Government Insolvency

Sacramento Loses Its Finest Legislator

Sacramento Loses Its Finest Legislator

On November 13th, ten days after the election, and facing final counts that made any chance of victory impossible, California State Senator John Moorlach (R-37) conceded defeat to his challenger, Democrat David Min. Reached for comment, Moorlach said “we worked hard on fundraising, the ground game, the phone calls; we worked hard, and we had a...

By Edward Ring

How Much do California’s State Workers Make?

How Much do California’s State Workers Make?

Californians pay the highest overall taxes in the United States, with more to come. The Democratic supermajority in the state legislature is considering AB 1253 that would raise the top income tax rate to 16.8 percent, and AB 2088 that would impose an annual 0.4 percent tax on any California resident’s net worth in excess of $30 million. On...

By Edward Ring

Firefighters Union Backs Prop 15 Instead of Forestry Reform

Firefighters Union Backs Prop 15 Instead of Forestry Reform

Thousands of firefighters continue to battle blazes across California. In Orange County, two firefighters are in critical condition after suffering major injuries battling the Silverado Fire. Every year around this time, firefighters risk their lives, and some of them lose their lives, protecting the rest of us from these catastrophic fires. Deep respect for what firefighters do,...

By Edward Ring

Separating Good Bailouts from Bad Bailouts

Separating Good Bailouts from Bad Bailouts

The pandemic shutdown is about to enter its third month, and economic repercussions have just begun. Too much has been shut down for too long. In California, the initial reopen is not going to include huge business sectors – theaters, concerts, conventions, sports, travel, hotels – and other sectors such as restaurants and retail establishments are going...

By Edward Ring

California is Ready to Get Rid of Newsom

California is Ready to Get Rid of Newsom

Across California on May 1, tens of thousands protested in defiance of the lockdown orders. In Sacramento, the west lawn of the state capitol building was filled with protesters, with thousands more marching along the sidewalk surrounding the capitol grounds. Additional thousands driving their cars and honking their horns created three hours of total gridlock on...

By Edward Ring

Huntington Beach denies pandemic reality, dispenses pay raises

Huntington Beach denies pandemic reality, dispenses pay raises

On Monday, April 6 the Huntington Beach City Council voted to increase pay for its police officers and city employees. The cost for these raises over the next three years is estimated at $5 million. In a city that reported general revenues of $188 million in the fiscal year ended June 2019, this raise can accurately be described as...

By Edward Ring

Rating California counties on the thoroughness of their COVID-19 data dashboards

Rating California counties on the thoroughness of their COVID-19 data dashboards

Editor’s Note: The following was originally published on Reason. In terms of providing quality information that researchers, hospitals, public health officials, and taxpayers would find the most useful, the best portals are offered by San Diego, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Marin counties. County governments across California are providing an array of public coronavirus data...

By Marc Joffe

COVID-19 Worsens Fiscal Distress for Lindsay California

COVID-19 Worsens Fiscal Distress for Lindsay California

The city of Lindsay, in Tulare County, is California’s fourth highest risk city according to the California state auditor. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Its fiscal condition will likely deteriorate further as residents shelter at home, raising the specter of sharp service cuts or even Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the city. The mistakes...

By Marc Joffe

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

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