Posts tagged ‘California’

June 12, 2012

TEXAS, TAXES & BRASS TACKS

RUSH LIMBAUGH ONCE DESCRIBED politics as show business for ugly people. If he weren’t such a nice guy, he might have added that it also provides careers for really dumb ones.

Burt Prelutsky
humor columnist

For instance, while chatting with Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning,” Governor Jerry Brown went into a lengthy pitch for California business, pointing out that it is the state that’s always been known for innovation. To prove his case that it is as true now as it ever was, Brown announced that no less an enterprise than Facebook got its start here on the edge of the Pacific. Not wishing to embarrass a fellow liberal, Mr. Rose didn’t start cackling like a loon, as I might have done. Instead, he politely informed Governor Moonbeam that Mark Zuckerberg and a few college pals launched the billion dollar brainstorm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while they were attending Harvard.

Because Brown has spent his entire life in politics, he didn’t say, “Whoops!” the way a normal human being would. Instead, without missing a beat, he pointed out that Zuckerberg and his company had settled in California. In other words, we’re not really the home of innovation and entrepreneurship, but we have a terrific climate, and we’re the go-to place for guys who have piled up a lot of dough and want to get away from New England winters.

The sad truth of the matter is that, when compared to other liberal politicians, Jerry Brown is probably one of the brighter ones. For instance, have you ever heard Sen. Barbara Boxer give a speech or try to answer a simple question? I’ve never even voted for the woman, but it’s downright embarrassing just living in the state that has elected her on four separate occasions.

The fact that it is the same state that keeps electing Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman and Barbara Lee, to the House might help explain why some people, including friends, call me “Grumpy.”

On the other hand, California is a huge state. We have well over 40 million people jammed in here. It figures we’re going to have more louts than other places. But when you non-Californians keep on voting for the likes of Charles Schumer, Frederica Wilson, Al Franken, James Clyburn, Harry Reid, Bev Perdue, Sheila Jackson Lee, John Kerry and Patty Murray, you’re not exactly in a position to throw stones.

Even Texas, the state that calls to me in my dreams, keeps electing people who wind up proud members of the Congressional Black or Hispanic Caucus, dunderheads who apparently feel a greater allegiance to those who share their skin color than they do to America and the Constitution. The very idea that members of Congress would separate themselves on the basis of their pigmentation makes a mockery of their oath of office. It would seem that for people such as Al Green, Charles Gonzalez, Henry Cuellar. Ruben Hinojosa, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Silvestre Reyes and Sheila Jackson Lee, the notion that ours is supposed to be a colorblind society is their idea of a bad joke.

I have heard, though, that even Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting upset because they aren’t hearing from Obama. Apparently the poor saps expect him to display some leadership. Well, I, for one, don’t blame him for snubbing them. For one thing, he has a campaign to run and a whole lot of money to raise. Besides, how would you prefer spending your time? Meeting with a sourpuss like Harry Reid or hanging out with George Clooney, Selma Hayek and the other cool kids?

Furthermore, when Obama finally put together a budget, it didn’t get a single vote in the House or the Senate. Do those people have any idea how it feels to be dissed that way? You’d have thought that Obama could at least have counted on those knuckleheads in the Black Caucus to give the brother a little love. But even Charley Rangel said, “Ooh, that is one butt ugly budget” or words to that effect.

And while I don’t like to question anyone’s sanity, just how nuts do you have to be to want to raise taxes in the midst of an economy that is already on life support? I suppose when you owe your academic career and just about everything else to affirmative action, it’s not too surprising that Obama seems blissfully unaware of the fact that his idol, FDR, prolonged the Great Depression by twice raising taxes in the 1930s. Getting the country back to work wasn’t nearly as important to Roosevelt as punishing Republican capitalists. Sound familiar?

By this time, you’ve all probably seen the map that shows Obama on the verge of winning the election even before either party has held its convention. Judging by some of the liberal pundits, the actual election is merely a formality. Oh, really? I’m actually supposed to believe that North Carolina and Texas are in play? In spite of electing all those Republicans in Virginia and Florida, in 2010, Democrats are referring to those states as toss-ups? Some folks would call that wishful thinking. I call it whistling past the graveyard.

