Californians: Government is a ripoff

April 10, 2014 - By John Seiler

taxesI’ve been wondering when most people would figure out that government is nothing but a ripoff, with the swag going to billionaire crony capitalists and highly paid public “servants.” As the dreaded April 15 approaches, when government gets serious about the thumb screws and water torture to get our money, reality has shocked awake many Californians.

Mark Baldassare writes of a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, which he heads:

As the April 15 deadline for filing taxes looms, we asked Californians in the latest PPIC Statewide Survey how they view their state and local tax burden. Their responses point to a disconnect between public opinion and the views of many fiscal reformers.

A record-high 60 percent say that they pay more than they feel they should in state and local taxes. Just two years ago, 46 percent held this view. Today, six in 10 Californians also have the perception that California currently ranks above average or near the top in state and local tax burden per capita. And they are correct: A Tax Policy Center report recently ranked California’s 2011 state and local tax burden as the 11th highest in the nation.

Further, a record-low 50 percent of Californians say that the present state and local tax system is very or moderately fair. In contrast, 57 percent said it was at least moderately fair two years ago. Across income categories today, perceptions of the fairness hover around 50 percent.

Baldassare said one reason the for the change is that Proposition 30 raised the sales tax a quarter cent, soaking all taxpayers, including the poor and the middle class, for an extra $1 billion a year. It also raised the tax on “millionaires” — defined in California as middle-class folks making $250,000 a year — grabbing another $6 billion a year.

And for what? The schools and roads remain among the worst in the country.

Pensions

The extra tax dollars ensure that the pensions for retired state and local government workers remain the highest in the country, with 12,388 now enjoying the Lucullan luxury of the “100K Club” — those raking in $100,000 or higher pension payments a year. The highest is Michael D. Johnson, formerly of the County of Solano, who pulls down $371,043 a year. That’s more than double Gov. Jerry Brown’s salary of $165,228.

Baldassare continued:

But Californians appear to have little interest in changing the tax system in ways that may impact their pocketbooks. Among four types of state taxes that we asked about in our March 2014 survey, six in 10 oppose extending the sales tax to services that are not currently taxed, and fewer than half favor extending the sales tax to services even if it means lowering the overall state sales tax rate. However, six in 10 would support raising income taxes on the wealthy, while about half favor raising state taxes paid by California corporations. 

That reminds me of the old libertarian saw, “Don’t tax you. Don’t tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree.”

And the public-employee unions might take heart from that poll result and start plumping for more taxes on those greedy rich folks and corporations, who once again need to “give back” more.

But if you tax corporations and the rich more, they have less money for jobs creation, expansion and raises. Some corporations and rich folks even leave the state, or the entire country.

So Californians still don’t know all “the true gen” (intelligence), as old Hemingway used to say.

But they’re catching on.

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Comments(23)
  1. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    Have a friend graduating from dental school in 2 months, has $450K in loans. He is moving to Texas. He claims, and I am only going on his word, that there are so many dentists in CA that the entry level pay, as an employee which is about how all dentists start out, is right around $100K. MAX. I said started your own practice, he said it was too costly right out of school. He then claimed the competition in Texas is far less, resulting in a salary twice that of CA, about $200K first year. And the cost of living is half that of CA giving Texas a 400% advantage in real pay.

    Needless to say I believed every word. When a GED educated cop, FF or some other incompetent trougher can get $200K in total compensation, twice that of an entry level dentist, then it is full on chaos here. And it is going to crash, next recession.

    Krazy KA….

    • John Seiler says:

      I believe it. Incredible he has $450K loans. That’s just wrong.

    • NTHEOC says:

      Your friend would have even better luck moving to Kentucky or West Virginia, maybe down south in the boon docks? Lots of people in need of some good dental work and the cost of living is way more reasonable than Texas. 450k in school loans? Has he been financing his education since the 1st grade or what? My friend is an ER doctor and he never accumulated that much, he once told me his loans were around 125k…

      • Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

        Lots of people in need of some good dental work and the cost of living is way more reasonable than Texas. 450k in school loans?Has he been financing his education since the 1st grade or what?
        I asked the same thing. Dental school is $80K per year. Plus living expenses. Plus he has a wife and two kids, which he claimed only added another $5K per year to the total so he said why not start the family now, as he said his Texas practice will cover the payments. He is starting his own practice in Texas, and is with some company that helps start up dentists out of dentals school, similar to a franchise, something like that.

    • Ted Steele, CEO says:

      He might see if he could pass his dental boards in Somalia? That might be nice?

      • Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

        Teddy Steals, you incompetent trougher, he said dental students take their state board exams before graduation, he has passed his, they are regional exams and he is qualified in a number of (regional) states. But the fact remains he cannot make more than $100K out of dental school in Krazy KA, while an entry level 20 1/2 year old cop with a HS diploma is getting twice that… I know you do not understand market wages, no trougher does as they live in Fantasyland, but the trough pay and pension scam is a Madoff Ponzi scheme and it is going to crash next recession.

  2. billyBS says:

    It would have been much more economic, to take out a $50k loan to bribe his/her way onto a fire department staff. By now, loan would be paid off, and there would be a new car and motorcycl in the garage of a new house. The new 60 inch TV would get as much as use on the four days not working per week, as the 96 inch one at the firehouse.
    The truth is stretched(jk), but think about it.

    • Ted Steele, CEO says:

      Mmmmmm—- Billbs sounds even more jealous than usual……..Billy— did you not get enough fire engine play when you were a little girl/boy?

    • NTHEOC says:

      We don’t have a 96inch screen at my station, but we do have a 55inch in the main day room, a 42inch in the main office, another 40 inch in the kitchen, and each dorm has a 32inch! All have time Warner cable and we paid for them ourselves billybs. I don’t watch much tv on my days off billybs. Oh, am I sticken it to ya billy boy? My bad……

  3. Queeg says:

    Teddy….Billybub has issues…….be kind…..he is working through things…..I think he was chased by the firehouse Dalmatian when he was a young impressionable pup…..

  4. S Moderation Douglas says:

    “Californians: Government is a ripoff”

    Another Seilerism.

    ” A Tax Policy Center report recently ranked California’s 2011 state and local tax burden as the 11th highest in the nation.”

    Not even in the top twenty percent.

    What about those goofball articles from last month?

    CA TAXES 150% HIGHER THAN WASHINGTON STATE’S — TO WHAT BENEFIT?

    and

    CA SUFFERS 2ND HIGHEST TAXES; 2X LIBERAL WASH STATE
    ……………
    No retractions? No apologies? Not even a little “oops”?

    Better verify your facts on this story, too.

  5. Queeg says:

    Whew…..go lite on the messenger…..or the fair and balanced may be scourged!

  6. Bill Gore says:

    I worked for the City of San Diego for 2 years as a contractor and retirement was THE number one topic in the workplace. Most of my coworkers were planning on retirement in either Washington state or Colorado. One coworker had even been recruited in his 40′s and had purchased 5 years of service to speed up the process. Generally the plan was to have your dream house finished by retirement, then stick round on the DROP program for another 2-5 years, just to maximize the payout, then sell your house in Cali for a final burst of retirement cash, so you would basically retire as a millionaire. Oh yeah-you could purchase up to 5 years of service for $15,000 per year. Christmas parties were interesting because people would give slideshows showing the progress on their retirement dream homes. One guy was building an amazing, not so little hobbit house on a cliff overlooking the Washington coast. A really stunning location.

  7. billyBS says:

    NTHEOC, Bragging about we only have have at least five televions? I know why it is called the idiot box.

  8. NTHEOC says:

    Oh I forgot one Billybs! We have another tv in the station gym. You’re entitled to your opinion Billy, but “it is what it is”. Sorry pal.

  9. Ed the Independent Contractor says:

    In a country with a shrinking work force and a shrinking middle class, it will be interesting to see who will be paying the exorbitant pensions and medical costs of public employees. It is great that all these plans are defined benefit plans, however even though the “taxpayers” are obligated to pay these costs, what will happen when there is insufficient tax revenue to meet all these obligations. Welcome to Detroit where such defined benefits are being shaved down to approximately 20% of the original empty promises. If your benefits are not being 100% funded annually, maybe you should ask your union heads why the politicians that they control are not fully funding your pensions and medical plans. There is not going to be some magic pot of money falling from the skies to keep their promises

    • NTHEOC says:

      Ahhh ED, my old man said they were telling him the same thing 25 years ago! After a 32 year career He has been happily retired from LACFD for the past 10 years!! None of the doomers were right back then, and none of the envious doomers are right today! Enjoy…

  10. billybs says:

    That is surprising, thought the Great Books signups for THE REPUBLIC at the station would negate the need TVs.

  11. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    This is an exceptionally boring thread!

  12. billybs says:

    Yes,Sybill.

  13. Ted O'Steele, CEO says:

    VERY boring indeed…..notwithstanding Billbs’s riveting contribution.

  14. Ulysses Uhaul says:

    Teddy,

    Why do we have to tolerate these El Collapso frauds?

    So disappointing!

  15. Ted O'Steele, CEO says:

    Good Point!

    What were we thinking when we ran El Collapso off like that???

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