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Edward Ring

A Challenge to Moorlach and Glazer – Build A Radical Center

On March 22, 2015,John Moorlach was officially sworn inas state senator for California’s 37th District. On May 28, 2015,SteveGlazer took the oath of office as state senator for the 7th District. Moorlach is a Republican serving mostly conservative constituentsin Orange County. Steve Glazer is a Democrat serving mostly liberal constituentsin Contra Costa County.

Different parties. Different constituents. You wouldn’t think these two men had much in common. But you’d be wrong.

John Moorlach and Steve Glazer have both distinguished themselves as politicians and candidates by doing something that transcends their political party identity or conventional ideologies. They challenged the agenda of governmentunions. As a consequence,both of them faced opponents who were members of their own party who accepted money and endorsements from government unions.

It wasn’t easy to challenge government unions. Using taxpayers money… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacramento’s Billion Dollar 
Budget Fairy Tale

Subtitle: The Fleecing of Sacramento’s Taxpayers

Sacramento’s City Manager John Shirey released the proposed 2015/2016 budget last week. It’s clear that this city manager, the mayor, and the city council members are cavalier with their spending of other people’s money.More is never enough. And the word “austerity” is not in their vocabularies.

The other important issue to note is even with his latest attempt to become a strong mayor squashed (again) by the voters last year, Mayor Kevin Johnson is the driving force anyway behind this budget and the… Read More

Edward Ring

Pension Reformers are not “The Enemy” of Public Safety

“You will find that powerful financial and investment institutions are the ones promoting the attacks on your pensions. Firms like Berkshire-Hathaway and the Koch brothers are backing political candidates and causes all over the country in the hopes of making this issue relevant and in the mainstream media. Why? Because if they can crack your pension and turn it into a 401(k), they will make billions. Your pension is the golden egg that they are dying to get their hands upon.By the way, it was those same financial geniuses that brought about the Great Recession in the first place. After nearly collapsing the entire financial system of western civilization, they successfully managed to deflect the blame off of themselves and onto government employee pay/benefits.” – Jim Foster, Vice President, Long Beach Police Officers Association, posted onPubSec Alliancewebsite

These comments form the conclusion to a piece published by Foster entitled “What does “unfunded liability” mean?,”… Read More

Edward Ring

Pension Reform is BAD for Wall Street, and GOOD for California

“His idea [Mayor Chuck Reed’s] of pension reform is, you sign up for one pension system, we’re going to change it now in mid career, and now you’re going to get something different.” Lou Paulson,President, California Professional Firefighters (ref.CPFVideo, April 1, 2015)

The biggest problem with Mr. Paulson’s comment is the double standard he applies. Changing pension systems “mid-career” are just fine when they improve the benefit to Mr. Paulson’s unionized government workforce, but when it comes time to roll back these financially unsustainable changes, he cries foul.

The most obvious, indeed egregious example of a “mid-career” change to pension systems that improved pension benefits began during the internet bubble year 1999, whenSB 400was passed by the California State Legislature. SB 400 changed the pension benefit formula for California’s Highway Patrol officers from “2% at 50″ to “3% at 50,” a 50% increase… Read More

Edward Ring

California’s New, Big, Nonpartisan Political Tent

“In politics, a big tent or catch-all party is a political party seeking to attract people with diverse viewpoints and thus appeal to more of the electorate. The big tent approach is opposed to single-issue litmus tests and ideological rigidity, conversely advocating multiple ideologies and views within a party.” – Wikipedia, “Big Tent

Something is happening in California. An unstoppable movement for reform is building, attracting support from conscientious Californians regardless of their age, income, race, gender or political ideology. The metaphor of a “big tent” aptly describes the approach that reform leaders are finally embracing.

The fabric of this big tent is supported by two poles, one representing restoring quality education, the other representing restoring financial health to California’s public institutions. But the big tent metaphor breaks down somewhat if it describes a political party. Because most of California’s reform leaders no longer care who gets it done, or what political party takes credit. They just want to Californian children to… Read More

Edward Ring

The Amazing, Obscure, Complicated and Gigantic Pension Loophole

“The bottom line is that claiming the unfunded liability cost as part of an officer’s compensation is grossly and deliberately misleading.” –LAPPL Board of Directors on 08/07/2014, in their post “Misuse of statistics behind erroneous LA police officer salary claims.”

This assertion, one that is widely held among representatives of public employees, lies at the heart of the debate over how much public employees really make, and greatly skews the related debate over how much pension funds can legitimately expect to earn on their invested assets.

Pension fund contributions have two components, the “normal contribution” and the “unfunded contribution.” The normal contribution represents the present value of future retirement pension income that is earned in any current year. For example, if an actively working participant in a pension plan earns “3% at 55,” then each year, another 3% is added to the total percentage that is multiplied by their final year of earnings in order to… Read More

Katy Grimes

Statist CA Needs Leaders, Not Legacy-Seekers

Are you better off today than you were two, four or six years ago when progressive Democrats took over and expanded more of government? Of course not: As government grows, liberty decreases.

It was Thomas Jefferson who warned, “The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases. The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

But elections are changing. Voters are changing. America is changing. California has been leading much of that change, and not in a good way. This election is a potential realignment election… Read More

Edward Ring

The Misleading Arguments of Those Who Fight Against Pension Reform

Weakening pensions is a choice, not an imperative. The crisis is political, not actuarial. – Susan Greenbaum,guest editorial, Al Jazeera America, October 20, 2014

With this thesis highlighted, Greenbaum, a retired professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida, has just published a guest editorial that provides in one place a useful example of the distortions, demonizing and inversions of logic used by those who fight against pension reform. To understand why public employees, and their union leadership, remain sincere in their delusions regarding pensions, Greenbaum’s missive may serve as Exhibit A. Because she has joined a chorus that is funded not only by the billions that are spent by public employee unions on political and educational propaganda each year, but also funded by elements of those same Wall Street financial interests they routinely deride.

Let’s examine some of these misleading arguments and tactics, in no particular order:

(1) Identify key reformers, demonize them, then accuse anyoneRead More

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