles that punish you. Once you can bear their burden that of the overturning the crypto-socialist regime here will look like a cake walk.

      A capitalist party can win in Chicago by adopting a similar strategy used in Holland by Pim Fortyun.

      1) Place private property at the apex of the party platform.
      2) Embrace civil rights for homosexuals or endorse the elimination of the tax, insurance, and retirement benefits presently enabled through government recognition and definition of marriage.
      3) Support school, housing, and insurance vouchers to dismantle the capital power base of public sector unions.
      4) Organize the party as a private enterprise that operates as an educational institution.

      You may see things differently, but the only method I see in dismantling the public sector employee dominance of the county, state, and national political scene is to shift control of the capital from the hands of government bureaucrats to the hands of the individual in the form of vouchers. You flip the capital pyramid on its tip. People at the top, with vouchers in hand, become consumers of the vital services that provide the greatest opportunity to achieve beyond present lack of capital handcuffs. They pick their schools. They pick their insurance. They pick their housing.

      The other approach that looks like a possibility is syndication of risk across many individuals. Something like what linux is to software could be created for many new sectors such as insurance, education, and banking. This is already happening right now across nation state borders, oceans, and any other geographic and political obstacles.

      The best part is the headquarters are already built; The University of Chicago. ;)

    64. flicka47 Says:

      Cal State Worker
      Shannon Love is correct.
      Calif. public employees have for years sacrificed their political voice for a paycheck. Allowing unions that don’t and never have represented their views to buy their votes,as well as support legislation that they do not want.
      You,along with an unknowing, uncaring public ahve allowed these unions to build a monster that will now eat the state. It has to stop somewhere.
      What do you suggest?

    65. larry Says:

      This post perfectly describes one of the most important political problems facing the United States. When 51% of the voters pay little or nothing (at least directly) for government programs, but receive benefits from some of those programs, their incentive is to constantly vote for more government money. They don’t pay it; someone else does.

      Many states have been spending more and more taxpayers’ money. Because states are required by their state constitutions to run balanced budgets, I have long thought that state and local taxes would rise tremendously in these big-spending states. But three months ago I discovered that these states might not have to rein in spending or raise taxes. They could be bailed out by the federal government, which would get the money either by borrowing it or printing it.

      In this way, the taxpayers of prudent states, that did not engage in out-of-control spending, would subsidize the governments of profligate states. With the Democrats controlling both Congress and the White House, this will happen. They will be aided in this effort by a compliant media and a public that is afraid of financial catastrophe.

      For those people who advocate seceding, this is a pipe dream. It was tried in 1861 and the federal government went to war to stop it. I know the liberals who run Washington these days are reluctant to use military force, but I assure you they will quickly shed this reluctance if part of their tax base tries to secede.

      In the unlikely event that any state tries to secede, the federal government would immediately move all necessary forces into the area to stop that. It’s possible that the attempt could be stopped with federal law enforcement (which has been increasingly militarized). If not, the government could order national guard troops in (probably from other states). If those forces weren’t enough to stop the secession, regular army troops would be sent in, even if they had to be pulled from Iraq or Afghanistan.

      The only realistic solution is to leave the country. The problem here is where to go. There are several countries that have more economic freedom than the US. Some even have very stable governments. But some of these countries have limited political freedom. Singapore, for example, lets you keep most of your money, but won’t let you have a firearm to defend yourself.

    66. flenser Says:

      “I know the liberals who run Washington these days are reluctant to use military force, but I assure you they will quickly shed this reluctance if part of their tax base tries to secede.”

      I suppose that all depends which side the military goes with.

    67. Seerak Says:

      (even though our state consitution requires a direct vote by the entire state to accomplish that, which has kept us safe so far).

      That seems like the best bet for neighboring states to protect themselves: enact laws specifically designed to forbid or restrict the further expansion of government. Do that before the state turns blue, and it buys you time.

    68. ThomasD Says:

      From FY 90/91 to FY 07/08:

      Compounded salary increase for State employees…

      Which says absolutely zero about the number of employees, the increase in the total number of employees, or the total amount spent paying those employees.

      Government has been the only consistent growth industry for decades.

    69. Kirk Parker Says:

      Mwalimu Daudi,

      Only the secret police were absent.

