City Journal Winter 2016

Current Issue:

Winter 2016
Table of Contents
Tablet Editions
Click to visit City Journal California

Readers’ Comments

Steven Greenhut
They Can’t Be Serious « Back to Story

View Comments (15)

Add New Comment:

To send your message, please enter the words you see in the distorted image below, in order and separated by a space, and click "Submit." If you cannot read the words below, please click here to receive a new challenge.

Comments will appear online. Please do not submit comments containing advertising or obscene language. Comments containing certain content, such as URLs, may not appear online until they have been reviewed by a moderator.

Showing 15 Comment(s) Subscribe by RSS
You really didn't think that Gov. Moonbeam and his Double Dealing
Democratic Cohorts would Stab their Union Bosses in the Back, Did Ya ???
Only one way out of this !!! Declare Martial Law and Nationalize the
National Guard and Arrest All the Democrats and Union Bosses on RICO
Conspiracy Charges !!!
I don't believe one word of the phony union "outrage" over this weak-kneed "reform." Just part of the Jerry Brown ploy to trick voters into Supporting Prop 30.
Why are California's tax revenues down? Could it possibly be because taxpayer's incomes fell due to the simultaneous crashes of the real-estate market and the stock market?

Here's the data using Franchise Tax Board data comparing 2007 (before the crash) and 2009 (after the crash).
QUESTION: If we already have among the highest taxes in the nation, is the solution to raise our taxes higher? Are California's taxes too low compared to the other 49 United States?
CHART: California State Income Tax Rates and Proposition 30 Increases Compared to the MAXIMUM Tax Rate in 49 Other States

CHART: California State Sales Tax Rate and Proposition 30 Increases Compared to the State Sales Tax Rate in 49 Other States

VOTE NO on PROPOSITION 30. Proposition 30 was specifically "electioneered" to circumvent the 2/3rd majority required to raise taxes in the Legislature. The Democrats could not convince enough Republicans to vote for higher taxes unless Democrats agreed to reduce government spending.
Brown and the rest of the democrats in cahoots with the labor unions sketched out this entire dance long ago, with Brown staking out a boisterous, yet modest, position, as legislative democrats rolled them back to a point where they only make enough “change” to allow them to say they took “action” while having their labor masters feign outrage, knowing nothing has really been done.

The public spokespeople for the unions, and their public relations flacks chimed in with feigned indignation and anger. The unions know that they have dodged a bullet with these relatively minor adjustments. Critical to the buy-in of the media is that they must be “outraged” by this action.

It’s been smoke and mirrors all along. Always has been and always will, as long as the union controlled legislature is in Sacramento. Same at the local level, too.
I vote for a rule preventing AL from posting anything more than 200 words !
AB340 is all smoke and mirrors. Even the 50% sharing of the Plan's "normal cost" is BS because that "cost" is intentionally and materially understated (by perhaps as much as 50%) by CalPERS use of WAY to high interest rates in the discounting of Plan Liabilities.

So 50% of 50% means the employees will wind up paying only 25% of the Plan's normal cost. And note the sneaky provision sneaked-in that limits the employee contribution to 8% of pay (12% for safety). They clearly did THAT so when the new underfunding develops, they can fall back on these caps and refuse to pay "more" ... that MORE being their INTENDED 50% share.

Union/Politicians collusion seems to have no bounds.

But we can FIX THAT, but forcing these employees to also ANNUALLY pay 50% of developing unfunded liabilities (certain to emerge due) telling our Legislators that we are fed-up with these BS "reforms" and DEMANDING that our legislators to eliminate that cap ... NOW.
Moncrief, the Constitutional prohibition against ex post facto law applies only to criminal law. But, even if the Constitution explicitly said that cost of living adjustments are an unbreakable promise of state governments, the only way to implement that in view of the inescapable limitations on the state's ability to tax would be to give the pensioners' COLA first claim on the taxpayers' taxes ahead of all other government purposes. What you need to do is convince the majority of voters that you deserve that COLA more than they deserve lower taxes, more than Medicaid beneficiaries deserve Medicaid, more than the motorists deserve road repair, more than all the other budget items which would have to get less money in order to give you more. But, how are you to convince them of that? The average citizen doesn't get an automatic cost of living adjustment on his wages, as you demand on your pension, nor does he believe that the services he gets from government are worth what the government charges for them.
For Kenny Komodo:

Beautiful! I wish I had said that.
It seems that the legislature is feeling for that point where California taxpayers make the choice. Continue to live in an idyllic state or leave because taxes ruin the idyll? One hopes they don't overshoot because it's a lot of work to change your mind and move back without ironclad
assurance that it won't happen again. That's when the slippery slope
becomes a stampede and California becomes the land of those awaiting



When I was young I held the belief that public service in the United States is honorable, that the United States of America was exceptional in the world, that governments in the United States, while flawed, deserved the respect of citizens.

