Entries by Ed Ring

Unionize the Personal Assistants to the One-tenth-of-one-percenters

It came as a shock to learn that some of those who were around when unions first started infiltrating local and state governments actually welcomed the process. These were the days when unions were driving jobs overseas because of their unwillingness to negotiate new contracts in the face of foreign competition. “Let them come,” some […]

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The Bell Syndrome Afflicts More Cities Than Just Bell

Remember Bell, California? Back in 2010 the Los Angeles Times reported that Bell city officials were receiving unusually large salaries, perhaps the highest in the United States. For example, Robert Rizzo, the City manager, had received $787,637. By September of that year, as reported on CNN, the California Attorney General filed charges against eight former and current city […] […]

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Average Orange County Firefighter Made $236,155 in 2014

The City of Stanton contracts with Orange County for public safety services. Like many cities in Orange County, and in an arrangement that is typical of many small cities in California, it makes financial sense for the city to pay the county in exchange for an allocation of police and firefighters who protect the citizens […]

Sacramento’s “Secure Choice” Pooled 401K – Too Frugal for Public Workers

In a move of breathtaking hypocrisy, California’s legislators have unveiled a financially sustainable retirement security program for private workers, while keeping financially unsustainable pensions for public workers. What private sector employers and private sector workers need to ask, more than anything, is if this new retirement security scheme is so great, why aren’t public employees going […]

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The Challenges Facing Conservatives Who Support Public Safety

Everyone supports public safety, but conservatives are a special case. In modern times, it was conservatives, reacting against the rebellious sixties and the lawless seventies, who supported law enforcement when it was fashionable for liberals to see them as pawns of a discredited establishment. It was also during the 1960’s and ’70’s that we saw public […]

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Investing in Infrastructure to Lower the Cost of Living

California’s civil infrastructure was once the envy of the nation. During the 1950’s and 1960’s the state wisely invested in transportation, water and power infrastructure, delivering capacity well in excess of the needs of the state’s population at the time. Even today, the scale of California’s network of aqueducts and pumping stations to transfer water […]

The Unsustainability Lobby

“The creation of the mortgage bond market, a decade earlier, had extended Wall Street into a place it had never before been: the debts of ordinary Americans.” –  Jared Vennett (played by Ryan Gosling), The Big Short (2015) Along with another superbly authentic movie Margin Call (2011), The Big Short provides a vivid look into the […] Continue reading […]

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Public Unions ARE the Political “Establishment”

The successes of anti-establishment presidential candidates are a powerful reminder that mainstream politicians are not managing America’s political economy or cultural evolution in a way that satisfies most of the electorate. That’s no surprise – it’s a tough job these days, with few historical precedents to offer guidance. Earlier this week an essay published in the […]

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California Initiative Would Require Legislators to Wear Logos of Donors

If you are bemused by the success of populist candidates for President, if you think national politics in America is at risk of becoming a circus spectacle, get ready. Because that circus is coming to California. Southern California businessman John Cox is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that will require state politicians to wear the […] […]

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California’s Pension Contribution Shortfall At Least $15 Billion per Year

“Pension-change advocates failed to find funding for a measure during the depths of the 2008 recession and the havoc it wreaked on government budgets, so they won’t pass (a measure) when the economy is doing well.” –  Steve Maviglio, political consultant and union coalition spokesperson, Sacramento Bee, January 18, 2016 It’s hard to […] Continue […]

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Why Investment Realities Will Compel Pension Reform

“For the first time in the pension fund’s history, we paid out more in retirement benefits than we took in contributions.” –  Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer, CalPERS, 2014-2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report There are few examples of a seemingly innocuous statement with more significance than Stausboll’s admission, buried within her “CEO’s Letter of Transmittal,” summarizing […] Continue […]

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Friedrichs vs. the CTA Ruling Could Restore Free Speech Rights of Government Workers

In less than one week the U.S. Supreme Court will begin to hear arguments in the case Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, to determine whether unions can force public employees to fund speech through collective bargaining with which they might disagree. The case could result in a landmark decision impacting the First Amendment rights of millions […]

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A Pension “Pledge” for State Politicians

Earlier this week, noted pension reformer John Moore published “The Mechanics of Pension Reform,” listing specific principles of pension reform. Moore’s article focuses on state policy; he intends to focus on local pension reform policies in a later article. The list he has produced for state legislators is quite detailed; here’s is a partial […] […]

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How the Pension Reactionaries Mislead the Public

re·ac·tion·ar·y, rēˈakSHəˌnerē, adjective 1. (of a person or a set of views) opposing political or social liberalization or reform. –  Source:  Google search “what is a reactionary” When it comes to civic financial health and quality public education, “reactionary” is a word with increasingly bipartisan connotations. But the other qualities connoted by the word all still […] Continue […]

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The Alliance Between Wall Street and Public Unions

“It’s [private equity investments] generating real returns for our members, which is exactly what it’s supposed to do,” said Joe DeAnda, a CalPERS spokesman. “It’s real value that we don’t feel there’s another way to achieve.” –  “Are private equity investments worth the risk?,” Los Angeles Times, November 14, 2015 The alliance between […] Continue […]

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