      How can you be sure?

      [html joking mode=”I surely hope anyway”]

      Flenser,

      I suppose that all depends which side the military goes with.

      I can’t imagine any realistic new-civil-war scenario that doesn’t have the military (including the NG and the various state guards) fracturing.

      [Comment edited by Jonathan to remove symbols incompatible with comment format.]

    70. Joe Says:

      Most Americans have been brainwashed into believing its popular democracy is utopian, and the only morally correct form of government. A big problem today is that too many voters do not have the wisdom nor integrity necessary for choosing capable politicians.

      There is much wisdom in limiting voting to property-owning males, as was previously done.

      The female mind is, generally, not equipped for leadership. Collectively, women run the country–there are more female voters than male. Women tend to think emotionally, be naive, easily deceived, and look too much to the government for security. American men have surrendered their patriarchy–they emasculated themselves.

      Property ownership is a good test of productivity and responsibility.

      Previously blacks were not allowed to vote. As a whole, they vote in a terribly irresponsible way today. If white America were to live like black America, the US would be a third world country. On all indicies of misbehavior, many blacks choose to live terribly, e.g., 70% of black kids are born out of wedlock, 50% of murders are committed by blacks, US ghettos appear to be at least 90% black, etc. These are facts–not hatred or prejudice.

      Things will get worse when the illegal Mexican immigrants get to vote. Their culture is what makes Mexico a third world country. They bring their corrupt and lawless culture with them, and now in large enough numbers to significantly degrade the country.

      The points made here are taboo in our culture–not even open for discussion. I’ll be very surprised if this post is not censored on this forum. I’d lose my job if my employer knew I publicly expressed these ideas.

      A solution is not possible if the problem cannot even be discussed.

    71. boqueronman Says:

      There has been much business internet chatter about the location of the next “bubble.” It seems that one can make a strong case that the public sector is the looming bubble. Many municipal and state governments – California, Michigan, New Jersey – are on the verge of bankruptcy. At the same time the Dem majority Congress appears to be ready to play Fannie Mae to them, along with the universities, big labor, trial lawyers, Big Business contributors, and special interests.

      Lately I’ve seen disconnected pieces of information concerning several troubling national public sector macro-trends: the number of public sector employees now exceeds the number of manufacturing and construction workers, the three counties with the highest median income are all in the D.C. metro area, and, apparently, Obama intends to increase the number of federal workers by 600,000. Oh, and no stimulus for skilled, white, male construction workers or small business entrepeneurs.

      Then comes the deluge: the end of the FICA surplus and the beginning of the payback for inflated SocSec and Medicare commitments. The wealth and power transfer contemplated over the next 4-10 years will take the U.S. past the tipping point, at least in terms of the observance of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution. Please someone explain how this perpetual motion machine keeps on working.

    72. Shannon Love Says:

      James DeBenedetti,

      (1) Private employees and especially the self-employed do not receive automatic pay increases, why showed public employees? (2) I note that in years in which pay was increased, public workers got raises well above the CPI. (3) The biggest damage these union’s do is through their blocking of program reforms that lead to fewer government workers. For example, the internet project blocked by the unions mentioned in the article.

      You still didn’t address the primary concept to the original post i.e. that public employees in California and similar states can vote their own paychecks. No one should have that power.

    73. LawhawkSF Says:

      California is hopeless. After living most of my life in this State (I’m from Chicago, boys), and with great reluctance, I have come to realize that California will finally become the perfect example of a third-world nation. Immense resources that will cease to be used, industries that will cease to produce, great potential wealth for everyone turned into near-poverty for everyone, huge portions of the population feeding at the public trough, taxes that drive businesses and individuals elsewhere, and the influx of mega-numbers of immigrants from another failed nation. California could only be saved by force, and that will not (and should not) happen. So it will die an unnecessary but inevitable death. Close your Golden Gate, California there we go.

    74. sestamibi Says:

      I am a state employee (not California), but I agree with you most vehemently. I long to see candidates for state and local office who will explicitly campaign against the Blob, but I’m not holding my breath.

      PS. You might be surprised at the number of my colleagues who might agree with you too!

    75. Jim C. Says:

      Hmm. In a recent video, Demi Moore pledges to be a “servant to our President”. Some people are doing it willingly with their eyes wide open.

