Be Careful What You Support

Investor’s Business Daily is reporting that a week after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s $15 minimum wage boost into law, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent a memo to employees announcing that 500 jobs were getting cut.

The article reports:

Those workers might want to have a chat with the folks at UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research, who just days before Brown signed the wage-hike bill released a study touting the minimum wage as a boon to low-income household breadwinners.

After that report came out, Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley center, told the Los Angeles Times, “This is a very big deal for low-wage workers in California, for their families and for their children.”

It is a big deal, as well, to those soon to be out of work UC Berkeley workers.

But why is anyone surprised about jobs cuts following a wage hike? It’s one of the most basic laws of economics. Any high school kid taking Econ 101 can explain it:  If you raise the price of something, demand goes down.

Keep in mind, too, that a $15 minimum wage is more than twice the federal minimum wage today. And it would set the wage floor higher than it’s ever been. On an inflation-adjusted basis, the minimum wage peaked in 1968 at just over $10 an hour.

In a strong economy, raising the minimum wage might not be as much of a problem, but in an economy that is not rapidly expanding, companies simply do not have a large enough profit margin to handle the increase in the cost of employees. The demand for an increase in the minimum wage also overlooks the fact that most of the people who hold minimum-wage jobs are people who are just entering the work force. It is in that entry-level job that new employees learn basic skills–such as showing up on time, following directions, being responsible, etc. Those minimum-wage jobs give young people the skills they need to move on to higher-paying jobs. Increasing the minimum wage to the point where there will be less minimum-wage jobs accomplishes nothing positive. Unfortunately, it has become a Democratic policy talking point, and because of that, more young people who support this idea will lose their jobs if they succeed in increasing the minimum wage.

Using State Agencies For Personal Purposes

Hot Air posted an article today about some recent actions by California Governor Jerry Brown. It seems that Governor Brown used state resources to survey his family’s ranch to see if there was any fossil fuel underground.

The article reports:

In case you missed it, Hizzoner apparently took it upon himself to direct the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency to do a survey of his extensive ranch and find out if there was anything under the ground worth tapping. This effort included satellite imaging and all the other scientific tools to estimate the potential fossil fuel reserves which might be found there. When pressed for an explanation, all the Governor’s office managed to come up with was a claim that the agency does that for regular people all the time. (That came as a surprise to the folks at the Department of Conservation.)

It seems that the Governor was unhappy about seeing this news in the headlines and a whistleblower from the regulatory agency is now crying foul, implying that some sort of retaliation toward her may be in the works. (NewsMax)

I don’t even want to think about how much it would cost a private citizen to have such a survey. The woman who filed a whistleblower’s complaint about the state’s resources being used for the survey has hired a lawyer because she fears retaliation.

The article concludes:

The GOP in California has already called for a full investigation and Brown deserves a chance to clear his name. But the statements from the Governor’s office thus far seem to be admissions that it happened, with the only quibbling being over whether or not it’s allowed business as usual. If the findings show that this was precisely what it looks like thus far, this could very well be the beginning of the end of Jerry Brown’s governorship.

As taxpayer’s become more concerned about how their tax money is being spent, we may see more scandals like this. State and federal governments include a lot of waste and a lot of pork.

Part of the spending problem in the federal budget is the concept of ‘baseline budgeting.’ This is the concept that explains how Congress can claim to cut spending while the actual amount spent increases. The way the federal government computes its budget is to begin the process at the current spending level. Then, Congress will plan to increase the spending in a department maybe 5 percent. Then, they will ‘cut’ their spending by increasing the spending in that department by only 3 percent. Despite the fact that they actually increased spending by 3 percent, they will claim that they have cut the spending in that department by 2 percent. People who are not paying close attention will believe that spending has actually been cut by 2 percent. The solution to this practice is to educate the American voters as to what is going on.

Meanwhile, let’s see how much of Governor Brown’s current problem is reported in the mainstream media.

Lied To Again

California used to be the breadbasket of America–until Nancy Pelosi and crew shut off the water to the Central Valley. Now because of a severe drought, the State is making further decisions about water use that are just as nonsensical as the government’s previous decisions. You can expect the mainstream media to blame this on climate change, but that is not the problem. California has always had droughts–Congress and actions by the State of California have made this drought worse than it should have been.

In 2010, I posted the following vacation picture:

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In 2010, I quoted the National Review Online in a rightwinggranny article:

The Central Valley’s woes began in earnest in 2007, when the hardline Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) won a lawsuit against California’s intricate water-delivery system, sending farmers like John Harris into a tailspin. In court, the NRDC’s lawyers contended that the vast pumps that help to funnel water from the reservoirs up in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta down to the Central Valley, to Southern California, and to the Bay Area were sucking in and shredding an unacceptable number of smelt — and, the smelt being protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since 1994, that this was illegal.

The problem has gotten worse since then.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about the problem. The article included the following chart:

The line from the article that stands out to me:

The reality is that farm water has already been rationed for more than two decades by the ascendant green politics, starting with the 1992 federal Central Valley Project Improvement Act. Federal protections for the delta smelt, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon (2008-2009) further restricted water pumping at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, so 76% of inflows, mainly from the Sierra Nevada mountains, spill into San Francisco Bay.

