Monday, April 27, 2009



1. San Diego Tax Fighters’ position on upcoming 19 May CA state props

2. Rider radio shows online for listening

3. Rider Rant now also a blog – hopefully

4. Our latest recession is really a “mancession”

5. Night of the Living Death Tax

6. California’s bogus think tanks – and media bias

7. Fiscal Child Abuse

8. Modern technology finally reaches CalTrans

9. NRA is giving free memberships

10. Obama’s huge new debt on the unborn and our children is staggering

11. Liberal columnist’s pathetic attempt to justify Prop 1A

12. Tax-free Internet shopping may be at an end

13. Government warnings about “Rightwing extremists” is bogus – and frightening

14. President Obama as Dr. Evil: He wants to cut federal spending by $100 mill-yun dollars

15. 1970 Earth Day predictions are must reading – total bunk

1. San Diego Tax Fighters’ position on upcoming 19 May CA state props

RIDER COMMENT: At San Diego Tax Fighters, we've taken a divergent position from most taxpayer groups on a couple props, but frankly it doesn't matter on these two (1D and 1E). Actually, we don’t really much care about these two revenue shifting props. The money is being misused now, and will be misused if it is shifted. The outcome is not important either way.

What IS important are props are 1A through 1C, and mostly 1A. Indeed, 1B fails to take effect if 1A is defeated.

Here's our memory aid for how to vote:

There are six props on the ballot. Here’s our position, with our enthusiasm for our position noted by the number of exclamation marks.

1A NO!!!!!!

2A NO!!!!!!

3A NO!!!!



6A YES!!!!

Hmmm. Taken together in sequence, that will be easy to remember. Add your own fantasy to make it work for you.

If you are a California voter, doubtless you have your ballot booklet by now. If you vote by mail, you should have your physical ballot to fill out and mail back (the only way to vote, IMNSHO).

If you lack the book and you’d like to read online the official info on the six California state props on the May ballot – including the summary, LAO analysis and arguments, you can do so now online:

2. Rider radio shows online for listening

RIDER COMMENT: As some of you know, I sat in for Rick Amato on his KCBQ radio last week. It was two hours of spellbinding insights. Well, not really. But I had good guests, and, more important, it’s online for listening.

Now let me be clear – I am NOT recommending you listen. Each “tape” is an hour long (though you can skip the commercials). But if you are so inclined, I’m presenting the show links as an option in your life. Good for multi-taskers, mainly.

Rider with Gary Gonsalves and Vince Vasquez:

Rider with Tom Aaron (from Carl DeMaio’s office):

BTW, I also did a half hour TV show on KUSI with host Paul Bloom on San Diego city budget problems. My other panelists were Mike Aguirre and April Boling. It aired 4/26 on “San Diego People.” Unfortunately it does not seem to be put up on their website. Just as well, I suspect. You’ve heard it all before.

3. Rider Rant now also a blog – hopefully

RIDER COMMENT: I’m rushing to join the 21st century, providing my rants as a blog as well as a “push” e-newsletter. It’s still in the experimental stage, but so far, so good -- mostly. Here’s the temporary link:

For most, the e-newsletter will work better, as I’m having problems posting graphics up on the blog site. I’ll have to use URL links for that, if available.

Time permitting, I’ll start posting up past rants, and perhaps other stuff. It may not all be pretty, but hopefully it is searchable. As I said, I’m still experimenting. I may later switch my blog provider.

4. Our latest recession is really a “mancession”

RIDER COMMENT: This recession is bad, but for men, it’s REALLY bad. According to US NEWS & WORLD REPORTS (May, 2009), “Men account for nearly 80% of the jobs lost since February 2008.”

There are higher job losses in manufacturing and construction, where far more men than women are employed. This recession is the opposite of what has been seen in past recessions, where women have often lost more jobs than men.

Men too often rely on muscle rather than brains to make a living. As a result, most college students today are women. According to a USA TODAY 2005 article, 57% of college students are female.

Clearly, most professional positions in the future will be “manned” by women. More and more, guys are becoming stud muffins and trophy husbands, but not breadwinners.

Oddly enough, there are still affirmative action policies favoring women at many universities. Others have started affirmative action for male applicants. At least employment in affirmative action programs is still one area where the economic downturn has had zero effect.

Not that these programs produce anything but unfair discrimination, mind you. But hey, employment is good, regardless of productivity! Right?

5. Night of the Living Death Tax

RIDER COMMENT: Contrary to what the Obama administration is claiming (no new taxes for the next couple of years), they plan to dramatically boost the death tax a.k.a. “estate tax.” Not really a surprise, but they are trying to deny it.

Most of you needn’t worry. With the recession, your personal wealth is now low enough to avoid such taxes. However, it will hurt job formation (as the article details), further bumping up unemployment in coming years. Fortunately we can all work for the government.

  • Need a Real Sponsor here

Night of the Living Death Tax

Obama's budget quietly resurrects it in 2010.

Lawrence Summers, President Obama's chief economic adviser, declared recently that "Let's be very clear: There are no, no tax increases this year. There are no, no tax increases next year." Oh yes, yes, there are. The President's budget calls for the largest increase in the death tax in U.S. history in 2010.

The announcement of this tax increase is buried in footnote 1 on page 127 of the President's budget. That note reads: "The estate tax is maintained at its 2009 parameters." This means the death tax won't fall to zero next year as scheduled under current law, but estates will be taxed instead at up to 45%, with an exemption level of $3.5 million (or $7 million for a couple). Better not plan on dying next year after all.

This controversy dates back to George W. Bush's first tax cut in 2001 that phased down the estate tax from 55% to 45% this year and then to zero next year. Although that 10-year tax law was to expire in 2011, meaning that the death tax rate would go all the way back to 55%, the political expectation was that once the estate tax was gone for even one year, it would never return.

And that is no doubt why the Obama Administration wants to make sure it never hits zero. It doesn't seem to matter that the vast majority of the money in an estate was already taxed when the money was earned. Liberals counter that the estate tax is "fair" because it is only paid by the richest 2% of American families. This ignores that much of the long-term saving and small business investment in America is motivated by the ability to pass on wealth to the next generation.

The importance of intergenerational wealth transfers was first measured in a National Bureau of Economic Research study in 1980. That study looked at wealth and savings over the first three-quarters of the 20th century and found that "intergenerational transfers account for the vast majority of aggregate U.S. capital formation." The co-author of that study was . . . Lawrence Summers.

Many economists had previously believed in "the life-cycle theory" of savings, which postulates that workers are motivated to save with a goal of spending it down to zero in retirement. Mr. Summers and coauthor Laurence Kotlikoff showed that patterns of savings don't validate that model; they found that between 41% and 66% of capital stock was transferred either by bequests at death or through trusts and lifetime gifts. A major motivation for saving and building businesses is to pass assets on so children and grandchildren have a better life.

What all this means is that the higher the estate tax, the lower the incentive to reinvest in family businesses. Former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin recently used the Summers study as a springboard to compare the economic cost of a 45% estate tax versus a zero rate. He finds that the long-term impact of eliminating the death tax would be to increase small business capital investment by $1.6 trillion. This additional investment would create 1.5 million new jobs.

