How California Unions Hijacked the Golden State

How California Unions Hijacked the Golden State

Liz Peeks at the Fiscal Times looks at the political and economic damage big labor has done to the once Golden State: President Obama raked in a hefty $15 million from Hollywood’s elite at George Clooney’s home last week. The $40,000 per plate star-studded crowd cheered the president’s just-in-time conversion to same-sex marriage; are they equally enthused about Mr. Obama’s economic prescriptions? Californians should know better. Their state, best known for red carpets, is awash in red ink, just like the federal government. Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state’s budget deficit will approach $16 billion this year, up from $9.2 billion projected just a few months ago. Years of misguided financial policies have led to this: stifling taxes and savage cuts to public services – including Medicaid, childcare and welfare programs. Even movie stars occasionally venture out. What do they find? A state with 12 percent of the country’s population and one third of its welfare recipients. A state with the nation’s lowest bond ratings, the second-highest marginal income tax rate and the third highest unemployment rate. Most important – a state that CEOs rank the worst in the country for doing business. Dead last! For the eighth year in a row. The upshot? Businesses are leaving California. Spectrum Location Solutions reports that254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year and five times as many as in 2009. According to the Labor Department, California’s private employment actually shrank 1.4 percent over the past decade, while Texas added 1.15 million jobs.

Calfornia Reaping What Jerry Brown Planted in the 1970s

Calfornia Reaping What Jerry Brown Planted in the 1970s

It's not often that a politician has to deal with a problem he created nearly twenty-five years ago. Most politicians sacrifice the short-term political benefit and leave the political headache to future generations of taxpayers and politicians. That's why it is ironic that while Jerry Brown wrestles with a spending and debt crisis in California he is forced to deal with a problem of his own making. In 1976, during Brown's first term as governor, he approved collective bargaining rights for government workers. Since that decision, the government workers unions power and influence have grown California's government spending through the roof as they bargained against the taxpayers for greater salary and benefits that many of their private sector counterparts. One thing you can say about Jerry Brown is that politics runs through his veins. Since 1976, Brown has been defeated for re-election, run for the presidency, elected mayor of a large city and won the governorship again forcing him to deal with a $16 billion deficits and a powerful opposition for reform from government union bosses -- union bosses empowered by his 1976 decision. Brown's solution to this problem shows that while he may have extraordinary staying power he has underwhelming temerity. While he talks about taking on the special interests and making drastic cuts to the state's budget, he is offering large tax increases and minor reforms to the power of the unions. Should the state defeat his tax increase initiative this November, he will be forced to take on the monster of his own making. Don't count on Jerry Brown asking that California become a Right to Work state but it would be a sign that he was serious in addressing the problem of his own making. Chriss Street at Breitbart looks at this problem in greater detail:

WP's Lane: Progressives Should Oppose Big Labor's Walker Recall

WP's Lane: Progressives Should Oppose Big Labor's Walker Recall

From the "progressive" Washington Post's Charles Lane, an exposure of public sector unionism and its unequaled influence on elected officials and the cost of government: Of course, collective bargaining in the public sector is inherently contrary to majority rule. It transfers basic public-policy decisions — namely, the pay and working conditions that taxpayers will offer those who work for them — out of the public square and behind closed doors. Progressive Wisconsin has a robust “open meetings” law covering a wide range of government gatherings except — you guessed it — collective bargaining with municipal or state employees. So much for transparency. Even worse, to the extent that unions bankroll the campaigns of the officials with whom they will be negotiating — and they often do — they sit on both sides of the table. More from Lane: The furious drive to oust Walker is the sequel to last year’s dramatic battle over his plan to limit collective bargaining by public-sector unions. Walker won that fight, despite tumultuous pro-union demonstrations in and around the state capitol and a boycott of votes on the bill by the Democratic minority in the legislature.