Entries by Edward Ring

Pension Funds, Meet the “Super Bubble”

Earlier this month, outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown predicted “fiscal oblivion” if California’s state and local agencies are not granted more flexibility to modify pension benefits. As if to help Governor Brown make his point, U.S. stock indexes took an obliging plunge. The Dow Jones average cratered in December, dropping nearly 16 percent in three […]

The Financial Context of the Imminent California Supreme Court Decision on the “California Rule”

Any day now, the California Supreme Court will rule on what may be one of the most significant cases affecting pension reform in California history. The case, CalFire Local 2881 vs. CalPERS, challenges one of the provisions of PEPRA (Public Employee Pension Reform Act) Governor Brown’s 2013 pension reform legislation. The plaintiffs argue that PEPRA’s abolition […]

Jamming Janus – The Public Union Empire Strikes Back

In June 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Janus vs AFSCME case. The result of the decision is that public employees not only have the right to refuse membership in a union, but also the right to refuse to pay so-called “agency fees” to the union. Unions had been preparing for years for […]

California Burning – How the Greens Turned the Golden State Brown

In October 2016, in a coordinated act of terrorism that received fleeting attention from the press, environmentalist activists broke into remote flow stations and turned off the valves on pipelines carrying crude oil from Canada into the United States. Working simultaneously in Washington, Montana, Minnesota, and North Dakota, the eco-terrorists disrupted pipelines that together transport 2.8 million […]

Can Public Sector Union Power Ever Be Stopped?

Imagine you’re hoping to support a candidate for local office who will enact reforms that will improve your city, maybe even save it. Someone who will fight tirelessly to eliminate work rules that force agencies to hire more people than are actually necessary. Someone who will insist that incompetent public employees are fired. Someone who […]

California’s Socialist Oligarchy, Part Two: Who They Are and How to Defeat Them

California’s policymakers have condemned Californians to endure contrived scarcity, unaffordability, and inconvenience in all of the basic necessities of life. This is a crime, but it’s not a conspiracy. Rather, it is caused by a collection of powerful special interests whose political agendas align. Left-wing Oligarchs At the top of the pyramid are left-wing oligarchs, crony […]

California’s Socialist Oligarchy, Part One: Making the State Unaffordable

Touted as the “fifth-largest economy on Earth,” and recently heralded as delivering the “greatest increase in average income,” these statistics obscure an alarming reality. California has become a feudal state, where the benefits of prosperity are unequally distributed, rewarding corrupt plutocrats and punishing ordinary working families. Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban studies at Chapman University […]

Public Servant Who Made $327,491 in 2017 Asks Us to Support Higher Taxes

Every two years, around this time, political mailers inundate the mailboxes of California’s registered voters. This week, many Sacramento residents received “Vote No on Prop 6″ mailer. Prop 6 is that pesky, subversive citizens ballot initiative that, if approved by voters, will roll back the gas tax. But Prop. 6 isn’t the topic here. Rather, […]

Just How Much Money Might CalPERS Have to Collect in an Economic Downturn?

When evaluating the financial challenges facing California’s state and local public employee pension funds, a compelling question to consider is when, exactly when, will these funds financially collapse? That is, of course, an impossible question to answer. CalPERS, for example, manages hundreds of billions in assets, which means that long before it literally runs out […]

How to Make California’s Southland Water Independent for $30 Billion

The megapolis on California’s southern coast stretches from Ventura County on the northern end, through Los Angeles County, Orange County, down to San Diego County on the border with Mexico. It also includes the western portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Altogether these six counties have a population of 20.5 million residents. According to […]

How Much California Water Bond Money is for Storage?

Californians have approved two water bonds in recent years, with another facing voters this November. In 2014 voters approved Prop. 1, allocating $7.1 billion for water projects. This June, voters approved Prop. 68, allocating another $4.0 billion for water projects. And this November, voters are being asked to approve Prop. 3, allocating another $8.9 billion […]

Why Teachers Unions are the Worst of the Worst

When considering the influence of unions on American society, there are vast differences depending on what type of union one considers. Private sector unions, for all the criticisms they may deserve, have nonetheless played a vital role in securing rights for the American worker. Subject to appropriate regulations, private sector unions have the opportunity to […]

California’s Transportation Future, Part Four – The Common Road

With light rail, high speed rail, and possibly passenger drones and hyperloop pods just around the corner, it’s easy to forget that the most versatile mode of transportation remains the common road. Able to accommodate anything with wheels, from bicycles and wheelchairs to articulated buses and 80 ton trucks, and ranging from dirt tracks to […]

In Search of Government Union Transparency

Anyone who thinks it’s easy to calculate the total annual revenue of California’s government unions hasn’t tried to do it. And this statistic is vital to understanding one of the most powerful forces – if not the most powerful force – in California’s state and local politics. The problem with getting accurate ground-up revenue numbers […]

California’s Government Unions Collect An Estimated $800 Million Per Year

Editor’s note: This post was updated on 7/13/2018 to include the following RETRACTION: The CSEA (California Schools Employees Association) has provided clarification of actual member dues revenue. The author’s previous assumptions, now known to be erroneous, were that (1) CSEA is a decentralized union meaning that significant dues revenue is retained by local affiliates, and (2) […]

Can Janus Unravel the “Solidarity” Between PORAC and the CTA?

The reactions from representatives of California’s public sector unions to the Janus ruling are revealing. For any member thinking about quitting these unions, these reactions, and the political agenda they epitomize, bear close scrutiny. Here are excerpts from a press release regarding Janus on the California Teachers Association website: “Today’s ruling is an attack on […]

How Government Unions Will Attack the Janus Ruling

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued their decision in the landmark case Janus vs. AFSCME, ruling that public sector unions can no longer force public employees to pay union dues. Janus argued that even so-called “agency fees,” which unions claim are only for collective bargaining and are therefore non-political, are, in fact, inherently political. As […]