    76. EM Says:

      This article is correct not just at the state level, but at the federal level as well. The taxpayer is an indentured servant to the tax consumer.

      But there is something that can be done about it and that is to leave the country, take your money with, get a new passport and never come back. That is, if you have the financial means to do so which is for a lot more Americans than many might think because many foreign countries are much cheaper.

      Forget about changing the “system” because regardless of how much people complain about it, the majority is in favor of it though they claim they are not.

      There are a few who actually believe in a free lunch at no one’s expense (hence all these absurd government guarantees in both the recent financial crisis and before it through agencies sich as the FDIC) and the majority are envy filled populist damagogues who believe in a free lunch at someone else’s expense. They claim not to be but when they are asked about government programs such as Social Security, government health care, education and everything else, most of them support more spending or at least the current level of spending by a lopsided margin. Those who claim to be against the “system” are either clueless or liars and hypocrites. They are mostly disappointed because those whom they favor- “the people” – always get the shaft by those who are wealthy an influential. The only thing that should be surprising in this outcome is that these idealistic incurable romantic fools are surprised. There is no other outcome possible.

      A prior post made a comment about the absurd US taxation laws. Yes, you may have to pay taxes legally for 10 years, but in many cases some would still be better off doing it anyway.

    77. gerry Says:

      You do not ‘way in’ on something.
      You weigh in.
      You bring your weight to bear in on something.

      From your friends for a literate internet.

    78. James DeBenedetti Says:

      Which says absolutely zero about the number of employees, the increase in the total number of employees, or the total amount spent paying those employees.

      While the number of state employees per capita in California increased by 4.6% between FY 90/91 and 07/08 (source), it doesn’t mitigate the fact that salary increases for state employees trailed CPI by 15%+ during that period; a period in which private sector hourly wages outpaced CPI by roughly 15% (source).

      Compared to other states, California has the 3rd lowest number of state employees per capita. Total state and local government employees per capita is nearly 10% below the national average (source).

      While I’m no fan of government employee unions, blaming them for California’s current problems has more to do with feel-good political fantasies than empirical evidence.

    79. Roger Godby Says:

      I’ve been in Japan since Clinton. Nice place: low crime, civil society (homogeneity probably helps), modern, tolerant, personal taxes not bad. However, the national consumption tax is going from 5% to 9% (it was 3% when I got here), the demographics are horrifying, corporate taxes are the highest in the OECD (I expect that will change), and national debt is massive with a stagnant or dwindling pay base. A few years ago, the law changed to allow Japanese to take their national pensions at overseas addresses, so some are opting for Thailand, Malaysia, and the Phillipines–too expensive to retire here, unless a remote fishing village in Kyushu with no regular doctor or dentist is your ideal.

    80. Shannon Love Says:

      James DeBenedetti,

      The primary problem with state employees is not their salaries but rather the expensive programs that employe them. The union creates spending to create jobs. The state might spend $500,000 on a program but pay someone $50,000 to administer it. So, you can say that the workers are not paid unreasonably but that doesn’t mean that the union isn’t seriously distorting state spending.

      There are other tax consumers, companies that depend on government contracts, people dependent on government aid, businesses that rely on government suppression of competition but the public employee unions are easily the largest organized group. Their impact on the states politics has been significant and growing.

    81. Ed Ring Says:

      To DeBenedetti’s comment: There are some agencies in California where the workers may actually be able to claim they are underpaid using objective comparables. But in most cases they are overpaid relative to the private sector, and in California’s cities and counties the problem of overpayed public employees is even worse – and in ALL cases the fault is the public sector unions, who has no checks on its power.

      But even in your case, if you are indeed underpaid in your salary, you must add the value of your overtime, your comp. time, the “9/80″ program (I wouldn’t mind 26 extra paid holidays a year, which is what this travesty amounts to), the 10+ additional paid holidays, the extremely generous vacation and sick time granted, the better than average health care benefits, the free vehicles and car allowances and low interest home loans, and, of course, the totally unsustainable early retirement and pension. When you normalize for all of that, what you are really making is far, far more on average than what the rest of us taxpayers get in the private sector.

