Pension criticism=racism. Aaauugghh! Aaauugghh! Aaauugghh!

Pension criticism=racism. Aaauugghh! Aaauugghh! Aaauugghh!

Samuel Johnson’s 1775 observation that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” has particular resonance nowadays, with civil libertarians who question our government’s massive spying on 300 million-plus Americans being derided as tools of U.S. enemies.

scoundrels_tjc[1]But when it comes to public employee benefits and the damage they wreak on local governments, scoundrels have another refuge: blaming racism for concerns about lavish, unaffordable benefits and broken governments.

We are seeing one version of this in some pontificating about Detroit’s bankruptcy. Now it could be coming to Sacramento, courtesy of Democratic consigliere Steve Maviglio.

Government workers ‘disproportionately black’

Tuesday on Twitter, Steve linked to a Bloomberg column that tried as hard as it could to reframe the pension debate in racial terms.

 “Public-sector workers are disproportionately black. In 2011, about 19 percent of black workers were employed by the government, compared with 14 percent of whites and 10 percent of Hispanics.  …

“The share of blacks in the public sector coincides with worrisome economic figures for blacks overall. Just 52 percent of blacks 16 or older were employed in 2011, compared with 59 percent for whites and Hispanics. Median net wealth for black households was $4,900 in 2010 — about 5 percent that of white households. …

“The upshot is pretty clear: Reducing the value of public pensions and other benefits wouldn’t just hurt blacks disproportionately; it would do so at a time when other economic trends have already hurt them more than most. So the question isn’t whether race is part of the debate over public pensions, but how to address it.”

Groan. The racial makeup of the public sector work force should not be a factor in deciding whether public employees’ retirement benefits are unaffordable and must be scaled back. Math and public policy priorities should be what drives the debate.

SpeakerKarenBass_comp01But in Sacramento, which didn’t even blink in 2009 when an Assembly speaker likened opponents of tax hikes to terrorists in an interview with the state’s largest newspaper, we can expect cries of racism to be a new blunt-force tool of Maviglio and Maviglian lovers of the pension status quo.

Great. Just great.


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  1. Ted Steele, Prosecutor
    Ted Steele, Prosecutor 14 August, 2013, 07:24

    I doubt that pension reform is racially based per se, but, the right does exhibit racism in general in sooooo many other ways that it is difficult at times to see motives very clearly. I mean, just look at the immigration bill nightmare. Conservatives killing the senate bill as they commit brand suicide…….well……..again.

    Reply this comment
  2. loufca
    loufca 14 August, 2013, 08:11

    Right Ted, nothing like the hypocrisy on the left. Nice of you to try to re frame the argument and make all conservatives out to be bigots. You should get out more and talk to people. You might find that your opinion isn’t correct. By the way, who donates more to charity, conservatives or liberals? You probably already know the answer.

    You do know what it is called when you deride one type of individual or group don’t you? Bigotry. Take a look in the mirror.

    It is only your opinion and that’s worth about as much as a tablespoon, make that a teaspoon full of salt.

    Reply this comment
    • WeinerSpitzer
      WeinerSpitzer 15 August, 2013, 11:45

      BOOYAH! Got ted all tied in a knot with that, nice work! The left perpetuates racism in many of their policies, but it is overlooked by the mainstream media, since it fits their agenda. But when conservatives want something as simple and logical as voter ID for example, BOOM, “racism” is yelled from the rooftops.

      Reply this comment
  3. oldRNwithaUnit
    oldRNwithaUnit 14 August, 2013, 09:12

    Nursing is an overwhelmingly female occupation. Obamacare is devastating hospitals with draconian cuts in reimbursement. Hospitals across the country are hurting and many smaller hospitals are in danger of closing due to bankruptcy.

    Obamacare is harming hospitals, hospitals are overwhelmingly staffed by females; hence- Obamacare is sexist. Hey, that was easy.

    Reply this comment
    • Bill -San Jose
      Bill -San Jose 20 August, 2013, 04:37

      I wake up and read statements like this and it reminds me that there is still common sense and common ground in this state after all. Cheers to you for your well thought out support of this article. 🙂

      Reply this comment
  4. us citizen
    us citizen 14 August, 2013, 09:32

    Yeah right Teddy. Its quite alright for illegals to come to this country and jump in line in front of those who have waited and pay the fees. Its quite alright for them to have crossed the border or overstayed a visa, deliberately breaking our laws. So they break the laws and get citizenship and you call this racist? Its about the LAW, Teddy. Perhaps you need to buy a clue.

    As far as them going down the tubes………only in your mind, my dear, only in your mind.

    Please answer a question for me. Why do you think it is OK, to break the law and get rewarded for doing so? Come on, now, answer please.

    Reply this comment
  5. El Kabong
    El Kabong 14 August, 2013, 11:29

    Although I do appreciate your title nod to Sam Kinison, the fact remains that a large number of public employees at all levels of government are racial minorities, many of them AA and Hispanic. Your attempts to undermine their contacted benefits and economic security pose a direct threat to members of those communities, as well as others who have performed many years of difficult and often dangerous public work on your behalf.

