This is Zen? Jerry Brown won’t fight for sole real achievement

This is Zen? Jerry Brown won’t fight for sole real achievement

Jan. 28, 2013

By Chris Reed

jerry.brown.peopleThe Jerry Brown ego trip is still running strong, nearly three months after he sold much of California and nearly all of the media on the idea that raising sales taxes on everyone and income taxes on the rich would make the Golden State a much healthier place.

But what’s absolutely perverse is that the governor, even as he wallows in his undeserved acclaim, isn’t fighting for his one genuine achievement. I know many of my fellow CalWatchdog writers weren’t that impressed with Brown’s pension reform. But he didn’t have to fight for a reform that won’t start paying dividends for decades. He could have ducked it like Illinois state leaders are ducking their pension crisis.

And one provision of Brown’s reform doesn’t get nearly enough credit: the requirement in coming years that all public employees pay half of pension costs. When that kicks in, we will see local governments up and down the state suddenly finding unions eager to make pensions much smaller so workers can have much more take-home pay.

So what is the governor allowing to happen? According to Dan Borenstein of the Contra Costa Times, Jerry Brown’s administration isn’t even fighting back against employee unions in three counties that are trying to overturn part of his reform law so as to preserve policies allowing grotesque pension spiking:

“Employees in three counties — Contra Costa, Alameda and Merced — have sued to block implementation of the new law. If they prevail, they will continue counting unused vacation time as income when computing pensions.

“An appellate decision in their favor could invalidate the law statewide, leaving a new legal loophole that would allow workers in 17 other counties, including Marin and San Mateo in the Bay Area, to start boosting pensions, too.

“Pensions are calculated based on years of service, retirement age and final salary. By increasing final salary, employees can fatten retirement pay. ..

“Employees sued the retirement systems that administer pensions in the three counties. But the systems say they are indifferent and will abide by whatever the courts decide.

“The retirement systems don’t ultimately pay the bill. The cost is passed on to taxpayer-supported local governments. Yet the three counties’ boards of supervisors have sat on the sidelines, as has Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose job includes defending state laws, and Gov. Brown, who vowed to end this sort of abuse.

If this is more of Jerry Brown’s super-sophisticated political Zen that we’re all supposed to be in awe of, I don’t see how. It looks like the Brown administration taking the path of least resistance.

As for Kamala Harris, she has proven over and over again that she represents California public employees, not Californians in general. Her refusal to defend this particular state law is a pathetic confirmation of her loyalties. People forget that she killed pension reform much more sweeping than Brown’s a year ago. But even Jerry’s version is too much for the public employee unions’ partner in thuggery and theft.

4 comments

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  1. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 28 January, 2013, 10:05

    Political Zen? Balderdash. This is the usual chicanery and deceit we have come to expect from the ruling elites in this country. Take credit for some high profile and much needed “reform” legislation, do a few well publicized victory laps to universal hosannas from big media collaborators and then work quietly in the background to make sure it never happens.

    Business as usual in the one party corruptocracy that is Crazyfornia.

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  2. us citizen
    us citizen 28 January, 2013, 13:15

    The only thing politicians are interested in, is getting reelected.

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  3. Hondo
    Hondo 28 January, 2013, 16:53

    That pension bill was just thrown together to get prop 30 to pass and Jerry Clown will do nothing to defend it and neither will Harris. The wall of pension debt is closer to a trillion dollars state wide. Too many people are retiring with spiked pensions in the next couple years. And those huge tax increases won’t spur the economy enough to stop the high speed financial train wreck coming down the tracks.
    Enough gloom and doom. How bout those Niners!!!!!! They are the good guys this year as opposed to the double murder man Lewis(allegedly). Kali has won in hockey, baseball and now football. The warriors need to get their act together and make it a clean sweep.
    Hondo…..

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 28 January, 2013, 20:31

    And one provision of Brown’s reform doesn’t get nearly enough credit: the requirement in coming years that all public employees pay half of pension costs.
    ==This is actually not true, there is a CAP oin the “half” the employeewill be forced to pay of 14%. So if a FF or cop pensions is costing 60% of salary the MOST the employee will pay is 14%.

    Another major fail.

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