Now that I am old, I see that I was naive... that governmental entities in the United States will intentionally deceive to achieve their goals, and that over two centuries our soldiers have died for a country that will countenance, and even celebrate, base behavior o...n
the part of its public sector instrumentalities. It saddens me, but if this state of affairs persists in the United States... Honor is dead.

Some background...

You may know that an entity of Colorado state government, Colorado PERA, is attempting to breach its public pension contracts with its retirees. Colorado PERA is attempting a retroactive taking, a “clawback” of accrued, fully-vested pension benefits that were earned by retired PERA members over decades.

Colorado PERA public pension benefits include a “base benefit” that is set at retirement and a “COLA benefit” that adjusts pensions annually to compensate for inflation. The “base benefit” and the “COLA benefit” are set forth in Colorado statutes with identical force of law and legal status.

In its attempt to breach retiree contracts Colorado PERA has created a contrivance. The contrivance that Colorado PERA is using is that somehow the “base benefit” is a contractual obligation, but the “COLA benefit” is not a contractual obligation, in spite of the fact that both pension benefits are set forth in law in an identical manner. What this boils down to is attempted, unabashed, theft by government.

Whether or not Colorado PERA’s attempt to take fully-vested public pension benefits from PERA retirees is ultimately successful in the courts, one fact has been incontrovertibly established... Colorado PERA, as an instrumentality of the State of Colorado, is an organization that will lie to achieve its policy goals.

This is a sad fact for the many employees of Colorado PERA, for the trustees that have served on the Colorado PERA Board of Trustees over 80 years, and for the thousands of PERA members and retirees.
And now, the proof of the deceit...

Colorado PERA has told us, in writing, that the PERA COLA benefit IS a contractual obligation of PERA... and then, after initiating their attempt to breach contracts, Colorado PERA has told us, in writing, that the PERA COLA benefit IS NOT a contractual obligation of PERA. Both of these statements cannot be true.

Colorado PERA in a written document, to the Colorado General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee on December 16, 2009 states that the PERA COLA benefit IS a contractual obligation of PERA:

“The General Assembly cannot decrease the COLA (absent actuarial necessity) because it is part of the contractual obligations that accrue under a pension plan protected under the Colorado Constitution Article II, Section 11 and the United States Constitution Article 1, Section 10 for vested contractual rights.”.



Colorado PERA on page 23 of its May 6, 2011 “Reply Brief” in the pension case Justus v. State states that the PERA COLA benefit IS NOT a contractual obligation of PERA:

“Plaintiffs seek to create a contract right that has never existed—an unchangeable COLA for life triggered (inconsistently) by either the date of their retirement or ‘full vesting.’”.



That is simply unbelievable.

In one document PERA writes "the contract right has never existed." In the other they write that the COLA benefit is a contractual obligation protected under the Colorado and US constitutions.

When PERA writes that they need "actuarial necessity" to take the COLA benefit, they are not denying that it is a contractual obligation, in fact, it is an admission of the contractual nature of the COLA benefit.

For further information regarding Colorado PERA’s attempt to take fully-vested pension benefits from retirees visit or Friend Save Pera Cola on Facebook.

What specific changes do you believe should have been made but were not?
What specific changes do you believe should have been made but were not?
This is just amazing. The state is taxing the hell out of wealthy people as it is, and we're going to raise taxes on them further. No one seems to be noticing that as we do this, we have fewer wealthy people, or that individually they have less money. Instead, we parse the numbers to show that they're all still wealthy and there's more boodle for us to loot.

Then the individuals who are wealthy, and who somehow vote for this idiocy, go to extreme lengths to avoid paying the taxes. After all, they didn't vote for their own taxes to go up, they voted for the *really* rich guy, the one with not one yacht but 2, the one with the bigger house or fancier car or whatever. "*He's* rich, I'm merely middle class..."

Meanwhile, we slide further down the tubes, while the Democrats do their best imitation of the orchestra playing soothing tunes on the deck of the Titanic...
Perhaps we can find a way to detach the entire state of california from the rest of the country and sell it to the Chinese. The Californians would enjoy the socialism, the Chinese would enjoy the wine (or Whiners take your pick) and the rest of the country would enjoy the relative peace and quite we would get.