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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  1. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 16 May, 2012, 12:01

    The taxing and layering debt parties are over libs.

    No more promotions, raises, overtime and ya pensions written on toilet paper.


    Reply this comment
    NTHEOC 16 May, 2012, 14:49

    We are not maxed out on taxes yet!! There are still to many who do not pay their fare share. And blah,blah,blah with your pension envy and bashing.Dude,where were you a few years back when cities were not paying into the pension funds and skipping payments for pension holidays? Where was the watchdog then? Hey,when are you going to let us know about how much welfare fraud and abuse is costing us taxpayers,or how much illegal immigration healthcare and benefits are costing us,or the toll the greed in the private sector real estate market cost us? How come the rich are getting richer right now? Hmmmmm.

    Reply this comment
  3. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 16 May, 2012, 15:00

    That’s right. In State government there is a finite amount of money in the basket. Whenever a dollar comes out to fund a government service one dollar should come in to replace it. However, over the last decade for 5 dollars have been taken out for every dollar going in. Sooner or later you run into a problem. The taxpayers are maxed out fighting for their own economic survival. All the pressure is on the municipal bond markets. They are what will blow. The bond backers aren’t stupid. They want appropriate returns for their risk. The risk is enormously high today. Look at Stockton. Look at Los Angeles. If you don’t compensate for the risk the money men will throw their cards down on the table and walk away.

    Deal with that.

    Reply this comment
  4. Rogue Elephant
    Rogue Elephant 16 May, 2012, 16:52

    Mavligio is a political whore.

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 16 May, 2012, 18:31

    This guy could bury us….he is a player!

    Be nice to him.

    Reply this comment
  6. Bob
    Bob 17 May, 2012, 00:07

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

    Hey, it’s time for secession.

    Reply this comment
  7. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 17 May, 2012, 08:21

    No nonproducer will ever vote for limiting producers from paying their fair share.

    Pack and ship!

    Reply this comment
  8. StevenMaviglio
    StevenMaviglio 18 May, 2012, 06:25

    Well, no, I won’t tweet that but instead will tweet this:

    Pensions are less than 3% of the state’s general fund;
    Pensions are the slowest growing part of the state budget, says the LAO;
    Increase in pension funding this year was about $100 million; compare that to the GOP corporate tax cut of $1 billion.
    Pensions generate billions in economic activity, not just in retirement communities but statewide;
    Your alternative to pensions, 401k, are more costly to administer and produce less returns;
    The GOP pension ballot initiative would have cost taxpayers billions for the first decade it was in place, says LAO

    As for Mr. Borenstein, he’s a professional pension basher and shows no signs of balance. In other words, in your pocket.

    Reply this comment
  9. PJ
    PJ 19 May, 2012, 08:13

    “Pensions generate billions in economic activity, not just in retirement communities but statewide.”

    Pensions do not generate economic activity; the taxpayer that you took the money from to pay the retiree would have used it for economic activity as well. As they saying goes, you are taking a bucket of water out of one end of the pool and dumping it in the other.

    Reply this comment

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