Hearing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tout his job-killing environmental law at a time California is hemorrhaging jobs couldn't help but be demoralizing and confusing for the state's citizens and businesses.
Recent polls show Californians in a deep funk over the state's prospects. A new study of corporate leaders in Chief Executive magazine shows why. Asked to rank states by business climate, CEOs put California dead last. Texas was No. 1.
For those who live in California, reading the remarks of the CEOs is as eye-opening as it is depressing. For example:
• "Texas is pro-business with reasonable regulations while California is anti-business with anti-business regulations."
• "California is terrible. Even when we've paid their high taxes in full, they still treat every conversation as adversarial. It's the most difficult state in the nation. We have actually walked away from business rather than deal with the government in Sacramento."
• "The leadership of California has done everything in its power to kill manufacturing jobs in this state. If we could grow our crops in Reno, we'd move our plants tomorrow."
Not so happy, are they? Want more specifics? Here are just a few:
• "Among the highest state income and sales taxes in the nation."
• "Unemployment ... of 12.6%, one of the highest in the nation."
• "State politics seem consumed with how to divide a shrinking pie rather than how to expand it."
• "Union density is increasing, contrary to national trend, from 16.1% of workers in 1998 to 17.8% in 2002."
• "Unfunded pension and health care liabilities for state workers top $500 billion and the annual pension contribution has climbed from $320 million to $7.3 billion in less than a decade."
...California's long-term job losses are downright ugly. Since 2001, while politicians dither and spend, 634,000 factory jobs have disappeared along with 34% of the industrial base. From 2003 to 2007 alone, according to the Milken report, 79,000 jobs were lost due to excessive regulation and too-high taxes.
But if California's private companies are suffering, its public sector sure isn't. From 2001 to 2009, California lost 235,000 net private-sector jobs, but gained 163,700 government jobs. Those cushy union jobs also pay more than comparable private jobs and provide gold-plated benefits. Now Californians find they actually have to pay for this foolishness. _IBD
If you have your retirement savings in a 401K, you may feel safe. But should you? What if the Obama administration decides to confiscate all private 401K accounts and lump them all into a government retirement program? Would you feel better then?
In February, the White House released its “Annual Report on the Middle Class” containing new regulations favored by Big Labor including a bailout of critically underfunded union pension plans through “retirement security” options.The Obama administration is really quite clever -- if you consider laying landmines all over the countryside against individual initiative and enterprise to be clever.
The radical solution most favored by Big Labor is the seizure of private 401(k) plans for government disbursement -- which lets them off the hook for their collapsing retirement scheme. And, of course, the Obama administration is eager to accommodate their buddies.
Vice President Joe Biden floated the idea, called “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts” (GRAs), in the February “Middle Class” report.
In conjunction with the report’s release, the Obama administration jointly issued through the Departments of Labor and Treasury a “Request for Information” regarding the “annuitization” of 401(k) plans through “Lifetime Income Options” in the form of a notice to the public of proposed issuance of rules and regulations. (pdf) _HE
The foul anti-liberty landscape that is being created by Obama - Pelosi is the worst type of pollution conceivable. It will take all the ingenuity of the brightest and most freedom-loving Americans to find a way out of this Obama death trap.