If California is sending three-quarters of the runoff from the mountains into the San Francisco Bay, they deserve to have water problems.

The article in the Wall Street Journal concludes:

Some farmers have also adapted by shifting production to high-value crops. Since 1992 cotton acreage has fallen by about 80%. Roughly 100,000 acres of alfalfa have been torn out in the last four years. Almond acreage has increased by a third over the last decade. While nut trees are water-intensive and cannot be removed from production in dry years, most were planted prior to the Delta’s pumping restrictions. New almond acreage has fallen by 80% since 2005.

In other words, farmers are responding to market forces, which conservatives ought to understand even if the concept is foreign in San Francisco’s Presidio.

Meanwhile, the Bay Area currently imports a large share of its pristine water (among the cheapest in the state) and some of its hydropower electricity from the glacial Hetch Hetchy valley in Yosemite. So its water isn’t diverted to protect fish. But imagine if the government mandated that Hetch Hetchy be restored to its pre-development state. Water and power rates would spike. Marijuana growers and distributors—cannabis consumes about twice as much water as lettuce—would shut down or (horrors) raise their prices.

That won’t happen because of the Bay Area’s clout in Washington and Sacramento. But farmers don’t pack the same punch, so they’re getting fed to the smelt.

This is another example of the state government compounding the previous mistakes of the federal government in order to make a bad situation worse. It’s not about doing what is best for everyone–it’s about who has the most clout in Washington. If we do not change that dynamic in the next election, all of us will be at the mercy or bureaucrats who have no idea of the unintended consequences of their actions.

Laws Gone Crazy

Breitbart.com posted a story today about the preparation California schools are currently making for new transgender laws in schools.

The article reports:

With a law that spells out the rights of transgender students in grades K-12 set to take effect in California, school districts are reviewing locker room layouts, scheduling sensitivity training for coaches, assessing who will sleep where during overnight field trips and reconsidering senior portrait dress codes.

But administrators, counselors, teachers and school board members also are watching and waiting. The law, the nation’s first requiring public schools to let children use sex-segregated facilities and participate in the gender-specific activities of their choice, could end up suspended within days of its Jan. 1 launch if a referendum to repeal it qualifies for the November ballot.

I don’t disagree with the idea of protecting transgender children from bullying or from being discriminated against, but I do wonder how a kindergarten child can be transgender. I have met very few kindergarten children who can make up their mind on such a complex issue.

Meanwhile, the children of and in the mainstream are being exposed to things in kindergarten and lower grades that they really don’t need to be exposed to.

The article reports:

“We don’t know what’s going to happen when kids come back from their holiday vacation,” said Republican state Sen. Steve Knight, who voted against the law. “Are there going to be 15-year-old girls talking in the bathroom and in walks a boy? What are they going to do? Scream? Run out?”

The California School Boards Association is acting on the assumption that the law will stand and that, even if it does not, existing state and federal anti-discrimination laws, as well as year-old California Interscholastic Federation rules under which athletes may petition to play on a sports team that does not correspond with their biological sex, already compel schools to accommodate transgender students.

The association has advised schools to handle requests on a case-by-case basis and with parental input, if possible, but to be prepared to make private changing arrangements both for transgender students and for classmates who might object to dressing with them.

I think it’s time for the rational parents in California to either home school their children or send them to private school. This is ridiculous. I wouldn’t want my teenage daughter to run the risk of having a boy walk in while she is using the ladies’ room. If he needs a separate facility, that is fine, but if he is still walking around with male equipment, he does not belong in the ladies’ room.

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The Central Valley Water Problem Is Still In The News

In 2010, I posted some pictures of my summer vacation (It’s my blog–I can do that). The pictures were of the California Central Valley, once the breadbasket of America, now a politically created dust bowl. This is one of the pictures:

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Well, California Governor Jerry Brown is trying to change that. I don’t know how practical his plan is, but I love the fact that he is trying to change a really unfortunate situation.

Today’s Sacramento Bee reported that the state and federal water agencies that control most of Northern California’s water are negotiating the details of Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two massive water diversion tunnels in the Delta with 279 farm and urban water buyers. These contracts will govern those relationships – and extend the government’s obligation to provide water – for decades.

The article reports:

How the new contracts are shaped will affect water rates for millions of Californians. It also will change how taxpayers at large continue to subsidize the many dams and canals that deliver water.

The process is a kind of house-cleaning for the giant financial investment required to build the proposed tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. If the $25 billion project is approved next year, the state will be selling bonds for decades to pay for it; and the bond buyers, before committing, will want to see that the state has a solid contractual foundation with water agencies.

Meanwhile, today’s Wall Street Journal reports:

The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation this spring cut water deliveries to farmers and the two-thirds of Californians who live south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to between 20% and 35% of their contractual allocations. The reason? Because 300 three-inch smelt were caught int he pumps at the south end of the delta. Since smelt is designated “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, it’s being protected at literally all costs.