In other words, by raising the estate tax in the name of fairness, Mr. Obama won't merely bring back from the dead one of the most despised of all federal taxes, and not merely splinter many family-owned enterprises. He will also forfeit half the jobs he hopes to gain from his $787 billion stimulus bill. Maybe that's why the news of this unwise tax increase was hidden in a footnote.

6. California’s bogus think tanks – and media bias

RIDER COMMENT (sent earlier to some insiders): I guess I retain a special place in my heart for SD U-T reporter/columnist Dean Calbreath. His poorly reasoned and badly referenced liberal “business” commentaries seem to set me off – I guess because he’s perhaps the most prominent local big government columnist (with apologies to all the OTHER local big government columnists).

His recent commentary got me going again. I’ve posted several rebuttal comments to his column online (at the same link), but much is a rehash of stuff I’ve distributed previously. However, here’s some fresh material:

To refute claims “by some business leaders” that California’s high tax and heavy regulatory policies are really not a problem, Calbreath in this column turns to Steven Levy, the head of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy (CCSCE). Google this outfit, and you'll find it's a firmly left-of-center "think tank" that consistently favors ever higher taxes and fees. Levy and presumably CCSCE are at least partially funded by the San Francisco Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, two liberal funding sources.

Of course, Calbreath – true to form – never mentions the liberal bias of CCSCE. We are supposed to conclude that this is an objective source of information.

It's not. Not even close.

Here’s more evidence of CCSCE’s bias.

Levy et al put together the clever but totally bogus online California Budget Challenge, in conjunction with "Next 10," a far left outfit. Take the challenge propaganda test:
Now go a few pages in to vote your preference on the six May statewide props. Look at the pop up window summarizing Prop 1A. This supposedly objective summary does NOT mention the $16 BILLION tax increase tied to Prop 1A! That's standard Democratic Party strategy -- blatant deceit through omission of facts. Clearly Next 10 and CCSCE are owned by the Dems, and have zero credibility.

If you punch through the rest of the California Budget Challenge, you'll find the state budget survey choices are
A. Cut services.
B. Change nothing.

There is no option to reduce runaway government employee compensation, nor to privatize government services. All innovative solutions are off the table in an effort to force people to conclude that the only option is to raise taxes.

CCSCE puts out detailed "analysis" of the state economy that totally ignores the adverse effects of our high taxes and crushing regulatory climate. Indeed, CCSCE is pushing for repeal of Prop 13, and the 2/3 voter approval requirement for passing new taxes.

Levy is up front about his preference for higher tax solutions. See his August 2008 article "A Tax Increase Will Help the California Economy." .
Go back and look at previous CCSCE materials, and you'll find that they are ALWAYS pushing for more taxes and fees.

Levy and Calbreath confuse the health of the California state and local GOVERNMENTS with the health of the California state ECONOMY. Obviously they are not the same indeed, the case can be made that bigger (healthier by Levy's benchmark) these governments are, the less healthy is the economy.

My bottom line question is: Why do the U-T business page editors allow Calbreath (and reporters) to quote such biased liberal sources without insisting on full disclosure of the source's bias? Let me assure you that, if Heritage, or Cato, or Reason, or any other low tax, limited government source were quoted, the bias of that source would be included – as it rightfully should be.

U-T editors, let's have a little parity here.



S. California can be center of universe – if stars align

2:00 a.m. April 5, 2009


7. Fiscal Child Abuse

8. Modern technology finally reaches CalTrans

Looks like CalTrans is going to lay off another 9000 workers.

Turns out the Japanese have invented a shovel that stands up by itself. (rimshot)

9. NRA is giving free memberships

RIDER COMMENT: The NRA is giving FREE 1-yr memberships to everyone that wants to join. Please join and pass it around, they are trying to build up their membership to fight pending legislation that impacts our right to bear arms. The outfit is far from perfect, but it is the most effective national gun rights organization we have.

http://www.nrahq. org/nrabonus/ accept-membershi p.asp

10. Obama’s huge new debt on the unborn and our children is staggering

RIDER COMMENT: Everyone is vaguely uneasy about the massive deficits Obama will be running – all in the name of “stimulus.” Well, personally, I DO find it stimulating – like a root canal is stimulating.

The amount of debt being imposed on us all is a crushing burden. Sadly, it’s the perfect debt to impose, because the people who will ultimately carry the load are too young to vote, or not even born yet. Even the young adults who so ardently voted for charismatic Obama don’t yet grasp what is happening, or who will pay for it.

But let’s get to specifics. This from an independent, indeed liberal paper quoting a staid, objective source.

Washington Post:

In the first independent analysis, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that President Obama's budget would rack up massive deficits even after the economy recovers, forcing the nation to borrow nearly $9.3 trillion over the next decade.

11. Liberal columnist’s pathetic attempt to justify Prop 1A

RIDER COMMENT: A few weeks back I met with the editorial board of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE to represent (along with Assemblyman Chuck DeVore) the opposition against Prop 1A. Five Prop 1A representatives were present. Fortunately reason prevailed, and the U-T has since published an excellent editorial castigating Prop 1A in a formal opposition statement.

It’s really something to listen to Prop 1A proponents dance and sing, trying without success to avoid the fundamental dishonesty of the unreported and undebated built-in $16 billion tax increase. U-T opinion writer Chris Reed was there, and writes about that meeting in his blog below, plus dissecting an amazing column by liberal LA TIMES apologist George Skelton.

George Skelton's biggest whopper yet: 'Nothing sneaky' about Prop. 1A

So the ballot language and TV ads for Proposition 1A carefully omit the fact that it extends huge tax hikes for two years. So the advocates for 1A who met with the Union-Tribune editorial board, including Joel Fox, admitted they were troubled by the deceptiveness of the 1A campaign. So on their calbuzz blog, veteran state government watchers Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine -- no flame-throwing John and Ken acolytes -- are mocking CTA ads for 1A as being grossly misleading. And what does LAT columnist George Skelton, voice of the Sacramento political-media establishment, do? Write a simply bizarre column asserting that up is down, left is right, right is wrong. Here is his headline:

"There's nothing sneaky about Proposition 1A"

In it, he quotes Assembly GOP leader Mike Villines as saying the following:

"We're not trying to trick anybody ... . This never has been an attempt to be sneaky."

Yo, George, yo, Mike -- if 1A is all so pure, why isn't the ballot language much more straightforward (and accurate)? Then why do 1A proponents almost always gloss over the two-year extension of tax hikes that 1A includes?

What's particularly dishonest about Skelton's column is that he knows full well that the only reason Karen Bass and Darrell Steinberg went along with creating a rainy-day fund that diverts revenue is that 1A is not a hard spending cap at all. It doesn't preclude raising taxes. And Bass has said over and over again -- ON THE RECORD -- that she wants to expand what products and services are taxed in California. I predict with 100 percent confidence that Bass will hijack the pending report from Gerry Parsky's tax reform commission on the day it is released as part of an effort to sharply raise state revenue, i.e., taxes.

Skelton has to know this. So why won't he write a column that explains the real narrative of what's going on behind the scenes? Here's why: He is the voice of the California media-political establishment, and this establishment knows the public would recoil if it understood what the establishment was up to.