      Then of course you have to add the pernicious conflict of interests where unions, just like governments, have a quite natural urge to increase the number of jobs they control. For this reason, social problems caused by, for example, an immigration policy that prefers uneducated and unskilled workers, mean more taxes and problems for ordinary citizens, but they are a meal ticket for the government and the unions who control the government. Unions not only have caused salary and benefit packages to get way out of line for government workers, they naturally support policies that multiply social problems and create more need for more government.

      Thank you Shannon for an excellent commentary. You are absolutely right. Hopefully if the state and local governments can go totally broke, unions in the public sector will finally be subject to reasonable regulations and checks on their power.

    82. ThomasD Says:

      While the number of state employees per capita in California increased by 4.6% between FY 90/91 and 07/08

      Notice that your source does not include the total outlays, nor total increas in outlays for State employees during those periods.

      Notice that your data also seeks to obsfucate the massive expansion in government by couching it as a per capita increase. Had government hires remained proportional to population growth then there would be no per capita increase.

      Not feel good fantasies, just the truth. California government is an ever growing leviathan.

    83. David Weisman Says:

      As you say, the primary point of the original post is that government employees in California can and will all vote together to avoid having their paychecks reduced or lost.

      http://theartofpeace.blogspot.com/2009/01/if-statistic-sounds-like-it-cant-be.html

    84. Anonymous Says:

      As an engineer to me the problem is that if draw a boundary around our country it looks a lot like lots of ‘stuff’, cars, tv’s, tee shirts and other items that constitute value go into our borders and what came out is what?

      devaluating stocks like in 2001 and plumeting financial instruments in the current day? us dollars?

    85. Anonymous Says:

      I apologize I left out my central – whine. I worked in Silicon valley when we actually made chips and capital equipment and I worked there during a period of divesting a lot of work overseas. I wont say where I am sure other readers have gone thru the experience and know there is more than one reason for the change.

      And lo and behold at the same time it seems the services we used to be able to afford we no longer can.

    86. Web Smith Says:

      Bureaucrats at any level are always testing to see what the market will bear. State legislators don’t make that much money, relatively, but they are forced to pay the people who work for them more than they make in order to attract talent. This got more than a little lopsided during the .com bubble when there was a labor shortage. My personal thought is that we should pay legislators at both the federal and state level more in order to attract some talent.

      California’s main problem, like many states, is that it’s Constitutional right to determine its own future has been trampled by the federal government. The feds’ refusal to protect the nation’s borders has created a huge poor class that the state cannot afford to take care of, changing the state’s demographics and political capital along with it. The constant manipulation of the money supply and illegal federal legislation has created one devastating bubble after another. The Telecom Deregulation Act of 1996 created the .com bubble and the Fed’s lowering of the interest rate as the bubble popped, along with other federal housing legislation, created the phony housing bubble. Unlike the feds, California doesn’t have a printing press to generate the money to try to recover from the disasters imposed on it.

      It is at the point now, that the state has no choice but to petition for href=”http://ewebsmith.com/gov/redress.html”>redress on behalf of its people.

    87. Shannon Love Says:

      Web Smith,

      The feds’ refusal to protect the nation’s borders has created a huge poor class that the state cannot afford to take care of, changing the state’s demographics and political capital along with it.

      This effect along with the others you list effects other states because they are actions of the Federal government. Federal stupidity is a rain that falls on all states alike. In regard to illegal immigration Texas is California’s twin. Clearly, California’s made different decisions from other states that landed it in its current predicament.

    88. Anonymous Says:

      I will just say as a CA employee that 90% of the employees hate the Union. We get what the legislature says we get in raises, etc., which is fine. The sole reason for the existence of the union is to funnel our “fair share dues” ($1 less than the union dues) to the Democratic Party, a bill signed by Jerry Brown on his last night in office. I sued the union years ago for forcing me to pay for their political activities and was relieved of the burden, but who has the time, energy and backing of pro bono conservative lawyers to do this?

      During discovery we discovered BTW that millions of dollars were sent to the AFL CIO, among others, the first year of the fair share law. It’s laundered and laundered and eventually helps elect Dems. That’s why CA pols support the unions; they would be voted out if employees had a say.