I am not a scientist, but common sense tells me that you don’t destroy the breadbasket of America for 300 fish. Governor Brown’s solution to the Central Valley’s water problem is very expensive. However, if the voters don’t kill the project because of the expense, the environmentalists will kill it because it will promote growth in an area that is losing people because of unemployment.

In the past four years I visited California about twice a year (my military children were stationed there). It is a beautiful state with a wonderful climate (I live in New England. To me, most other places have a wonderful climate). It was truly sad to drive through the Central Valley (on my way to a family reunion in Santa Rosa) and see the dust bowl that had once been abundant farms that supplied America’s food.

I have no idea whether or not Governor Brown’s plan is the answer to the water problems in the Central Valley. I am impressed, however, that at least he is looking at the problem and attempting to do something about it. Water in the Central Valley would do wonderful things for both the California economy and the California unemployment rate.

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It All Sounds So Sensible…

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation aimed at taking handguns and assault rifles away from 20,000 Californians who acquired them legally but have since been disqualified from ownership because of a criminal conviction or serious mental illness.

Now on the surface, that sounds like a really good idea, but let’s take it apart for a minute. Who determines the disqualification? Can one person determine the disqualification?

The article reports:

“This bipartisan bill makes our communities safer by giving law enforcement the resources they need to get guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.

This law allows for confiscation of guns from ‘potentially dangerous individuals.’ Gun confiscation is definitely not part of America‘s tradition. I have recently posted a few articles that really make me wonder about what this law would be like down the road.

On April 6, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about a U.S. Army training instructor listing Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism along with Al Qaeda and Hamas during a briefing with an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania, Would Christians have their guns confiscated under the California law because they were seen as ‘potentially dangerous?’

On April 12, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about a New York man who had his guns confiscated because his 10-year-old son talked to some his classmates about bringing a water gun, paintball gun, and BB gun with them to the house of a schoolyard bully. He was told he could get his guns back when his son is eighteen and moves out of his house. Needless to say, there is a lawsuit making its way through the courts.

On March 28, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about attempts to take Second Amendment rights away from America’s veterans.

There is a pattern here. The guns are being confiscated not only from criminals, but from law-abiding citizens deemed dangerous. The thing the lawmakers have forgotten here is that the guns most criminals have are not registered and they are not likely to be confiscated. Therefore, all you have done is to disarm law-abiding citizens because some authority considers them a threat. That is not a really good idea in a free society.Enhanced by Zemanta

What Do You Do When Your State Runs Out Of Money ? Borrow More For A New Project !

Breitbart.com reported today that California legislature has approved selling $4.5 billion in voter-approved bonds that includes $2.6 billion to build an initial 130-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line in the Central Valley. That will allow the state to collect another $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday. California received more federal aid than expected after Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin turned down the money.

Included in the article are the following statements:

Before Friday’s vote, at least half a dozen Democrats in the 40-member Senate remained opposed, skeptical or uncommitted. Some were concerned about how the vote would impact their political futures, while others were wary about financing and management of the massive project.

One dissenter, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said public support had waned for the project, and there were too many questions about financing to complete it.

“Is there additional commitment of federal funds? There is not. Is there additional commitment of private funding? There is not. Is there a dedicated funding source that we can look to in the coming years? There is not,” Simitian said.

There is no financing to complete the problem–that is one of many reasons the other states turned it down! There is also the cultural element–this is California–the state with a massive highway system that exemplifies America’s love affair with the automobile. There is a cultural aspect of mass transportation that simply does not fit in with the California culture.

California has budget problems. It has had budget problems for many years. The public schools in California have cut art and music teachers from the curriculum in order to save money. To spend $4.5 billion on a high speed rail project that will need even more money to complete is simply not wise. Then there is the matter of whether or not the environmentalists will let it go forward even after construction has begun.

No wonder the state is going broke.

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An Amazing Quote

I missed this when it happened, so I am posting it now. The American, the online magazine of the American Enterprise Institute, posted the following on March 29th:

Gov. Jerry Brown defended his new campaign website’s characterization of his proposed tax increase as “a millionaires’ tax,” even though it hikes levies on people who make more than $250,000 per year.

“Anybody who makes $250,000 becomes a millionaire very quickly, if you save,” Brown told reporters in Sacramento on Wednesday.

Brown said he had not yet seen the site, although it was promoted by his Twitter feed earlier in the day. The site calls his plan “a millionaires’ tax that asks the richest Californians to pay their fair share to help fund public education and vital public services, pays down the debt we owe to schools, and does not raise income taxes on the poor or middle class.”

The proposal, which Brown wants to place on the November ballot, would hike levies on incomes of more than $250,000 for seven years, and include a quarter-cent sales tax increase for four years.

“It is a millionaires’ tax. It taxes millionaires,” Brown said, but assured reporters he would check on the campaign’s assertion. “I’ll take a look at it and make sure that it’s the most accurate it can be.”

This is an amazing quote–the only place $250,000 equals $1,000,000 is in the minds of government officials who want to take more money away from the people who earn it! Giving more money to government will not solve deficit problems–those in power will simply spend more and continue to go deeper in debt. At some point we need to realize–IT’S THE SPENDING, STUPID!!!!!!!

 

 

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