I'll give Roberts and Trounstine the final word by noting that what they say about the CTA's ad applies to Skelton and the Sacramento establishment in general:

Just wonderin' how stupid the California Teachers Association thinks we are, given their new "Yes on Propositions 1A and 1B" TV ad and the matching mailer that arrived on Wednesday.

Here's the essence of their argument:

"Prop 1A will control state spending and create long-term reserve funds to protect against more cuts to our schools, our children's health care programs and funding for police and fire.

"Prop 1B will begin paying back some of the devastating cuts to our public schools and community colleges -- when the economy improves."

Yo! CTA! What about the $16 billion in tax increases that 1A extends in order to keep the budget afloat? Not important enough to mention? Are we too dense to possibly understand why this might actually be a good idea? Or are you just too weasley to actually try to make the policy case for taxes ?

"Repay and Protect Our Schools" is a swell slogan -- but it lies by omission. And when voters figure it out, which they will, given that thousands of people are screaming about the tax hikes at rallies around the state, fuggedaboutit.

How stupid do you think we all are, George Skelton?

Extremely stupid, evidently.

12. Tax-free Internet shopping may be at an end

RIDER COMMENT: One bad aspect of the current downturn is that politicians are desperate to collect “their” revenue from the hapless population. It looks like a major push is on at the federal level to require out-of-state vendors to collect sales tax from buyers. Fortunately y’all can afford it – and politicians assure us it’s a FAR better option than actually reining in runaway government spending.

13. Government warnings about “Rightwing extremists” is bogus – and frightening

RIDER COMMENT: First there was the right wing terrorist profiling report from Missouri law enforcement, and now the Department of Homeland Security puts out pretty much the same blathering nonsense. Laughable, until you think about where this mindset can lead totalitarian authorities – to MY doorstep, among other places. See the story below.

A side comment in the article deserves special note – the part about how TV and movies love right wing conspiracies and terrorists – ignoring real terrorist threats from other sources, and ignoring that such organized right wing (often evil business bosses) terrorist threats seldom happen.

I love “24,” the series on intrepid torturer Jack Bauer beating back one terrorist threat after another. I use the tension to ride my stationary bike to nowhere.

In the series – which has run for 6-7 years, all the terrorist are right wingers, or Muslims funded by shadowy right wing manipulators. Seldom if ever does a movie or TV terrorist thriller present as villains the REAL terrorists of the world – left wing groups and Islamic faithful.

Such pounding by Hollywood takes its toll on the audience’s understanding of what to fear. This drumbeat IS intentional, rest assured.

Here’s an excellent article, followed by a cartoon that sums it up nicely.

April 20, 2009

'Rightwing Extremists' Are Concerned About 'Restrictions
on Firearms Ownership and Use'

by Vin Suprynowicz,

Back in March, an unnamed Missouri police officer leaked to the press a report issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) - part of the law enforcement "fusion" effort now being organized by the
Department of Homeland Security around the country - titled "The Modern Militia Movement" and dated Feb. 20, 2009.

The MIAC report specifically described supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as "militia" influenced terrorists and instructed the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.

Just a fluke, all taken out of context, apologists explained at the time - when the document received any coverage, at all.

But now comes a new, April 7 assessment from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," obtained by Reuters and other news media on April 14.

Actually, what the document finds is just the opposite of what its overblown title suggests: "The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are
currently planning acts of violence," the report admits at the outset.

Nonetheless, such characters need to be watched, the boys in Washington now advise.

After all, "Rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment," the report continues.

Got that? Although your government can't find any actual EVIDENCE that any "rightwing extremists" are planning any violent or criminal acts, government agents are now advised to keep a close eye on them. Just in case.

The report warns that military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat skills could be recruitment targets, especially those having trouble finding jobs or fitting back into civilian society.

Also worth keeping an eye on, the report warns, are "those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority."

Good heavens! Does anyone still harbor such a dangerous notion, in 21st century America? Why, if folks like Tom Jefferson and James Madison were here today, they'd be arrested, apparently.

"These assessments are done all the time, this is nothing unusual," DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban insists.

Some domestic commentary has been right on target. Constitutional attorney John Whitehead, for instance writes a cogent piece asking "Are we all enemies of the state?"

But since it offers the advantage of some geographic perspective, I particularly enjoyed the analysis of James Delingpole.

"Such is the latest wheeze dreamed up by the Obama administration to distract us from the fact that roughly half America now realises the man's New Deal II project is a slow-motion car crash from which in four agonized years time the US will be lucky to escape even half-way recognisable," Mr. Delingpole commented on Wednesday.

"Today - Tax Day - many of these ordinary, decent, Obama-fearing folk have gathered at Tea Party events in 500 locations across the US to protest against rising taxes and the ever increasing role of Big Government in their lives.

"How has the Obama machine responded? Well, funnily enough, in a manner which would surely meet the approval of its Socialist counterparts on this side of the pond: by smearing the opposition."

The Homeland Security directive is designed "to help police spot the tell-tale signs indicating potentially dangerous right wing extremism," Mr. Delingpole points out. "They include: Being unimpressed by America's
first 'African-American' president; Objecting to tax hikes; Disliking big government; Talking concernedly about the state of the economy and job loss, especially in the manufacturing and construction sectors," (and) Opposition to abortion, gay marriage and gun control.

"No really, I'm not making this up. Here's a representative paragraph:

"Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. .

"Sound familiar?," Mr. Delingpole asks. "Well it should do to anyone who has watched a TV thriller in the last two decades. Have you noticed how the bad guys in these series hardly ever to belong to any of the
terrorist organisations which pose a genuine threat (animal rights; Islamists; etc) but almost invariably to some sinister extreme right terror group we've never heard of before?

"Leftie screenwriters, bien-pensant ecclesiastical bloggers, ghastly lefties generally, just love the idea that the greatest danger to the world comes from the extreme right. And it just doesn't. Right-wing extremism is a mythical left-liberal bogeyman, nothing more," Mr. Delingpole concludes.

"Burgeoning Liberal Fascism, on the other hand: now there's something we should worry about very much indeed."

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal and author of The Black Arrow.

© 2009 Vin Suprynowicz

This cartoon sums it up nicely. If you can’t see it, it’s at this web page (the cartoon about profiling).

14. President Obama as Dr. Evil: He wants to cut federal spending by $100 mill-yun dollars

RIDER COMMENT: You'll want to read this Chris Reed blog on Obama's spending cut initiative and play the short classic video. Trust me.

We're running a deficit of $6.4 billion a day this month -- $192 billion divided by 30 -- and the Obama administration seeks headlines by announcing an initiative to cut the grand total of $100 million out of the immense federal budget:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama convened his first formal Cabinet meeting, and the White House said he would challenge department and agency chiefs to look for ways to cut $100 million out of the federal budget.

Back from his fence-mending trip to Latin America and the Caribbean, Obama planned to remind the panel that American families are having to make tough financial decisions and need to know the government is spending their money wisely, too, a senior administration official said. The official discussed Topic A for the session on grounds of anonymity because it was to be behind closed doors.

This is beyond Onionesque. No wonder the official announced this anonymously. To be on the record would be to guarantee a lifetime of ridicule.

UPDATE: A friend asked me to put this in context of family income. Reducing a $2.3 trillion annual deficit by $100 million is akin to reducing a $23,000 credit card debt by $1.