Speaking of graveyards, Iran’s military chief of staff, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi recently announced, “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause, and that is the full annihilation of Israel.” So much for those who insist on finding a moral equivalence between Israel and its Islamic neighbors or who couch their anti-Semitism behind the canard that it’s not really Jews they hate, it’s Israeli policies they find objectionable. How odd that these same creeps never see a need to explain that it’s not Muslims they hate, but only the policies of Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

With the election looming up, roughly 150 days off, I don’t want to hear people urging other people to do their civic duty. Those who have to be prodded and poked to get out and vote are nearly always liberals. And, believe me, no good can possibly come of it. For example, in 2008, when 63.6% of registered voters went to the polls, we wound up with Barack Obama and Joe Biden. In 2010, when only 29% of us voted, we got rid of six left-wing senators and 60 liberal members of the House.

The obvious conclusion is that the fewer voters, the better.

Finally, a friend sent me a line I wish I had come up with: Re-electing Obama would be like the Titanic backing up and hitting the iceberg again.

via BurtPrelutsky.com.

May 7, 2012

Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus – How the progressive apparatchiks are declaring war on the middle class.

‘California is God’s best moment,” says Joel Kotkin. “It’s the best place in the world to live.” Or at least it used to be.

A summary by Jeffers M. Dodge

The following is a summary of Mr. Klokins discussion with Allysia Finley of the Wall Street Journal.

1. Golden State’s fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest product is red tape.

2. Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states.

3. local government restrictions on development have artificially limited housing supply and put a premium on real estate in coastal regions.

4. Moving inland from the coast has the same allure as moving to Nevada or Texas, where housing and everything else is cheaper and there’s no income tax.

5. The people pushing high-density housing themselves live in single-family homes and often drive very fancy cars, but want everyone else to live like sardines.

6. California’s cap-and-trade law AB32, will raise the cost of energy 50% higher than the national average and drive out manufacturing jobs without making even a dent in global carbon emissions.

7. Gov. Brown feels spending $100 Billion on high-speed rail is going to solve the issues of our crumbling schools, roads, bridges, the economic free fall we are in.

8. All of the subsidies the state lavishes on renewables, green jobs only make up about 2% of California’s private-sector work force—no more than they do in Texas.

9. An estimated 25 billion barrels of oil are sitting untapped in the vast Monterey and Bakersfield shale deposits.

10. “We have the richest farm land in the world and are endangering Central Valley farmers with water restrictions aimed at protecting the delta smelt fish.

11. California has the 48th-worst business tax climate where millionaires pay a top rate of 10.3%, the third-highest in the country but the middle-class workers—those who earn more than $48,000—pay a top rate of 9.3%, which is higher than what millionaires pay in 47 states.

12. A November ballot initiative would primarily hit people who make more than $250,000 a year and cause them to march out of the state while preserving the very high end of the food chain, who can afford to live in Napa, Silicon Valley, and in West L.A.

13. Welfare recipients aren’t leaving. Why would they? They get much better benefits in California or New York than if they go to Texas. In Texas the expectation is that people work.

14. Californians are now voting more based on social issues and less on fiscal ones than they did when Ronald Reagan was governor 40 years ago.

15. Gov. Brown facilitated the public-union takeover of the statehouse by allowing state workers to collectively bargain during his first stint as governor in 1977.

16. California’s politics have become left-wing with progressive policies driving out moderate and conservative members of the middle class, “the state is run for the very rich, the very poor, and the public employees.”

Please read the full article here: The Weekend Interview with Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus – WSJ.com.

April 4, 2012

Texas vs. California – Chuck DeVore

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Chuck DeVore

Chuck DeVore Senior Visiting Scholar for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

One in five Americans calls California or Texas home. The two most populous states have a lot in common: a long coast, a sunny climate, a diverse population, plenty of oil in the ground, and Mexico to the south. Where they diverge is in their governance.