    The old racial dog whistles just aren’t working as well for the conservative and libertarian movements these days, at least in part because people have begun to recognize the often racist foundation principles upon which those modern political movements are truly based. All you have to do is read some of Ron Paul’s old newsletters and just about anything from the days when Fred Koch (Big Daddy for today’s Koch Brothers) was founding the John Birch Society with help from people like R.C. Hoiles, the founder of Chris Reed’s old newspaper home.

    Reply this comment
    • admin
      admin 14 August, 2013, 14:29

      El Kabong: You definitely are wrong about R.C. Hoiles. I worked at the Register for 19 years on the editorial page and read a lot about him. He was not a Bircher. And he definitely was an anti-racist. He was one of only two newspaper publishers in the country (the other was Hodding Carter) who objected to FDR and Earl Warren putting the loyal Japanese-Americans into concentration camps during WWII. And after the war, Hoiles worked to get the Japanese-Americans back the property the government had stolen from them.

      Read this:

      — John Seiler

      Reply this comment
  6. Donkey
    Donkey 14 August, 2013, 11:41

    Teddy Steals… I agree that there are extremist on both sides, conservatives have the super religious bible thumpers, the liberals have; the Government including the IRS, & racist Holder/Obama, the useless agenda pushing media, acorn (We all remember their BS), millions of welfare [recipients]… with nothing else to do while others are at work paying for them, and I could just go on and on with group after group. What is sickening is that some people actually feel like they did their political party proud by calling others that disagree with them racist, think about that, these people actually walk around in society with the rest of us, we should ALL be sickened that the door is opened now for this to happen again, but is happens all the time from the left. My Parents and Grandparents taught me that REAL leaders lead by example and followers will follow them to extremes, unless their leaders condemn their vulgar actions publicly…

    Reply this comment
  7. VRJones
    VRJones 14 August, 2013, 12:42

    Ted…. How can you possibly say that unsustainable levels of government programs (to which include CalPers pensions) is race related? The U.S. and Ca. governments spend more than they take in. Period. CalPers has admitted that our current (that’s right I am a state employee) pension program is unsubstainable. When (and not if) it all comes crashing down, it will effect EVERY state employee. Race won’t matter when the well runs dry.

    Reply this comment
  8. El Kabong
    El Kabong 14 August, 2013, 16:33


    You can find out some very interesting history about R.C. Hoiles, the Liberty Lobby, John Schmitz, and the John Birch Society with a quick Google search. The JBS frequently commended the work Hoiles was doing with the old Santa Ana Register to fight those evil communists.

    Reply this comment
    • admin
      admin 14 August, 2013, 17:10

      El Kabong: The JBS agreed with Hoiles on some things because both were anti-communist. But Hoiles wasn’t a Bircher, and did not help found them. Truman, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, et al. also were anti-communist, but they weren’t Birchers, either.

      With communism dead 21 years, it doesn’t much matter today what the anti-communist situation was in 1964. A progressive income tax was one of Marx’s 10 planks in the “Communist Manifesto.” Russia’s top income tax rate today is 11%, compared to 52% in Calif.

      — John Seiler

      Reply this comment
  9. El Kabong
    El Kabong 14 August, 2013, 18:17


    Have you ever heard of the Freedom Foundation?

    Reply this comment
    • admin
      admin 15 August, 2013, 12:32

      Do you mean the Future of Freedom Foundation?

      I have heard of that.

      — John Seiler

      Reply this comment
  10. El Kabong
    El Kabong 14 August, 2013, 18:21

    From Time magazine in August of 1948:

    “”R.C.” is against unions (the Hoiles papers are all open shop), majority rule (“The majority can’t give my consent to anything”), progressive, income taxes (“nothing but socialism”), public education (“a house of prostitution is voluntary, grade school is not”) and aid to Europe (“Let ’em go to [heck]”). He considers both Herbert Hoover and Earl Warren too leftwing. Two things Publisher Hoiles is in favor of: child labor for the average child (“Give him a pick & shovel and let him get started”) and the black market. One touch of liberalism in the Hoiles record: during the war, he campaigned to give U.S. Japanese a fair break.”

    Sounds like a great role model, eh?

    Reply this comment
  11. Ted Steele, Prosecutor
    Ted Steele, Prosecutor 14 August, 2013, 20:50

    Loufca– re read my post. I didn’t say ALL conservatives are racist.

    Reply this comment
  12. Ted Steele, Prosecutor
    Ted Steele, Prosecutor 14 August, 2013, 20:53

    VR Jones— Re read my post– I DID NOT say that the pension reform thing is race related— yokes! I was specific on this. My comments were directed at the conservative high priests….

    Reply this comment
  13. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 14 August, 2013, 23:38

    Ted Steele, Prosecutor says:
    August 14, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I doubt that pension reform is racially based per se, but, the right does exhibit racism in general in sooooo many other ways that it is difficult at times to see motives very clearly
    Can we ban Teddy for being dumber than a bag of rocks???

    Reply this comment

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