Finance

California Cities Hike Minimum Wage as Economy Falters

California Cities Hike Minimum Wage as Economy Falters

Until further notice, California’s economy is in free fall. As of April 6, California’s Employment Development Department reported receiving 1.9 million new unemployment insurance claims within barely three weeks. As reported in the San Jose Mercury, during the entire 2008 Great Recession, only 2.2. million unemployment claims were submitted. It’s impossible to know how long these unemployment claims...

By Edward Ring

Suggested Executive Orders for Governor Gavin Newsom

Suggested Executive Orders for Governor Gavin Newsom

Throughout the last several weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a number of executive orders to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Without criticizing the tremendous efforts that are already being made, I want to propose a few additional steps that California’s governor could further contain the damage this virus is wreaking. Some of...

By Edward Ring

Black Swans and Super Bubbles

Black Swans and Super Bubbles

Black Swan: an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences.” – Investopedia For decades there have been so-called “permabears” claiming that investment returns in the stock market were unsustainable. When the internet bubble popped in 1999, the permabears felt vindicated. But then, starting around 2003, the...

By Edward Ring

Post-Coronapocalypse pension reform checklist for California

Post-Coronapocalypse pension reform checklist for California

In a perfect world, California’s state and local public employees would receive exactly the same retirement benefits as federal employees. They would receive a modest defined benefit, a contributory 401K, and they would participate in Social Security. Unfortunately, in California, while some state and local public employees are offered 401Ks, and many participate in Social Security, all of...

By Edward Ring

Crisis shows why El Cerrito needs to heed State Auditor’s warning

Crisis shows why El Cerrito needs to heed State Auditor’s warning

The economic crisis arising from the public health crisis we now face shows why the state auditor was correct in calling out El Cerrito and several other California cities for their perilous financial positions during a decade of economic growth. While El Cerrito may have been able to “get away” with uncontrolled spending during good...

By Marc Joffe

Noble-sounding CEQA used to fight the scourge of cheap groceries

Noble-sounding CEQA used to fight the scourge of cheap groceries

The old line about nothing being certain except death and taxes is slightly less solid during the coronavirus recession, as lawmakers look to limit harm to struggling individuals and businesses by putting off when they have to pay their due to the government. But an old saw about the Golden State — there is nothing...

By Chris Reed

Time for California’s Government Unions to Get Serious About Pension Reform

Time for California’s Government Unions to Get Serious About Pension Reform

It’s been a long time since California’s pension systems were responsibly managed. Back then, they made conservative investments, paid modest but fair benefits to retirees, and did not place an unreasonable financial burden on taxpayers. But a series of decisions and circumstances over the past thirty years put these pension systems on a collision course...

By Edward Ring

Grassroots Infrastructure for Initiatives and Recalls is Growing in California

Grassroots Infrastructure for Initiatives and Recalls is Growing in California

Earlier this month the effort to recall Gavin Newsom was officially ended. As reported in the Times of San Diego on March 17, “Last week, the California Secretary of State’s Office informed Erin Cruz of Palm Springs that her petition effort to oust the Democratic governor had failed. A year earlier, an initiative to repeal California’s gas tax made...

By Edward Ring

California Cities in Critical Condition

California Cities in Critical Condition

The specter of California’s cities and counties becoming insolvent is nothing new. Three major California cities have already declared bankruptcy, Vallejo in 2008, Stockton and San Bernardino in 2012. In October 2019, the California State Auditor’s Office reported on the fiscal health of 471 California cities. On what the California State Auditor’s office describes as a “Local Government...

By Edward Ring

Government Pensions Are Dividing Americans and Damaging the Economy

Government Pensions Are Dividing Americans and Damaging the Economy

Now that financial markets around the world are experiencing a long-overdue correction, the best we can hope for is that we hit bottom before a deflationary cascade causes a worldwide depression. Those economists who believe in the long-term debt cycle may claim that this time the end has arrived, and they may be right. COVID-19, oil price...

By Edward Ring

Gathered for the feast at the Hotel California

Gathered for the feast at the Hotel California

Welcome to the Hotel California, such a lovely place… Plenty of room at the Hotel California, any time of year, you can find it here… – “Hotel California,” by the Eagles, 1977 For decades California’s aristocracy has engaged in unsustainable feasting, as they consume the leviathan carcasses of what were for a time the world’s the...

By Edward Ring

Californians reject new taxes and borrowing

Californians reject new taxes and borrowing

The preliminary election returns reported on March 4th indicate that California’s voters delivered a stunning rejection of new taxes and borrowing. It’s about time. At the state level, Prop.13 which would have authorized $15 billion in general obligation bonds for schools and colleges, required a simple majority for approval. But as of March 9th the...

By Edward Ring

The Wondrous, Magnificent Cities of the 21st Century

The Wondrous, Magnificent Cities of the 21st Century

The American Conservative recently laid an egg. They published a misanthropic, pessimistically aggressive Malthusian screed, written by James Howard Kunstler. Kunstler’s “Why America’s Urban Dreams Went Wrong” attacks pretty much every urban amenity Americans have built since the invention of the automobile. And his reasoning, all of it, reflects a dismal lack of faith in human...

By Edward Ring

Leveling with Louie on education funding

Leveling with Louie on education funding

A recent chat with my cousin illuminates the chasm between fact and fantasy. After a recent post in which I detailed California’s abuse of taxpayers, I got a call from my cousin Louie, an aging Hollywood screenwriter. Known as the “red sheep” of the family, he firmly believes that pouring more money into government schools...

By Larry Sand