Get free daily email updates

Syndicate this site - RSS

Recent Posts

Blogger Menu

Click here to blog

FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

- Or -
Search blog archive

Ray Haynes

How Conservatives Can Change the Budget Process

The latest federal budget presented to us as “finished” proves one big point. Our government budgets, at the Federal, State, and Local levels, are out of control. Conservatives constantly campaign to control the size and scope of government, but once they get elected, and have to actually govern, conservatives fall short of correcting the persistent problem, the cause of the ever increasing size and scope of government and the erosion of individual freedom in this country, the budgets of the various governments.

Of course, the first problem is the self interest of the groups who make money off the budget. They are the largest contributors to the political process, and the ones most interested in the outcomes of budget negotiations. Whether it is police and fire unions, teachers’ or other education related unions, government employee unions, private sector operations who contract with the government for all manner of things and services, and even those who are regulated by the government, all have an interest in protecting the status quo, which generally means the “constant” growth of government. Word limitations on these types of blogs… Read More

Ray Haynes

A Budget Primer

The federal government just came out with its budget calling for an explosion of spending, and blowing the top off of the debt limit. Small government, pro-freedom conservatives are justifiably outraged.

Newt Gingrich tells the story of one of his conversations with Ronald Reagan at the end of Reagan’s presidency. Gingrich told then President Reagan that, while he had done some amazing things as President, he had failed to bring the budget under control. Reagan responded by saying, “I conquered international communism, I leave the budget deficit to you.” Since that time, Republicans have done a poor job of controlling federal government spending. Gingrich had a balanced budget for several years while he was Speaker of the House, but when he resigned, and Speaker Hastert took over, budget deficits returned. Bush couldn’t control spending, Republican majorities during Obama’s years didn’t, and total Republican control of all the levers of government during the first two years of President Trump’s time didn’t control it either.

We had the same problem here in California. While Pete Wilson was Governor, and… Read More

Edward Ring

Will Unions Promote Defined Contribution Plans the Way They Promote Pensions?

The virtue of a defined contribution plan is that once the employer has made their contribution, the employer’s obligation is fulfilled. The employee’s retirement benefit is based on a “defined” contribution – typically some fixed percentage of their base pay – that money is invested, and the retiree lives on the accumulated savings and interest. Often, with the same amount invested, these plans can offer participants a more lucrative retirement than a pension.

Given the potential of defined contribution plans to sometimes outperform pensions, why are public employee unions seemingly focused almost exclusively onthe alternative, the so-called “defined benefit” pension? Far more common in the public sector, these defined benefit plans offer the retiree a guaranteed “defined” amount in the form of fixed payments for as long as they live, usually adjusted upwards each year for inflation. What the employer has to contribute to the fund is undefined and fluctuates as needed to maintain those promised payments.

The problem, however, with defined benefits is they were sold as costing taxpayers very little,… Read More

Ray Haynes

They Just Can’t Help Themselves And You and I Are Gonna Pay

The Dems recently announced how they have enacted a “fiscally responsible” budget for the current 2019-2020 budget year. Rather than buy the PR, let’s look at the numbers.

First, references. Take a look at http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2019-20/pdf/Enacted/BudgetSummary/BS_SCH6.pdf. What is this? It is the budget’s Schedule 6. Most budget decisions made by legislators are made in a vacuum. The process looks like this: (1) between September and December, the various agencies and departments submit to the Department of Finance their desired budgets for the following fiscal years, called “budget change proposals” (BCPs); (2) In January, the Department of Finance (DoF) (controlled by the Governor’s office) submits to the Legislature the “Governor’s budget,” (3) In late February, the Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) (controlled by the Democrat Leadership in the Legislature) submits its analysis of the Governors budget; (4) Between March and May, the budget committees act on the BCPs; (5) In May, the DoF releases its “May Revise” and the LAO analyzes it; (6) In late May and early June, the budget… Read More

Bruce Bialosky

A Most Excellent Supreme Court Decision

Two U.S. Supreme Court decisions came down one after the other. The first was about reapportionment. The court ruled that they have no say whether elected officials can gerrymander political districts. While waiting for the second decision about a question on the census, the news made that seem like a more important decision. It is not. Analysts missed the reason why. While waiting for the Census question decision, Alan Dershowitz was interviewed and he stated that the two consolidated cases regarding how districts are drawn, Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, were “100 times more important than the census question case.” He was correct — just for the wrong reason.

Most analysts focused on the idea that Republicans won a major victory in this 5-4 decision where the right-of-center Justices were in the majority. That is because currently the vast majority of legislatures are controlled by Republicans and control reapportionment in their states. That is a shallow view of the ruling and not why the Left was so agitated. In effect, the ruling stated that legislatures can draw the lines of political districts within their states for… Read More

Richard Rider

Firefighters definitely face dangers — but the risks are much lower than many realize. And it’s becoming even safer.

Firefighting can definitely be risky, as firefighters love to remind us. But firefighting is no longer in the “Top Ten” most dangerous occupations.

According to this WASHINGTON POST article, firefighting ranked as the 18th most dangerous occupation in 2013 — just behind “athletes, coaches, umpires, etc.” Stats are from the BLS.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/01/28/charted-the-20-deadliest-jobs-in-america

As detailed below in a chart, the modern (1980 to 2015) history of annual American firefighter deaths is encouraging. The trend is definitely improving. It’s becoming a safer occupation, though definitely still more risky than most.

What’s interesting about the drop in annual firefighter deaths is that from 1980 to 2015 our country’s population… Read More

Richard Rider

Firefighters are the happiest workers in the nation — even WITHOUT the CA $200,000+ annual compensation and $100,000 pensions

The Bloomberg news service has just published the results of a study that shows that America’s paid firefighters are the happiest workers in the nation. And by no small margin. They LOVE their job!

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/firefighters-are-the-happiest-workers-in-america-1.1288266

This fact is not surprising, considering that 69% of the country’s firefighters are volunteers — America’s TRUE firefighting heroes. It gets more interesting when one considers that — as the article points out — the nation’s median firefighter wage rate is under $50,000 annually.

https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes332011.htm

Given that firefighting is probably the most desired job in America, the question it raises is this: Why do we taxpayers pay California “firehouse” firefighters $150,000 to $300,000+ total annual compensation?

Since I… Read More

Edward Ring

How “Release Time” Causes Taxpayers to Fund Government Unions

Based on an estimated total membership of 1.1 million and average dues per member of around $700, California’s public sector unions collect andspend approximately $800 millionper year. The impact of the June 2018 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the caseJanus vs AFSCMEmay havechopped around $50 millionoff that annual total, by eliminating the union’s ability to collect agency fees from non-members. Nonetheless, California’s public sector unions still collect a stupefying amount of money every year, and remain one of the most powerful special interests in the state.

The long-term impact of theJanusdecision has yet to be felt. Will California’s public sector unions slowly lose membership? Or will they retain or even grow their membership by being more accountable to their members, or, equally likely, by continuing to make quitting the union an exercise in bureaucratic futility so… Read More

Page 20 of 1,786« First...10...1819202122...304050...Last »