For six years ending in 2010, I represented almost 500,000 people in California’s legislature. I was vice chairman of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation and served on the Budget Committee. I was even a lieutenant colonel in the state’s National Guard. Before serving in Sacramento, I worked as an executive in California’s aerospace industry.

I moved to Texas late last year, joining the 2 million Californians who have packed up for greener pastures in the past ten years, with Texas the most common destination.

In his State-of-the-State address this January, California governor Jerry Brown said, “Contrary to those declinists who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams. . . . It’s the place where Apple . . . and countless other creative companies all began.”

Fast forward to March: Apple announced it was building a $304 million campus in Austin with plans to hire 3,600 people to staff it, more than doubling its Texas workforce.

California may be dreaming, but Texas is working.

California’s elected officials are particularly adept at dreaming up ways to spend other people’s money. While the state struggles with interminable deficits caused by years of reckless spending, the argument in Sacramento isn’t over how to reduce government; rather, it’s over how much to raise taxes and on whom. Governor Brown is pushing for a tax increase of $6.9 billion per year, to appear on this November’s ballot. California’s powerful government-employee unions and Molly Munger, a wealthy civil-rights attorney (wealthy by dint of being the daughter of Warren Buffett’s business partner) are offering two competing tax-hike plans. The silver lining may be that having three tax hikes on the ballot will turn voters off all of them.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Texas are grappling with a fiscal question of an entirely different sort: whether or not to spend some of the $6 billion set aside in the state’s rainy-day fund.

California’s government-employee unions routinely spend tens of millions of dollars at election time to maintain their hold on power. In Texas, the government unions are weak and don’t have collective bargaining, leaving trial attorneys as the main source of funding for Lone Star Democrats.

California’s habit of raising taxes to fund a burgeoning regulatory state isn’t without impact on its economy. Californians fork over about 10.6 percent of their income to state and local governments, above the U.S. average of 9.8 percent. Texans pay 7.9 percent. This affects the bottom line of both consumers and businesses.

With that money, Californians pay for more government. The number of non-education bureaucrats in California is close to the national average, at 252 per 10,000 people. Texas gets by with a bureaucracy 22 percent smaller: 196 per 10,000.

Of course, having more government employees means making more government rules. According to a 2009 study commissioned by the California legislature, state regulations cost almost $500 billion per year, or five times the state’s general-fund budget. These regulations ding the average small business for some $134,122 a year in compliance and opportunity costs.

While California has more bureaucrats, Texas has 17 percent more teachers, with 295 education employees per 10,000 people, compared to California’s 252.

The two states’ educational outcomes reflect this disparity. If we compare national test scores in math, science, and reading for the fourth and eighth grades among four basic ethnic and racial categories — all students, whites, Hispanics, and African-Americans — Texas beats California in every category, and by a substantial margin. In fact, Texas schools perform consistently above the national average across categories of age, race, and subject matter, while California schools perform well below the national average.

Apologists for the Golden State frequently point to Texas’s flourishing oil and gas industry as the reason for its success. Texas does lead the nation in proven oil reserves, but California ranks third. The real difference isn’t in geology but in public policy: Californians have decided to make it difficult to extract the oil under their feet.

Further, contrary to popular opinion, California’s refineries routinely produce a greater value of product than do refineries in Texas, mainly because the special gasoline blends that California requires are more costly.

Another advantage that Texas enjoys over California is in its civil-justice system. In 2002, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Texas’s legal system 46th in the nation, just behind California’s, which was 45th. Texas went to work improving its lawsuit environment, enacting major medical-malpractice reforms in 2003. Texas’s ranking consequently jumped ten places in eight years, while California’s dropped to 46th. In the last legislative session, Texas lawmakers passed a landmark loser-pays provision, which promises to further curtail frivolous lawsuits.

While California seeks more ways to tax success, it excels at subsidizing poverty. The percentage of households receiving public assistance in California was 3.7 percent in 2009, double Texas’s rate of 1.8 percent. Almost one-third of all Americans on welfare reside in California.

With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that only 18 percent of the Democrats who control both houses of California’s full-time legislature worked in business or medicine before being elected. The remainder drew paychecks from government, worked as community organizers, or were attorneys.