That's right.

One dollar.


Or maybe this depiction from the Heritage Foundation will help:

15. 1970 Earth Day predictions are must reading – total bunk

RIDER COMMENT: Dire predictions of earth’s ecological demise are found almost daily in the paper – mostly from people who make their living making dire predictions.

Scary stuff. But reliable predictions? Based on past performance, not likely. At the very least, they are highly suspect, with much evidence countering their doomsday assertions.

That’s what makes a reread of the 1070 headlined predictions worth reviewing. The first Earth Day got the ball rolling, but was based on flawed science and bogus projections. Downright funny stuff, if it weren’t still taken so seriously by the media and the public.

NOTE: If you would like to receive my free periodic “Richard Rider Rant” e-newsletter with more of this type of information and analysis, just drop me an email at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
-- Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

1. “California vs. Other States” comparison to be regular Rider Rant feature [since updated]

2. U.S. keeps high corporate tax rates – our competitors don’t

3. Let the feds “invest” your social security contributions?

4. Bang-bang stimulus policy in D.C.

5. CA unemployment growth rate 73% higher than national average

6. Scripps Ranch firemen often are like Maytag repairmen

7. Unfortunately, you are the star in this cartoon

8. San Diego Tax Fighters’ position on upcoming CA state props

9. Prop 1A – the something for nothing gambit

10. Conservative British MEP gives “what for” to liberal Prime Minister

11. The new medical savings plan – trips to Mexico

12. Have prop speech, will travel

13. Why should teachers be a protected class?

14. To understand the Prop 1A scam, revisit Props 57-58

15. Anyone can afford a home – in Detroit

16. Rising sea levels? Not on this planet

17. CA budget con job dissembled by Ray Haynes

18. Consensus on global warming? Oh really?

1. “California vs. Other States” comparison to be regular Rant feature

RIDER COMMENT: In my previous rant, I “published” a comparison of CA vs. the other states on several economic indicators. I’ve decided to make this a dynamic document that I will continuously expand, update and republish in my rant.

Here’s the latest expanded version. Before you read this, consider first ingesting your preferred drug of choice. And, as we say in these chain letters – send this to everyone you know!

California vs. the Other States (a work in progress)

by Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters

Phone: 858-530-3027

Here’s a startling comparison of California taxes and economic climate with the rest of the states.

I suspect this comparison is an advance screening of an ad we’ll be seeing in our surviving CA papers, courtesy of the business development departments of neighboring states.

These ads will also include California’s high utility costs, our inability to secure a reliable supply of water, and massive new “Green” energy regulatory costs. Only an insane CEO would bring a business to CA, and many already here (except for retail businesses dependent on local customers) must be looking outside the CA border for future expansion, or even to move.

And here’s the kicker: These ratings below are the facts BEFORE the new CA taxes take effect!!! Our car tax is almost DOUBLING, we are adding another full 1% sales tax on 1 April and our income tax surcharge (and loss of the child tax credit) will gouge us as well. Furthermore, there are scores of tax hike and new spending bills now in the state legislature – including local option income taxes, and sales taxes on services.

California has the highest State income tax in the Nation. 9.3% at $45,000. 10.3% at $1,000.000

Highest State sales tax in the Nation. 7.25% (not counting local taxes)

Highest State car tax in the Nation. 0.65% per year on value of vehicle.

Corporate income tax rate is the highest in the West. 8.84%

2009 Business Tax Climate Ranks 48th in the Nation.

Fourth highest capital gains tax 9.3%

Third highest gas and diesel tax in the Nation (at $2.00 a gallon). At $3.00 a gallon, we are numero uno.

Fourth highest unemployment rate in the Nation. (January, 2009)

California’s 2008 “Tax Freedom Day” (the day you stop working for government and start working for yourself) is the fourth worst date in the nation – up from 28th worst in 1994.

1 in 5 in LA County receiving public aid.,0,4377048.story

California Prison Guards highest paid in the Nation.

California Teachers highest paid in the Nation. and

By a unanimous bond rating agency vote, California now has the lowest bond ratings of any state, edging out Louisiana.

America’s top CEO’s rank California “the worst place in which to do business” for the fourth straight year (3/2009). But here’s the interesting part – they think California is a great state to live in (primarily for the great climate) – they just won’t bring their businesses here because of the oppressive tax and regulatory climate.

Consider this quote from the survey (a conclusion reflected in the rankings of the characteristics of the state): California has huge advantages with its size, quality of work force, particularly in high tech, as well as the quality of life and climate advantages of the state. However, it is an absolute regulatory and tax disaster.”

With 12.1% of the nation’s population [36,756,666 divided by 303,824,640], in February, 2009 California was responsible for 20.9% of the newly unemployed. To state it differently, in February California’s growth in the newly unemployed was 72.7% above the national average.

California residential electricity costs an average of 28.7% more than the national average. For industrial use, CA electricity is 48.6% higher than the national average (11/08).

Consider California’s net domestic migration (migration between states). From April, 2000 through June, 2008 (8 years, 2 months) California has lost a NET 1.4 million people. The departures slowed this past year only because people couldn’t sell their homes.

These are not welfare kings and queens departing. They are the young, the productive, the ambitious, the wealthy (such as Tiger Woods), and retirees seeking to make their pensions provide more bang for the buck. The irony is that a disproportionate number of these seniors are retired state and local government employees fleeing the state that provides them with their opulent pensions – in order to avoid the high taxes that these same employees pushed so hard through their unions.

As taxes rise and jobs disappear, we lose our tax base, continuing California’s state and local fiscal death spiral. This must stop this spiral NOW.

2. U.S. keeps high corporate tax rates – our competitors don’t

RIDER COMMENT: Of course, our nation’s tax problems are not limited to California. Consider our country’s oppressive corporate tax rate.

The U.S. business levy is especially heavy because we tax corporations on both the federal and state level – most other countries have only a single tax.

Aside from driving up the cost of domestic corporate goods, this also makes our businesses less competitive compared to other countries. And the difference is steadily getting worse – not so much because we are raising our corporate taxes, but rather because the rest of the industrial nations are cutting theirs. Currently U.S. corporate tax rates are almost 50% higher than the same tax in other OCED countries (above 50% in high tax California).

"Entrepreneurs are among America's greatest resources. These individuals try to change the status quo because they expect to use resources to create higher value than those resources are currently pro­ducing. This takes investments, and investments are risky. The return to these investments is the economic growth that they create, which is profit. Yet the gov­ernment often taxes these profits twice, once at the business level and then again when the profits are distributed to individuals.

This double taxation not only dampens the incen­tive to invest, but also obscures who actually bears the burden of these taxes. Corporations are often per­sonified and demonized, but a corporation is a legal entity, not an actual person. Because a corporation is made up of a group of individuals but is not actually an individual, corporate taxes are really taxes on the stakeholders in the corporation. In a U.S. Treasury report, William Gentry points out that empirical studies show that employees and consumers really bear the cost of corporate and investment taxes.

Simulation results show that repealing the corpo­rate income tax alone, which would cost approxi­mately $300 billion in annual tax revenue, would produce by 2012:

  • 2 million more jobs than the baseline scenario;
  • $280 billion more in real GDP);
  • $4,000 more in real disposable income for a fam­ily of four;
  • $707 billion more in household net wealth—the base of economic strength and stability.

