They just don’t get it…

May 16, 2012

By John Seiler

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality,” said T.S. Eliot. Nowdays, of course, American university professors brand him a “sexist” because he didn’t say “peoplekind.” “Human” implies “man,” which excludes “woman,” and so is sexist.

But he sure was right about California politics. Consider the new blog by Brian Calle, our editor-in-chief. He writes about Steve Maviglio, the omnipresent Democratic activist, objecting to one of the state’s major pension reform reporters, Daniel Borenstein. I’ve relied on Borenstein’s excellent work for years.

Calle quotes Borenstein:

“Spotting my scheduled appearance on an upcoming conservative think-tank panel to discuss public-employee pensions, union spokesman Steve Maviglio went into Twitter attack mode last week.”

“@stevenmaviglio branded me a ‘pension basher’ and called my ethics into question. His sad attempt to divert the debate badly mischaracterizes my position and further undermines serious discussion of a complex issue.”

And that’s what we need: a serious discussion — including from Maviglio.

Here are two news reports today:

S&P douses Democratic idea to forego budget reserve


Fitch on new California budget problems: Don’t panic

It shows who’s really in control in California. It’s not Maviglio. It’s not Gov. Jerry Brown. It’s not the Democratic Party. It’s not the risible Republican Party. It’s not Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

It sure ain’t the voters of California.

It’s the bond houses.

It’s like what happens if you max out your credit cards. You’re frozen. You have to pay off that debt before you can do anything else. And it’s hard to pay off.

Can you work harder to earn more money? Maybe. But what if you’re already working 16 hours in a day, seven days a week? Then you can’t work more. That’s why California can’t raise taxes: Because we’re already maxed out on what we are able pay.

And the state treasury still spends too much. And state and local governments owe $1 trillion, according to Dan Walters.

For many people and companies, the solution is simple: Leave the state.

But California can’t leave itself. So it’s stuck.

Soon, not just future pensions will be cut, but existing pensions. Brown’s proposed budget includes $4 billion to pay pensions of current retirees. That’s almost half the $8.5 billion he’s calling for in tax increases. That $4 billion is just going to grow. Cities, also, are facing massively increasing pension payments, which is why some of them are headed to bankruptcy.

Because there’s no money. And no chance of ever getting more.

Does the state constitution guarantee the payments? The bond houses don’t care about the constitution. They want their money. And they’re running the show.

Tweet that, Steve Maviglio!



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