In Texas, with its part-time legislature, 75 percent of the Republicans who control both houses earn a living in business, farming, or medicine, with 19 percent being attorneys in private practice. Texas Democrats are more than twice as likely as their California counterparts to claim private-sector experience outside the field of law.

That Texas’s legislature is run by makers and California’s by takers is glaringly obvious from the two states’ respective balance sheets.

— Chuck DeVore served in the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2010 and was a Republican candidate for the United States Senate in 2010. He is currently a visiting senior fellow in fiscal policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

via Texas vs. California – Chuck DeVore – National Review Online.

December 26, 2011

A Message from the California Republican Party Chairman: Redistricing Bombshell & 3 Things You Can Do Before New Years

Total vindication.

That’s the only reasonable response to the bombshell report released today by ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism website, titled “How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission.” The report systematically lays out the corrupt manipulation of what should have been an open and transparent process.

Once you’ve read through the report, I want you to do three things:

  1. Pat yourself on the back for knowing you helped do the right thing by supporting the CRP’s referendum efforts.
  2. Call your local talk radio station and/or write your local newspaper and demand an immediate investigation.
  3. Forward this report to your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter ASAP.

Here’s what the San Jose Mercury News reported about the redistricting scandal today:

“California’s congressional Democrats ran a secret effort earlier this year to manipulate the work of the independent citizen’s panel that drew the state’s new political districts, foiling the intent of reformers who sought to remove the redistricting process from the control of party bosses.

“Democrats met behind closed doors at the party’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, hired consultants, drew their ideal districts and presented maps to the panel through proxies who never disclosed their party ties or “public interest” groups created specifically for the purpose. In many cases, the panel responded by doing just what the Democrats wanted.”

You can read the entire article HERE. Here’s my official response:

“The ProPublica report vindicates my repeated contention that the redistricting process was hijacked. That report, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. The corruption of the process went far beyond what was disclosed in that report. No fair minded person can now say the process or the result was fair.  I am calling for an immediate and thorough investigation, by Congressional and State authorities, to get to the bottom of this obviously corrupted process.  Beyond that, the Congressional and Senate lines as drawn by the Commission should not be used in any way for the upcoming elections.”

Once again. “That report…is just the tip of the iceberg.”

You know that I’ve been petitioning the Redistricting Commission, from the very beginning, to conduct itself with openness and fairness, just like California voters asked when they voted in favor of Prop 11 and 20. In March, I recommended that the commission hire bi-partisan line drawing experts and Voting Rights Act counsel to assist them with re-drawing legislative lines to avoid the commission being cast as a partisan one. Instead, they chose to ignore my advice and hired Q2 Data and Research, a firm widely known for its ties to Democrats. Please read the letter I sent to the commissioners regarding this decision.

I also chronicled the Commission proceedings with pieces on Flash Report and Fox and Hounds Daily, which points out the high level of partisanship involved with the selection of Q2 Data and Research.

Shortly thereafter, it was revealed by Cal Watch Dog that one of the commissioners, Dr. Gabianno T. Aguirre, had made multiple political campaign contributions to Democratic candidates and has a special “web of connections” with a special interest group that submitted its own redistricting proposals to the commission. Again, a clear violation of the Redistricting Commission’s rules.

I called for him to step down as his involvement compromised the commission’s integrity. Those calls fell on deaf ears, and Dr. Aguirre was allowed to maintain his position on the Commission.

In the Sacramento Bee, I stated that the Citizens Redistricting Commission ‘failed to consistently apply the criteria mandated by law when drawing the Assembly, Senate, congressional, and Board of Equalization maps.

Now it’s time for you to step up and let your voice be heard. Once again, we need to work together to demand accountability in all phases of government, even from non-partisan commissions who got fooled by the Democrats. Make calls, write letters, let your network know about this bombshell report.  Thanks again for all your hard work and service!

Tom Del Beccaro

CRP Chairman

via Redistricing Bombshell & 3 Things You Can Do Before New Years.

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