Repealing the corporate income tax would accomplish President Barack Obama's stated goals of increasing investment and ushering in an era of responsibility and economic growth, all at a lower cost than the recently passed stimulus bill.

Repealing the corporate income tax is a relatively low-cost way to implement the President's stated goals. At a time when U.S. employees are seeing jobs leave the country, a tax plan that increases the competitiveness of the U.S. business environment and encourages saving and investment by individu­als would allow entrepreneurs to implement their ideas for dealing with the challenges of the 21st cen­tury. It would also encourage job-creating busi­nesses to locate in the U.S. It is important that this country's leaders signal that the United States is still the land of opportunity."

~Heritage Foundation, "
Time for a Real Change: Repeal the Corporate Income Tax"

NCPA via Carpe Diem

3. Let the feds “invest” your social security contributions?

RIDER COMMENT: Opponents of privatizing and earmarking our social security contributions like to bring up “Wall St. greed” – intoning that undeserving financial institutions would love to have such funds directed their way. I guess this is supposedly different from our greedy Congress and Presidents who for generations have used social security funds to pay the OPERATING costs of the federal government, giving back to the fund I.O.U.’s in exchange.

One big difference between the current SS “plan” and privatizing the system is that the greedy gnomes of Wall St. would still have to win our business. As it now stands, the thugs in D.C. take our money using force twice – once to extract the money from us, and then again by extracting the money from the social security system for their political purposes (and reelection).

You BET private capital would like to get hold of our social security funds. But there are no funds to get hold of. Not from past contributions, at least.

All that money has been paid out, or loaned to Congress to pay for operating expenses. At this point, our SS "fund" is a shoebox full of I.O.U.'s from the beleaguered taxpayers of America. No one knows how in the world we will pay off these loans. Estimates of the combined unfunded liability of SS and Medicare now exceed an absolutely unimaginable FORTY TO ONE HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLARS – depending on who you want to believe.

40 T:,+Social+Security+and+Medicare+Are+Real+Ponzi+Schemes-a01611779449

100 T:

I see three possibilities for these unfunded liabilities:

A. Massive tax increases on a scale heretofore unimaginable except during world wars. I don’t think that option will fly, but the voting public has disappointed me numerous times.

B. The Weimar Republic gambit: Print money until it is damn near worthless, then use that paper to "pay off" the debt and SS recipients. The problem with that is that Congress gives cost of living increases (NOT required) to recipients, so that likely would be a cycle that would solve nothing.

C. When it comes to the SS obligation, simply don't pay it out. Renege on the “social contract.” That means punitive taxes on SS distributions, later retirement ages (both already happening in incremental steps) and ultimately mean-tested SS payments.

If you save and invest, have a pension or IRA, inherit from family, etc. – you lose most or all of your SS benefits.

I'd rather put my SS "contributions" with the private sector – warts and all. At least my account would be earmarked – and that's a GOOD earmark.

4. Bang Bang Stimulus Policy in D.C.

RIDER COMMENT: A good take on the AIG bad bailout policy, followed by more bad policy.

Bang Bang Policy

Posted: 19 Mar 2009 10:09 PM PDT

by Roger Koppl

In the mathematics of “optimal control theory” you can sometimes get a system to slam violently between two extremes. You alternate between stepping on the gas as hard as you can and slamming the brakes on full. Mathematicians call such violent swings a “bang bang solution.”

With today’s bill to tax the AIG bonuses at 90%, Congress is making bang bang policy. Bang! Take this money. Bang! Give it back.

When even the government’s fiscal policy is subject to such discretionary change, we’re in trouble. When the government uses its discretion to influence the market, it acts as a “Big Player.”

Bang bang policy is an extreme example of such discretion. Congress has become a Big Player jacked up on methamphetamine.

The trouble with Big Players is that you never know where they’re headed. Instead of paying attention to supply and demand in your corner of the market economy, you have to pay attention to the psychological twists and turns of the Big Player. After all, today’s supply and demand conditions don’t mean much when the Big Player can override them on a whim.

But the twists and turns of Big Player psychology are inherently impossible to predict. Thus entrepreneurs are less able to plan and more eager to curry favor with the Big Player. Economic efficiency, relative scarcity, and product innovation grow increasingly irrelevant to business success.

Bang bang policy is no way to “stimulate” a weak economy. It’s a pretty good way to increase the arbitrary power of the state, however.

5. CA unemployment growth rate 73% higher than national average

RIDER COMMENT: In the competition with other states, California is continuing as top contender in the race to the bottom – seemingly in every category except weather.

With 12.1% of the nation’s population [36,756,666 divided by 303,824,640], this February California was responsible for 20.9% of the newly unemployed. To state it differently, in February California’s growth in new UNemployment was 72.7% above the national average.

Fortunately the massive state tax increases that take effect 1 April will provide the economic stimulus so desperately needed by our state – well, needed by our state government workers so their pay and pensions remain undisturbed by the economic meltdown.

Raising CA taxes sure will help our unemployment problem, right? Right?

6. Scripps Ranch firemen often are like Maytag repairmen

RIDER COMMENT: From time to time I review the monthly responses at my local San Diego fire station (published in our Scripps Ranch association periodical). This latest sample is no exception to what I’ve seen in previous months.

In the recent two month period, our firefighters responded to a total of 140 calls – about 2.3 calls per 24 hour period. I suspect they made more runs to Starbucks than to “customers.” Here’s the breakdown.

A. 82 medical responses – this is the primary role of firefighters today.

B. 14 fires – including one vehicle fire. That’s fewer than 2 per week.

C. 12 traffic accidents that were not vehicle fires.

D. 10 “investigate hazard” calls – none of which was much of a hazard.

E. 3 “special services” – all vehicle lock ins.

F. 14 false alarms

Okay, let’s be fair. The average number of responses citywide for San Diego fire stations is over 6 times per 24 hour period – the Scripps Ranch firehouse is a sleepy station.

But here’s the kicker: My previous city council critter (Brian Maienschein) was loved by the locals – he “worked hard” (funny how often politicians use that phrase to describe their efforts) to get us a SECOND Scripps Ranch fire station. Indeed, earlier this decade he thought it was a done deal. Clearly, only funding limitations precluded this idiotic redundancy.

7. Unfortunately, you are the star in this cartoon

8. San Diego Tax Fighters’ position on upcoming CA state props

RIDER COMMENT: There are six props on the ballot. Here’s our position, with our enthusiasm for our position noted by the number of exclamation marks.

1A NO!!!!!!

2A NO!!!!!!

3A NO!!!!



6A YES!!!!

Hmmm. Taken together in sequence, that will be easy to remember. Add your own fantasy to make it work for you.

If you’d like to look over the official info on the six California state props on the May ballot – including the summary, LAO analysis and arguments, you can do so now online:

9. Prop 1A scam – the something for nothing gambit

Prop 1A is being touted as a compromise – tax increases in exchange for a spending cap. Well, at least you DO get the tax increases!

