Entries by Ed Ring

California's Most Financially Stressed Cities and Counties

Introduction:  Due to the healthy response generated by this study, and justifiable expressions of concern by many whose cities we found to be financially stressed, we would like to state that the rankings developed herein are based on information contained in 2013 financial statements, that is, financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, […]

California's Emerging Good Government Coalition

The 2014 mid-term elections will be remembered for many things – pioneering use of information technology to comprehensively profile and micro-target voters, escalating use of polarizing rhetoric, historically low levels of voter turnout, and historic records in total spending. In California, in spite of all this money and technology – or perhaps because of it […]

The Misleading Arguments of Those Who Fight Against Pension Reform

Weakening pensions is a choice, not an imperative. The crisis is political, not actuarial. – Susan Greenbaum, guest editorial, Al Jazeera America, October 20, 2014 With this thesis highlighted, Greenbaum, a retired professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida, has just published a guest editorial that provides in one place a useful example […]

The Challenge Libertarians Face to Win American Hearts

In California, the root cause of government waste, failed programs, high taxes, debt and deficits, regulatory abuse, civil rights abuse, and even corporate cronyism is public sector unions. Their agenda is intrinsically in conflict with the public at large because any government program, any government regulation, any tax and any new debt, benefits them regardless […]

Palo Alto's Proposed New Pension Tax – Oops, Hotel Tax

Fungible – definition – “able to replace or be replaced by another identical item; mutually interchangeable.” On November 4th, Palo Alto voters will be asked to approve Measure B, with only a simple majority required for passage. According to a summary compiled by the California Taxpayers Association, “2014 Local Elections,”Measure B “increases the city hotel/motel tax by […]

California's 2014 Local Tax Proposals – The Costly Alternative to Pension Reform

On November 4th, along everything else on the ballot, California’s voters will be asked to approve local tax measures. A list compiled by the California Taxpayers Association, “2014 Local Elections,” shows that across California’s cities and counties, local tax increases proposed include the following: –  Tax increases requiring only a majority vote: 5 business taxes, […]

Governor Brown – The Bailout King

“What a salesman,” he said, mockingly. “I guess that’s what you learned … selling that stock that went south.” – California Governor Brown, to challenger Kashkari, during televised debate Sept. 4th, 2014 (ref. SF Gate) If anyone wants to know what the theme of Governor Brown’s attacks on GOP candidate Neel Kashkari is going to […]

Reinventing America's Unions for the 21st Century

Critics have suggested that leaders of the labor movement suffer from economic illiteracy that has made them the architects of their own demise. The unwillingness of unions to make concessions in the face of global competition starting in the 1960’s was a major factor in Americans losing millions of union jobs. In the present day, […]

The Looming Bipartisan Backlash Against Unionized Government

Whenever discussing politically viable policy proposals to improve the quality of life in California, the imperative is to come up with ideas that strongly appeal to moderate centrists, since that is how most Californians would describe themselves. And there are two compelling issues that offer that appeal: making California’s system of K-12 education the best […]

Los Angeles Police Average Total Compensation $157,151 Per Year

Turns out the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension system return rate was 17.3 percent for 2013-2014, and other public pension funds reported similar double-digit returns and five-year returns exceeding their assumed rates.  – LAPPL Board of Directors on 08/07/2014, in their post “Misuse of statistics behind erroneous LA police officer salary claims.” The above quote […]

How Much Do Los Angeles Police Officers Make?

There’s a deep seated frustration and anger among the rank and file due to their low pay. Det. Tyler Izen – President, Los Angeles Police Protective League, July 28, 2014, KTLA Channel 5 Low pay, of course, is relative. It’s very difficult to objectively determine what a police officer should be paid. There aren’t jobs in […]

The Case for Adjustable Defined Benefits

Notwithstanding the fact that “adjustable defined benefits” might constitute an oxymoron, as a concept it represents the only way that defined benefit plans can be sustained. Rather than throwing new employees into individual 401K plans, while they effectively subsidize legacy defined benefits for veteran employees and retirees, why not adjust defined benefits down to a […]

Golden Gate Transit District Median Compensation $129,708 per Year, Union Threatening Strike

“No one wants the inconvenience associated with transportation workers taking action, but the District is leaving these workers little choice. This is about the middle class. We want the public to know what’s going on,” Tonisson said. – Alex Tonisson, co-chair, Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition, SF Appeal, July 24, 2014 If you were receiving a pay […]

How to Create Affordable Abundance in California

California has one of the highest costs of living in the United States. California also is one of the most inhospitable places to run a business in the United States. And despite being blessed with abundant energy and an innovative tradition that ought to render the supply of all basic resources abundant and cheap, California […]

The Financial Impact of Pension Obligations on Ventura County

“The rare problem of high pensions going to top public executives was solved last year by state legislation. Pensions will now be based on the salary cap for Social Security taxes: $117,000…  The highly exaggerated “unfunded liability” problem is resolving as the stock market and tax revenues recover from the recession. The Ventura County Taxpayer Association’s […]

Government Employee Unions – The Root Cause of California's Challenges

Spokespersons for California’s government employee unions perpetuate a myth of staggering absurdity and tragic consequences – that they are protecting working Californians from wealthy corporations and wealthy individuals. The reality is that government employee unions are focused on one thing: Expanding government employee pay, benefits and privileges. This requires expanding government, and that priority comes […]

Examining the CalSTRS Shareholder Bailout

“CalSTRS has a $70-plus-billion unfunded liability – even with assumed investment earnings that Brown deems ‘highly unlikely’ – and says it needs about $5 billion more a year to regain solvency.” –  Dan Walters column, “Brown budget reflects state’s massive debt,” May 25, 2014, Sacramento Bee Those “investment earnings” that Walters quotes Brown as finding […]

California's Green Bantustans

One of the core barriers to economic prosperity in California is the price of housing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Policies designed to stifle the ability to develop land are based on flawed premises. These policies prevail because they are backed by environmentalists, and, most importantly, because they have played into the […]