Entries by Steven Greenhut

Vallejo’s post-bankruptcy plight gets little notice in California’s state capitol

When Vallejo, California was facing bankruptcy, pension reformers warned officials there that unless the city takes the opportunity to trim back pensions for current employees that it would soon be back in the fiscal tank. One official there said the city didn’t want to take on the politically powerful California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), […]

Desperate Hot Springs – Another California city teeters on the edge of bankruptcy

In what may be the most embarrassing California-related headline to appear in a while, Reuters announced last month: Tony resort city mulls bankruptcy, blaming wages, pensions. That supposedly “tony” city is Desert Hot Springs, on the northern edge of the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs. Though it’s certainly true that Palm Springs and many of its […]

California’s Public Sector Union Pension Secrecy Lobby

Last month, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) announced that it would post the names and pension amounts of its retirees. But after the Retired Public Employees Association of California (RPEA) objected, CalPERS quickly pulled back from this pledge. RPEA leaders made what amounted to a novel and troubling argument about why vital public […]

Union Friendly National Security Bureaucrat Picked to Head University of California

With its 10 campuses, nearly 200,000 staff, and $20 billion annual budget, the University of California system is emblematic of the state government that pays a portion of its bills – enormous, unruly, overly expensive, steeped in politics, dominated by unions and other special-interest groups, and plagued with controversy. California voters in 2010 turned the […]

California Pension Reformers Plan New State Ballot Initiative

A statewide constitutional initiative planned for 2014 would tackle the biggest obstacle to meaningful pension reform: vested benefits. Right now, with certain exceptions, California municipalities may not reduce pension benefits for current employees—unlike in the private sector, where employers can change the terms of employees’ current pension plans, making them less generous. The courts have […]

The Bipartisan Potential of Civil Libertarians

The Obama administration has gotten itself into a fix between its contradictory stories about the Benghazi incident, reports of the IRS targeting conservative groups, and the Justice Department’s grabbing of phone records from AP reporters. There are few things more fun to watch than arrogant political leaders — folks who spend their lives bossing everyone […]

Does Police Union Power Erode Accountability?

The horrific Boston bombings already have led to calls for more security cameras and more police officers, with some Democrats absurdly using this tragedy as a reason to stop the slight sequester-mandated cuts in federal spending growth. Never mind that police spending primarily is a local matter. The bigger questions that Americans have rarely asked, […]

To the Public Sector Unions, California is now the model for America

Ever since California’s voters approved the Prop. 30 sales-and income-tax increase on the November ballot, liberal commentators have been gloating about the resurgence of the Golden State after many years of predicted doom and gloom. Their evidence: Higher taxes seem to have cleared up the state’s budget deficits. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote recently, […]

Union Greed Drives California to Bankruptcy

Few non-local people pay much attention to the goings-on in Stockton, a hard-pressed Gold-Rush-era industrial city of 300,000 that sits in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley at the eastern edge of the California Delta. But bondholders, taxpayers and government officials throughout the country will be listening to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein’s expected ruling […]

California A Model For Other States?

California’s modern-day progressive Democrats keep crowing about the huge success they’ve had in taming the state’s budget deficit, thanks to Proposition 30’s tax increases and other “reforms,” and now are championing the Jerry Brown model as a blueprint for the nation. Is that realistic? It’s one thing that other states have to deal with our […]