Let’s ignore for the moment the astonishing effort by the Democrat legislature to hide the $16 billion tax increase – leaving any mention of that out of the “Title and Summary” which is supposed to be an objective presentation of the measure. And let’s ignore the fact that the Democrats picked their OWN Democrat groups to write the opposition ballot argument so that the tax increase is NOT MENTIONED ONCE in the arguments and rebuttals.

Wait, I take that back. Such egregious dishonesty is more than enough justification to vote against this measure.

Nevertheless, even some Republicans are favoring Prop 1A because they think there’s some spending cap. And here’s where we got to the something (higher taxes) for nothing (a fake spending cap).

Prop 1A has HUGE loopholes. The biggest one is that if taxes are increased, the cap goes up as well. That’s no spending cap at all.

Here’s what I wrote to a Republican supporting Prop 1A.

I disagree. The Prop 1A limits are not limits. It does nothing to rein in tax increases.

You claim that tax increases are not much of a threat. Oh really?

It's true that, looking back, taxes have not risen THAT often. But look to the future.

California is more blue state than ever. Progressives rule. The GOP has lost strength in the legislature, and courage (and common sense) in the governor's office.

Furthermore, when we pass the redistricting and "top two" props, you'll see more Democrats elected, along with more wuss Republicans. Increasing taxes and "fees" will be easier than any time in California's history.

It takes only three seats to change from Republican to Dem in each house to give Democrats their cherished 2/3 majorities – which will give them total control over both taxes and spending. Not that they need that level of control, as the Republican "moderate" pink elephants are going to be easy to cull out of the GOP herd.

One other variation on this pathetic viewpoint revolves around the idea that ANY spending limitation is better than no spending limitation, no matter how big the accompanying tax increases. I would argue it’s better to have NO spending limit than a fake spending limit. With this measure in place, all efforts at controlling spending and establishing a “hard” spending limit will die. The pitch will be “well, let’s wait a few years to see how this works.” Bad, bad, idea.

Bottom line: If Prop 1A passes, we're screwed. And Prop 1A raises our taxes while offering false hope.


Bill Leonard is a former GOP state legislator, and currently is an elected member of the California Board of Equalization. Here's a quote from his "Leonard Letter" on Prop 1A:

***Prop. 1A: LAO Update***

The more I scrutinize the mega Budget deal coming before voters on May 19, the worse it looks. When I first heard about it I hoped the spending cap component would take us back to the original Gann limit and I was assured by some that it would.

The language on the cap is so vague I asked the Legislative Analyst’s Office to calculate what the spending cap in 1A would be for 2009-’10, assuming the cap is in place now. The Analyst’s rough calculation is the cap for the next Budget would be around $108 billion on revenues of only $97 billion.

It is clear the formula generates a cap far above what we are likely to have, so it will not control spending for many years absent a huge and unexpected spike in revenue. Proposition 1A is a massive tax increase that pretends to control spending.

It only does the former.

10. Conservative British MEP gives “what for” to liberal Prime Minister

RIDER COMMENT: This mesmerizing 3.5 minute speech by a Conservative British MEP demonstrates a rhetorical skill we desperately need in this country, yet sadly lack. It’s a masterful speech and spot-on in content. I'm in awe.

We Colonials need to import this guy to Congress. He'd be so far superior to our current lot of losers, he’d would constitute a welcome embarrassment.

Essentially everything he says in his speech applies to Obama, Schwarzenegger and the other dolts running our country into the ground.

England’s Prime Minister Brown being given what for.

11. The new medical savings plan – trips to Mexico

RIDER COMMENT: In the San Diego area, visits to Tijuana, Mexico for dental work are become more common every year. Savings run from 70% to 85% over U.S. dentists. To a lesser extent, people are looking south of the border for other medical treatment.

TJ is an awful place, with kidnappings, crooked cops and occasional drug war shootouts. But the savings are so great that many people weigh risk vs. return (savings), and still chose to go.

The chance of actually getting kidnapped or shot are rather small. But it’s sad that our tort-plagued medical system has become so expensive that people are choosing to take their chances in TJ for the substantial savings.

I think a somewhat more interesting approach would be to combine a vacation into one of the safer resorts in Mexico (or elsewhere), and combine that visit with dental work. Or plastic surgery. Or both!

After we institute national health care, this foreign medical vacation option will probably grow by leaps and bounds. Oh joy!

12. Have Prop Speech, Will Travel

RIDER COMMENT: I’m the San Diego area designated hitter opposing Prop 1A (and B and C), according to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Recently I did the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. We lost that debate, but more on that later.

The important thing to note is that, if you are aware of any talks, discussions, forums, etc. concerning these props, let’s get me in the event. All too often the well financed Big Government advocates are calling groups and getting to make presentations about these state props, without any opposing point of view. Whenever possible, we need to rectify that imbalance.

13. Why should teachers be a protected class?

RIDER COMMENT: Are education unions about good education, or good job security? Silly question.,0,4955376.story

Los Angeles Times
March 26, 2009

Why should teachers be a protected class?

Their unions are whipping up hysteria about possible layoffs, but
they don't seem to care about getting rid of bad educators.

By Larry Sand

Earlier this month, United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy purposely disrupted a school board meeting to dramatize his plea to save teachers' jobs. Only a few days later, teachers, parents and students participated in more than 100 events across the state aimed at protesting teacher layoffs. Now it's time to step back from all this hysteria over possible layoffs and take a realistic look at where things stand.

First, a little background: By March 15, school districts in California were required to send out reduction-in-force notices (RIFs) to any employee whose job might be in jeopardy come fall. The unions are referring to these notices as "pink slips." Now, everyone knows that a pink slip means "You're fired." But it is very clear that these RIFs are nothing more than an alert to a possible layoff -- sort of the difference between a bullet to the head and a warning shot. Still, the California Teachers Assn. went so far as to have a day dedicated to alerting the general populace about the RIFs, calling Friday, March 13 "Pink Slip Friday" -- once again leading all concerned to believe that all teachers receiving RIFs would be shown the door.

The simple truth is that no one knows what will happen because there are just too many wild cards in the deck. As Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines pointed out in an e-mail sent to all teachers, the ultimate fate of the state budget will not be known until budget initiatives are voted on during the May 19 election. Also, there is still no hard information on when federal stimulus money will rain down on L.A. Then there is an early-retirement incentive package that could induce many highly paid veteran teachers to retire, thus allowing newer, lower-paid teachers to keep their jobs.

In all honesty, it is certainly possible that some teachers will have to be let go. Although no one would diminish the seriousness of a job loss, we must be realistic. Our state is in dire financial straits -- why should teachers be a protected class? This is especially true in light of the following inconvenient fact: In 2003-04, the LAUSD had 747,009 students in its system, and those students were taught by 36,180 teachers. By 2007-08, the student population had shrunk 7%, to 693,680, but the teaching force had decreased only about 1%, to 35,785. In 2003-04, the student/teacher ratio was 20.64 students per teacher. In 2007-08, it was 19.38 students per teacher. If we went back to the 20.64 ratio of 2003-04, we would need only 33,597 teachers -- 2,000 fewer teachers than we have now. (Unions hate the thought of fewer teachers -- it means
less money in the form of dues for them).

