Economics

"Wackiness Aside, Unions Still Our Biggest Problem"

Steven Greenhut continues warning Californians:

California’s roads and other infrastructure are crumbling, even as we spend far more than other states per road mile. Our education system is among the worst in the nation, as unions clamp down on competitive alternatives. The unfunded liability problem imposes soaring costs on local governments, which leads to cutbacks in services. And the state budget grows in part because of this spending pressure.

Related: "California schools may face cuts amid skyrocketing pension costs".


"The Real Truth About Washington"

Robert Samuelson discusses an underappreciated fact about the federal budget: the majority of it is devoted to income transfers.

But his portrait is an absurdity. It bears little relationship to two overriding realities. First, the rewards of government go mostly to "the people" through massive transfer programs such as Social Security. Second, the costs have been borne mainly by the rich and upper middle class, who pay most taxes, and foreign and domestic lenders who cover chronic budget deficits.


"CA to legislature: Hey, we 'deeply regret' that $1.9 billion miss on entitlement spending"

Oops.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration miscalculated costs for the state Medi-Cal program by $1.9 billion last year, an oversight that contributed to Brown’s projection of a deficit in the upcoming budget, officials acknowledged this week.

The administration discovered accounting mistakes last fall, but it did not notify lawmakers until the administration included adjustments to make up for the errors in Brown’s budget proposal last week.


"Trump’s Presidency Is Already Making Republicans Love Big Government More"

This could be really unfortunate.

With Republicans in control of the legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than a decade, skepticism about the federal government among conservative leaders is melting away. Those who have for years defined themselves politically as the only ones resisting the growth of a powerful and coercive administrative state are now, it seems, okay with it. To quote Boromir, this ring is a gift. Why not use it?


"Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's"

You just know that that's got to be pretty bad.

Related: "It’s Happening".

Illinois is gradually bleeding out through ever deeper wounds inflicted by its own government. The most common question I get here is when it all blows up, but I doubt there will be any explosive event.

It’s not just happening, it’s worsening. The most recent news marks a death spiral in full swing. Population is shrinking, the tax base is eroding and the state’s revenue is declining, all while the underlying causes remain unaddressed and debt soars for the state and most of its municipalities.

And more: "Blue States Have Bigger Pension Debts Than Red States".

There's maybe some good news for California's pension problems: "Calif. Court’s Second Rejection of Pension Vested Rights May Help State Avoid Financial Disaster".

But there's also not-so-good news for some San Jose retirees: "California city overpays pensions for years, asks retirees for money back".

Also on California: "California's budget deficit is back, Gov. Jerry Brown says".

Less than four years after declaring California’s budget balanced for the foreseeable future, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday said the state is projected to run a $1.6-billion deficit by next summer . . .

Everybody sing along with Sonny and Cher: "The Beat Goes On".