    89. James DeBenedetti Says:

      But even in your case, if you are indeed underpaid in your salary, you must add the value of your overtime, your comp. time, the “9/80″ program (I wouldn’t mind 26 extra paid holidays a year, which is what this travesty amounts to), the 10+ additional paid holidays, the extremely generous vacation and sick time granted, the better than average health care benefits, the free vehicles and car allowances and low interest home loans, and, of course, the totally unsustainable early retirement and pension. When you normalize for all of that, what you are really making is far, far more on average than what the rest of us taxpayers get in the private sector.

      The typical state worker is not allowed to work overtime, and managers who do so are not compensated for it. The 9/8/80 schedule is a flex-schedule that involves 80 hours of work over the course of two weeks (8x nine-hour and 1x eight-hour days over the course of two weeks). It requires management approval and is nothing like the highly flexible telework schedules that are common with private sector firms in the high-tech and consulting fields.

      While the State’s vacation schedule and health benefits are currently better than most private sector firms, they don’t compensate for the fact that private sector hourly earnings have outpaced state salaries by 25% over the past two decades. State employees also don’t receive the year end bonuses, profit sharing, stock options, 401k matching funds, etc. that many private sector employees do.

      I’m not sure what you mean about free vehicles and car allowances (unless you’re talking about CHP patrol vehicles?), but very few state employees receive such things, and they’re nothing like the car allowances ($500/month+) that many sales, insurance, and other private sector employees have.

      Notice that your data also seeks to obsfucate the massive expansion in government by couching it as a per capita increase. Had government hires remained proportional to population growth then there would be no per capita increase.

      I’m not trying to obfuscate anything by using per capita figures to account for the fact that California’s population increased by roughly 9 million people over the time period in question. -Not- using per capita figures when examining the growth of state employees would be an example of obfuscation.

      Anyway, I keep seeing these anecdotal complaints about evil public sector unions, but have yet to see actual numbers back up the theorizing and sloganeering.

    90. None Says:

      “If you can destroy a thing, you can control a thing” -Paul Atreides

      Starvation is the proper course of action.

      I suggest systematic steps to eliminate the revenue from the government by avoiding taxable actions. I’d love to get feedback and suggestions.

      1. Purchase only tax-free investments, and defer any long terms gains into the distant future. (this avoids the tax on capital)

      2. Purchase only used goods, directly from individuals. (this avoids the corporate tax)

      3. Purchase land for agricultural use. (farming is sacrosanct and tax pften advantaged).

      4. Barter wherever possible. It’s not crazy, there are web sites which make it easier to find people willing to trade goods/services.

      Does anyone have other suggestions?

    91. Shannon Love Says:

      James DeBenedetti,

      Anyway, I keep seeing these anecdotal complaints about evil public sector unions, but have yet to see actual numbers back up the theorizing and sloganeering

      Perhaps that is because you don’t know how to use google. I did a search on “public sector versus private sector compensation” and found the following:

      State and local government workers now earn an average of $39.50 per hour in total compensation, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Private workers earn an average of $26.09 an hour. Benefits are a big reason for the gap.

      There are dozens of similar articles that pop up. People who defend public unions like to focus on the wages paid to their workers but the wages are just the cash that worker themselves takes home. From the perspective of the tax payers on the hook for public employees, however, it is compensation i.e. the total cost of a worker that counts. In terms of compensation, not salary, public workers are disproportionately expense. The impose a premium.

      State workers have better compensation in states with public workers unions because the unions can extort high compensation from people by strikes and by using compulsory dues to help out friendly politicians.

    92. David Weisman Says:

      “State and local government workers now earn an average of $39.50 per hour in total compensation, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Private workers earn an average of $26.09 an hour. Benefits are a big reason for the gap.”

      Hmmm, that is interesting. Firefighters, policemen, and teachers are government workers in a sense, though some people think of paper pushers when they hear about government workers. Some would say the high pay is due to the danger in the first two jobs, and the fact that a Masters is required for the second.

      I wonder if someone could compare jobs of equal danger and complexity category by category.

      I suspect you don’t have volunteer firefighters bringing down the average either.

    93. David Weisman Says:

      ‘None’, I take it you’re not John Galt. He helped start his own community so he didn’t get any benefits from the government either, though maybe he benefited indirectly from those who had a public education.

      I wonder what he would have called someone who managed to avoid taxes but still benefited from the police and roads. A looter maybe?