A very troubling aspect of the layoff scenario is that if teachers are let go, it will be done by seniority. This means that an ineffective teacher on the job for three years gets to keep his or her job over a wonderful teacher who has been on the job for two years. This would be damaging to kids and devastating to the laid-off teachers, many of whom would seek out new professions. But the unions don't seem to care about teacher quality as much as longevity.

This archaic system is exacerbated by the tenure or "permanence" scheme insisted on by the unions. Under this set-up, once a teacher has been in a school for two years, he is essentially given a job for life. Getting rid of bad teachers is almost impossible. If we could dismiss poor teachers instead of being forced to keep them, the system would improve greatly. The next time a union official starts talking about "the children," please ask why the union insists on this system, which clearly does not benefit children.

In Los Angeles, we have some of the highest-paid teachers in the U.S. -- most of whom have a world-class health plan in a state whose economy is falling apart, where the unemployment rate tops 10% and whose citizens are already among the most taxed in the country -- whining about the possibility that a few jobs may be lost.

It is unfair to paint all teachers with the union brush. But it would behoove those who dissent from the UTLA and CTA party line to let their union know how they feel, and perhaps seek alternatives.

Larry Sand, a Los Angeles teacher for more than 27 years, is the
president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.

14. To understand the Prop 1A con job, revisit Props 57-58

At the request of then-state legislator Tom McClintock, in 2004 I wrote the ballot argument against Prop 58, the California "Balanced Budget Act." That last word in the title should have tipped off the voters, but didn't.

Prop 58 was indeed an act – a magic act. Complete with disappearing promises and illusionary savings.

BACKGROUND: The governor wanted $15 billion worth of bonds issued to pay California’s state OPERATING expenses -- largely inflated salaries and pensions. This was Prop 57.

The pitch was, “give us the money (and pay interest on it for 30 years), and we’ll solve California’s budget problems through reforms.” The problem for Schwarzenegger was that this use of muni bonds was prohibited by the CA Constitution – such bond proceeds were limited to infrastructure spending.

Hence Prop 58 was needed to overturn this longstanding taxpayer protection. To make this palatable, the governor supposedly arranged a trade-off – the $15 billion in exchange for new, solid budget reforms included in Prop 58.

In our opposition arguments to Prop 58, we made clear that there were loopholes galore in the measure – that this would NOT solve our budget woes. Opponents castigated us for our concerns, and assured all that this was the real deal.

It’s worth going back to read the actual Prop 58 ballot arguments – and to see who signed them. To see all four arguments, go to:

The most interesting of the four arguments is the rebuttal by Prop 58 proponents to our opposition argument. Here it is:

REBUTTAL to Argument against Proposition 58

Don't be fooled by the opponents. The California Taxpayers Association supports the California Balanced Budget Act.

Proposition 58 WILL REQUIRE A BALANCED BUDGET for the first time. State government spending in California is out of control. Over the past three years, state spending has significantly exceeded state revenues.

Under Proposition 58, the Governor and the California State Legislature must ENACT a BALANCED BUDGET. It will CLOSE A LOOPHOLE that was used to create the huge deficit.

Governor Schwarzenegger's California Economic Recovery Plan includes both Propositions 57 and 58. Combined, the two measures will allow California to refinance its debt and prevent such a situation from EVER HAPPENING AGAIN. We should not be allowed to SPEND MORE MONEY THAN WE HAVE.

Proposition 58 requires the Legislature to enact a balanced budget and if circumstances change after they pass the budget, the Governor is required to call them into special session to make mid-year changes to the budget, so that we end the year with A BALANCED BUDGET. And Proposition 58 prohibits the Legislature from acting on any new legislation until the budget is balanced again.

Proposition 58 does not change the Gann Spending Limit. It is still the law, the BALANCED BUDGET ACT provides a new tool in the fight against overspending.

Proposition 58 prohibits borrowing for future deficits. Proposition 58 requires building a reserve of at least $8 billion. Please support the California Recovery Plan and vote YES ON PROPOSITIONS 57 and 58.

RIDER COMMENT: It’s really stunning to read just how ignorant, misinformed and perhaps dishonest these proponents were. At the very least, their credibility is ruined.

Now, note who signed this rebuttal. These are ostensibly all Republicans, I believe. And note particularly the third signer.

State of California

BILL HAUCK, Chairman
California Constitution Revision Commission

California Chamber of Commerce

The California Chamber of Commerce has been wrong far more than it’s been right on taxes and bonds. Contrary to what people would expect, they FAVOR most bonds and tax increases – as long as big business is not heavily hammered by such taxes.

The CA Chamber of Commerce is a Big Government proponent, intent on currying favor with politicians for special interest legislation and government construction contracts. Based on this dishonest/inaccurate/condescending ballot argument, this outfit is not to be trusted in such fiscal matters.

Which brings me to Loren Kaye. This fellow runs the Chamber’s “think tank.” Mr. Kaye is currently working full-time, attacking any opponents of Prop 1A while glossing over the huge tax increases in the prop.

The parallels between Prop 57-58 and Prop 1A are obvious – almost eerie. Both are empty promises at the cost of many billions.

The bottom line: The CA C of C and Kaye have come out for Prop 1A and the massive tax increases. Given the Chamber’s abysmal decision to actively support Prop 57-58, it seems to me that in such matters of government finance, their advice should tell the voters how NOT to vote.

15. Anyone Can Afford a Home – in Detroit

RIDER COMMENT: Even in this depressed economy, a San Diego area home can be swapped for at least 20 average homes in Detroit. You can buy your own subdivision!

And 100 years from now, if Al Gore is right, global warming will make that area a paradise, while our San Diego homes will be under water. Plan ahead!

Average Home Price in Detroit Falls to $13,638

According to the Michigan Association of Realtors (data here), the average sales price of a Detroit home fell to $13,638 in January, a 42.6% decline from the $23,755 average home price in January 2008, and a 25% decline from last year's average price of $18,128. Unit sales increased in Detroit by +37% in January 2009 to 1,007 homes, compared to 736 home sold last January.

At the state level, the average home sales price fell by 37% in January to $84,832, compared to last January's average price of $134,721.


Based on sales, the median price of San Diego homes is about $290,000, down from about $605K at the peak.

16. Rising sea levels? Not on this planet

Last Updated: 6:31PM GMT 28 Mar 2009

Rise of sea levels is 'the greatest lie ever told'
The uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner is that all this talk about the sea
rising is nothing but a colossal scare story, writes Christopher Booker.

If one thing more than any other is used to justify proposals that the world
must spend tens of trillions of dollars on combating global warming, it is
the belief that we face a disastrous rise in sea levels. The Antarctic and
Greenland ice caps will melt, we are told, warming oceans will expand, and
the result will be catastrophe.

Although the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) only
predicts a sea level rise of 59cm (17 inches) by 2100, Al Gore in his
Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth went much further, talking of 20
feet, and showing computer graphics of cities such as Shanghai and San
Francisco half under water. We all know the graphic showing central London
in similar plight. As for tiny island nations such as the Maldives and
Tuvalu, as Prince Charles likes to tell us and the Archbishop of Canterbury
was again parroting last week, they are due to vanish.

But if there is one scientist who knows more about sea levels than anyone
else in the world it is the Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel
Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level
Change. And the uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner, who for 35 years has
been using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the
globe, is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal
scare story.

