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ONE MOTHER'S PERSPECTIVE

  • WHO WE ARE-Women did it again. The annual Memorial Day tradition of placing flowers on graves of fallen soldiers was begun by women in the South after the Civil War. Who knew? Who now remembers that it was originally Decoration Day? Or that it is a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who fought for a better future. Memorial Day is a great deal…
  • 453 Days Later...

    Tom Rubin
    OFFENSIVE BUT PROTECTED SPEECH-Welcome news this week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. By a vote of 11 to 1, the court overturned its injunction against the controversial video called "Innocence of Muslims" that it had ordered off YouTube back in February 2014. Here's the background. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia (photo below) was…
  • What LA Educators Should Learn From Bell Gardens High School’s Shocking Turnaround

    Jay Mathews
    VOICES FROM THE SQUARE-Bell Gardens High School in east Los Angeles County was a sorry mess when science teacher Liz Lowe arrived in 1989. It was overflowing with trailer classrooms and graffiti. More than 3,000 students crowded into school buildings surrounding a concrete quadrangle with patches of grass and some trees. Expectations were low. Not…
  • The Clean Sweep Election Finally Happened

    Bob Gelfand
    GELFAND’S WORLD- A few years ago, a group calling itself Clean Sweep argued that the voters of Los Angeles should defeat all the incumbents and replace them with fresh blood. On Tuesday, the results came close. There are two distinct lessons, one of which is quite ominous for elected officials. This election demonstrated the end of voter patience…
  • What Did Tuesday’s LAUSD Election Results Prove?

    Paul Hatfield
    PERSPECTIVE-Did the LAUSD election results signal a change for charter schools? Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe. You can make a decent case that Ref Rodriguez’s victory in District 5 points to strong support for charters. It was a battle between two well-funded candidates with diametrically opposed views on the issue. The effectiveness and fairness of…
  • (Train)ing Ourselves to Confront Modern Mass Transit

    Ken Alpern
    GETTING THERE FROM HERE-It's great to learn that Metro has an excellent new CEO with the hiring of Phillip A. Washington who comes to us from Denver. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Roger Snoble and Art Leahy, Mr. Washington has a first-rate reputation to maintain--but his first job will be to pass Measure R-2. Measure R-2 (perhaps…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Memorial Day 2015- Freedom Isn’t Free

J. Cole raps on the Letterman show: “Be Free’

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Washington Misreads California … Again

CALWATCHDOG - If you’ve ever lived in Washington, DC, as I did in 1977 and from 1982 to 1987, you know the place lives under a bubble. They have no idea what’s going on in the rest of the country. But they tell us what to do. That’s sure the case with EJ Dionne, the Washington Post’s top political writer. From a San Francisco dateline,  he asks:

“If the United States were still governed under the Articles of Confederation, might California be in the position of Greece, Spain or Italy?

“After all, California has a major budget crisis and all sorts of difficulties governing itself. Its initiative system allows voters to mandate specific forms of spending and to limit tax increases and also make them harder to enact. Absent a strong federal government with the power to offset the impact of the recession and the banking crisis, how would California fare in a global financial system?”

He doesn’t seem to know that, unlike in those countries, California law mandates that bond payments are the first priority of payment in any budget. So the state’s current $73 billion in general obligation bonds (meaning they must be paid for from the general fund) are quite secure.

It’s true that California vies with Illinois for the state with the worst credit rating. But that’s because, should the national economy begin to implode, it is these state economies that would be hit the hardest, demolishing their state budgets. But so long as the national economy doesn’t implode, that won’t happen.

Bond rating

So the real problem then shifts to Dionne’s beloved federal government, which has taken out $16 trillion in debt in the name of all Americans. If the Articles of Confederation still were in effect, the federal government never could have run up that debt.

Under the Articles, Congress had no power of taxation. The federal government ran only on money given it by the several states. So the federal government never could have grown into the monstrosity it has become, wasting $3.8 trillion a year while running up trillion-dollar annual deficits.

On its own, California’s far-left politics would not be tempered by the more moderate politics of the rest of the United States. So it might resemble Cuba.

Then again, Canada is run by left-wingers — but lefties who figured out about 15 years ago that they could only manipulate society if reasonable tax and regulatory policies keep the economy growing.

Same thing for Australia.


California’s large Latino population also pushes its politics to the left. But as an independent country, California might resemble Mexico; which, as I noted in an earlier article, has less than half America’s national debt (as a percentage of its economy) and has pursued progressively more free-market policies since 1995.

So, by itself, California might develop a hybrid Canadian-Mexican system with lower taxes and less regulation, but maybe a government-run medical system that’s inefficient (as in Canada, where there are long lines and people go to the United States for many operations), but costs half as much.

Dionne’s ‘solution’


Dionne’s “solution” the ongoing economic problems of California and the United States is … the suspense is unbearable … massive new federal government spending! So the deficits and debt now weighing us down would be increased. Dionne:

“First, we are lucky to have a robust federal government, which the European Union lacks. Early in the recession, the feds were able to offset problems in the country’s most troubled regions with a stimulus program (and also with that auto bailout that so many, including Mitt Romney, opposed). The stimulus should have been bigger, and it should have extended over a longer period. But it helped.”

First, the opposite is true. There never was any recovery. Certainly not in California, where unemployment  remains at 10.8 percent.

The bailouts didn’t work. GM would have been better off if its assets had been auctioned off. By now it would be a strong, independent company. Instead, taxpayers lost about $14 billion in the bailouts of GM and Chrysler.

Worse, the GM bondholders were ripped off so that the UAW could get a piece of the action. This set a dangerous precedent and undermined every business bond in the country, disrupting capital formation — and so business and jobs formation. Now, no one’s bonds are secure.

How D.C. looks at California

On California, Dionne naturally likes Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $8.5 billion tax hike:

“Moreover, Gov. Jerry Brown deserves credit for trying to get a handle on the California budget crisis. He’s going to the voters this fall with a referendum to raise about $8 billion in taxes to stave off further cuts. Without the money, Brown says, education spending would have to be slashed beyond the cutbacks that have already taken effect.”

Actually, Brown deserves no credit. The tax increase would chase even more businesses and jobs from the state. He also offered only a paltry reform of the state’s underfunded pension systems. And the problem with California’s education system is not a lack of spending, which is generous, but severe structural and pedagogical defects, with the powerful California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers impeding reforms.

Dionne’s view is important because it gives us Californians a glimpse into what our masters in D.C. are thinking about us — and are preparing to do to us.

Maybe the good old Articles of Confederation weren’t such a bad idea after all.

(John Seiler, an editorial writer with The Orange County Register for 19 years, is the managing editor for CalWatchDog.com where this column was first posted.)

-cw

Tags: California, Washington DC, economy, budget crisis, credit rating, EJ Dionne






CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 51
Pub: June 26, 2012

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