Entries by Edward Ring

Employee Freedom Week – Know Your Rights

California is a forced unionism state, meaning that once a collective bargaining unit is recognized by an employer, it’s pretty hard for any employee to avoid paying union dues. But even in forced unionism states, employees have rights. “National Employee Freedom Week” was initiated in Nevada last year by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, and […]

Preserving America's Middle Class

To say America’s middle class is threatened is a common refrain. But there is no malevolent force operating to shrink America’s middle class. America’s middle class is challenged by the momentum of history. Technology automates jobs at the same time as the capacity of foreign manufacturers continuously improves. At the same time, American taxpayers confront […]

Merge Social Security and Public Sector Pensions

When solutions to the challenge to provide retirement security to American citizens in the 21st century are considered, they typically address either social security or public sector pensions, but rarely focus on both of these systems together. But when considered together, as systems that each have unique strengths and weaknesses that might be combined in […]

How Interest Rates Affect the Federal Budget

The relationship between stagnant economic growth and high levels of total market debt should be clear to anyone trying to manage a household where their home mortgage payment consumes 50% or more of their entire household income. Similarly, the relationship between economic growth and the ability to borrow should be clear to anyone who has […]

How Big Are California’s State and Local Governments Combined?

June 21, 2013 By Bill Fletcher and Ed Ring SUMMARY:  California’s local governments and agencies spent far more in FYE 6-30-2011, $316 billion, when compared to spending for direct state government operations, $49 billion. Similarly, using realistic assumptions regarding the value of unfunded retirement pension and healthcare obligations, the amount of long-term debt carried by […]

Why Public Sector Unions are “Special” Special Interests

California’s November 2012 statewide ballot included Prop. 32, the “Stop Special Interest Money Now” initiative. Among the provisions included in this campaign finance reform measure was the requirement that public sector unions obtain permission from each member prior to using a portion of their dues to support political campaigns. It’s hard to precisely determine just […]

Public Employee “Pay Transparency” Efforts Fall Short

Last week the California Public Policy Center released a compilation of public employee compensation databases. Apart from the CPPC’s own studies that disclose and evaluate compensation for city workers in San Jose, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, and Irvine, as of May 2013, they found nine additional sources of information on California’s state and local government employee […]

Reforming Public Sector Unions and Public Sector Pensions is NOT “Anti-Worker”

An incoming email responding to last week’s UnionWatch editorial “Los Angeles Police Union Attacks CPPC Study” included the following statement: “While you profess not to dislike public employees, it is clear that you disliking public employee unions.  Interesting—so you might like a public employee or two individually, you just dislike when those individuals organize to […]

Los Angeles Police Union Attacks CPPC Study

On May 17th the Los Angeles Police Protective Leagues “Board of Directors” authored a post on their LAPPL blog entitled “Inventing the headline number,” attacking the research and the motives of California Public Policy Center. Here’s how the post began: “The playbook is familiar now—gin up a study on public pensions and government debt to be […]

California’s State/Local Governments Confront $1.0 Trillion in Debt

A study released earlier today by the California Public Policy Center entitled “Calculating California’s Total State and Local Government Debt” has estimated that state and local government debt is somewhere between $848 billion and $1.12 trillion. This is the first attempt we’ve ever seen by anyone to provide an estimate. Small wonder. If Californians understood […]

Calculating California’s Total State and Local Government Debt

SUMMARY:  The total outstanding government debt confronting California’s taxpayers is bigger than is generally known. Earlier this year, when Governor Brown referred to the $27.8 billion in state budgetary borrowings as a “Wall of Debt,” his intention was probably to warn Californians that balancing the state budget was only a first step towards achieving financial […]

What If Every Worker Made What City of Irvine Workers Make?

“Jennifer Muir, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Employees’ Association, which represents more than 18,000 public employees in Orange County, said the California Public Policy Center’s study was a politically motivated attack on public employees and unions. Aside from promoting the center’s anti-public employee union agenda, Muir said, the reports are misleading and shift focus away […]

Adjustable Pension Plans

Professor Barnhardt: “So it was only when your world was threatened with destruction that you became what you are now?” Klaatu: “Yes.” Professor Barnhardt: “Well that’s where we are. You say we’re on the brink of destruction and you’re right. But it’s only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice […]

Irvine, California – City Employee Compensation Analysis

April 8, 2013 INTRODUCTION When the issue of public sector compensation is discussed, it is vital for participants to fully understand the concept of total compensation. Because the “wages” paid directly to a worker are only part of what they earn. Any costs for any direct benefits enjoyed by an employee that are paid for […]

The Prosperity Agenda

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Contrary to a common misconception, it was not Charles Duell, the Commissioner of the US patent office, who said this back in 1899. According to PatentlyO.com, and a host of other debunking sources online, this line was actually part of a parody that appeared in an 1899 […]

Will Silicon Valley’s Elite Take On Public Sector Unions?

The San Francisco Bay Area is probably the most liberal in America. Democrats are typically favored over Republicans in elections by an 40 to 50 percent margins. The SF Bay is also perhaps the wealthiest region in America, with a GDP of over $500 billion, and more than 10% of the nation’s billionaires. Not least, […]

GASB Loopholes Created Illusions of Solvency

What if most of the public employee compensation enhancements of the past decade or more in California were based on inaccurately optimistic government financial statements? Or to be blunt, what if government decision makers thought they could afford these compensation enhancements, because the information they relied on used accounting gimmicks that would land a person […]

Should Police and Firefighters be Exempted from Union Reforms?

Advocates of public sector union reform point to fundamental differences between unions in the competitive private sector vs. those unions that organize government workers. Briefly stated, private sector unions must moderate their demands or the companies they bargain with will go out of business; private sector unions exercise little influence over who is going to […]

One Man’s Fight Against Union Power

Entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley should pay close attention to the experiences of Dave Bego, the Indiana businessman who started a company from scratch. By 2006, after years of unrelenting toil and sacrifice by Bego and his family, Executive Management Services, Inc. (EMS) had expanded into 38 states and had 5,000 employees. Bego now had […]