Despite fluctuations down as well as up, "the sea is not rising," he says.
"It hasn't risen in 50 years." If there is any rise this century it will
"not be more than 10cm (four inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus
10cm". And quite apart from examining the hard evidence, he says, the
elementary laws of physics (latent heat needed to melt ice) tell us that the
apocalypse conjured up by Al Gore and Co could not possibly come about.

The reason why Dr Mörner, formerly a Stockholm professor, is so certain that
these claims about sea level rise are 100 per cent wrong is that they are
all based on computer model predictions, whereas his findings are based on
"going into the field to observe what is actually happening in the real

When running the International Commission on Sea Level Change, he launched a
special project on the Maldives, whose leaders have for 20 years been
calling for vast sums of international aid to stave off disaster. Six times
he and his expert team visited the islands, to confirm that the sea has not
risen for half a century. Before announcing his findings, he offered to show
the inhabitants a film explaining why they had nothing to worry about. The
government refused to let it be shown.

Similarly in Tuvalu, where local leaders have been calling for the
inhabitants to be evacuated for 20 years, the sea has if anything dropped in
recent decades. The only evidence the scaremongers can cite is based on the
fact that extracting groundwater for pineapple growing has allowed seawater
to seep in to replace it. Meanwhile, Venice has been sinking rather than the
Adriatic rising, says Dr Mörner.

One of his most shocking discoveries was why the IPCC has been able to show
sea levels rising by 2.3mm a year. Until 2003, even its own satellite-based
evidence showed no upward trend. But suddenly the graph tilted upwards
because the IPCC's favoured experts had drawn on the finding of a single
tide-gauge in Hong Kong harbour showing a 2.3mm rise. The entire global
sea-level projection was then adjusted upwards by a "corrective factor" of
2.3mm, because, as the IPCC scientists admitted, they "needed to show a

When I spoke to Dr Mörner last week, he expressed his continuing dismay at
how the IPCC has fed the scare on this crucial issue. When asked to act as
an "expert reviewer" on the IPCC's last two reports, he was "astonished to
find that not one of their 22 contributing authors on sea levels was a sea
level specialist: not one". Yet the results of all this "deliberate
ignorance" and reliance on rigged computer models have become the most
powerful single driver of the entire warmist hysteria.

.For more information, see Dr Mörner on YouTube (Google Mörner, Maldives and
YouTube); or read on the net his 2007 EIR interview "Claim that sea level is
rising is a total fraud"; or email him - - to buy a copy of
his booklet 'The Greatest Lie Ever Told'

. . .

Blown away

The Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, timed his jibe impeccably last
week when he said that opposing wind farms is as "socially unacceptable" as
"not wearing a seatbelt". Britain's largest windfarm companies are pulling
out of wind as fast as they can. Despite 100 per cent subsidies, the credit
crunch and technical problems spell an end to Gordon Brown's £100 billion
dream of meeting our EU target to derive 35 per cent of our electricity from
"renewables" by 2020.

Meanwhile the Government gives the go-ahead for three new 1,000 megawatt
gas-fired power stations in Wales. Each of them will generate more than the
combined average output (700 megawatts) of all the 2,400 wind turbines so
far built. The days of the "great wind fantasy" will soon be over.

© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009

17. CA budget con job dissembled

RIDER COMMENT: One termed out, fiscally frugal legislator we sorely miss is Ray Haynes. At least he’s still writing. Here’s his explanation of the CA budget games.

I'm So Confused

by Ray Haynes - State Capitol (bio) (email)(print)

3-29-2009 12:40 am

Ok, so.......where exactly are the cuts in this new budget?

I only asked because I am a little confused. If you read the LAO's analysis in the voter pamphlet about the "budget solutions" that are leading to the need for the May election, it says that the budget solutions included (1) $15 billion in spending reductions; (2) $12.5 billion in tax increases; (3) $8 billion in federal funds; and (4) $5 billion in borrowing from the lottery. We also know that another $1 billion is coming from redirecting funds from health programs and the First Five program, all to solve an approximately $40 billion difference between the baseline spending (what the state wanted to spend) and projected revenue (what the state expected to collect in taxes).

Now, we know that tax increases, borrowing, redirecting money from other accounts and federal funds are all designed to avoid having to cut the base of any program. These are "revenue enhancements" specifically designed to avoid "deep and painful cuts in essential state services," like free health care and education to illegals and free abortions to teenagers, and six figure salaries to life tenured bureaucrats (as well as extraordinarily large retirements), things that, of course, the people of the state of California cannot live without, and, if they were actually cut or reduced, would cause the death of senior citizens and young children throughout California. I can see how we wouldn't want to cut these things, but leaders just have to make tough decisions. If we reduce a $150,000 a year bureaucrat's lavish pension, and some senior citizen dies because of that, sometimes that's just what happens in the real world. It's tough, but it has to be done.

But wait. We don't have to do that. Obama has come to the rescue. The state has scored $17.5 billion in federal welfare in the most recent stimulus package. $17.5 billion is $9.5 billion more than they thought they were going to receive when they asked the people of the state of California to reach deep into their pockets for a $12.5 billion tax increase. After reading the stories on this windfall, however, I now find out this federal bailout is just not enough to defer any of the requested tax increases. OH NO!!!! Those cheap feds just didn't want to bail out the state's tax payers. I was so upset. Obama just didn't do enough to help out all those Californians who voted for him who must now pay higher taxes.

But wait again. Now I am confused. The proposed budget shortfall is $39.5 billion. With the $17.5 billion in federal bailout money, the proposed solutions are now $49 billion, and we know that taxes are not going to be reduced because this extra $9.5 billion is just not enough to defer any tax increase at all. I know I Iearned math in public schools, but that was before the teacher's union took it over, and turned our children into their own private cash cow. $49 billion is $9.5 billion more than $39.5 billion, and if the legislature and the Governor don't reduce our taxes, just what is going to happen to that extra money?

That's right. No more cuts in spending. The final part of the budget scam is now complete. By the time this is all over, the entire $15 billion in alleged cuts will be covered by the feds, the state will have a whole lot more in new taxes. Proposition 1A, if it really is enacted, will provide about as much of a fig leaf to the business end of the state's rape of the taxpayers as the emperor's new clothes did to his. No spending cuts, no spending cap, and $12.5 billion in new taxes. I have to admit, I am now really impressed with the negotiating ability of the Republicans who voted for this budget deal. They really helped us out.

18. Consensus on global warming? Oh really?

RIDER COMMENT: Below is a note from the libertarian Cato Institute about the lack of consensus on global warming. I strongly encourage you to click on the link to the full page advertisement they ran in major national newspapers.

FROM: Cato Institute

Thought you might enjoy seeing this ad we ran as a full page in today’s New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. Looks familiar, doesn’t it? The idea behind the “With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.” headline is to point out that on major issues – economic “stimulus” and climate change -- President Obama seems to try to avoid debate by pretending there is no debate. The 120 or so top experts on climate change, including MIT’s Richard Lindzen, make it clear there is plenty of debate going on over global warming. Coincidentally, the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story yesterday on Freeman Dyson, one of the most brilliant scientists of our time, focusing on his skepticism about the threat of global warming. Anyway, we wanted to bring this latest ad to your attention.

Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001