By Doug Porter
One of the favored propaganda ploys of conservative pundits over the past year or so has been the ‘everybody’s leaving California for Texas’ meme. This tale hit its stride with an article in the ultra conserve National Review by former assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who left the Golden State for the Lone Star State after finishing third in the 2010 GOP primary race for US Senate.
“California may be dreaming, but Texas is working” said DeVore, who went on to tell a tale of woe including high taxes, burdensome regulations and a bloated bureaucracy that stood in sharp contrast to the lean, mean Texas machine.
And so it began. Thousands of businesses were fleeing “Taxifornia” for the freedom offered by Rick Perry’s Republican mecca, so we were told. By early in 2013, media accounts of a minor ad buy urging businesses to consider relocation to Texas painted a picture of a grand exodus underway.
Only it wasn’t so. From the Sacramento Bee:
In 2011, 254 businesses either relocated or expanded to other states, but 167,000 new businesses were started. Since October 2011,California has added more jobs than the next 10 states – including Texas – combined, according to the Labor Department. In the past 18 months, California‘s job growth has outpaced Texas by 40 percent.
Today’s report on National Public Radio by Wade Goodwin on the construction industry in Texas paints a sad portrait of the real costs of the GOP’s prosperity paradise.
Wage theft is rampant, with greedy contractors often cheating the 400,000 undocumented construction industry workers out of some or all of their pay. And since everybody’s an ‘independent contractor’, no taxes are paid, no protections are offered and no records are kept. From the NPR story:
“Our estimation is that there’s $1.6 billion being lost in federal income taxes just from Texas alone,” says the Workers Defense Project’s Tzintzun. The report estimates that $7 billion in wages from nearly 400,000 illegally classified construction workers is going unreported in Texas each year, resulting in billions of dollars in revenue lost owing to institutionalized statewide payroll fraud.
But working Texas construction is a good way to die while not making a good living. More construction workers die in Texas than in any other state, the WDP-UT study finds. With 10.7 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2010, construction workers in the lightly regulated LoneStar State died at twice the rate as those in California, with a rate of 5.2. That’s compared with theU.S. rate of 8.8 in that same year.
1 in every 5 Texas construction workers will require hospitalization because of injuries on the job. Texas is the only state in the nation without mandatory workers’ compensation, meaning hospitals and taxpayers usually end up shouldering the cost when uncovered construction workers are hurt.
The Real Housewives of Wall Street
Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi has a story
coming out in their April 28th edition (pro note: always look at the year on any links that you follow) about the real welfare cheats in this country from 2011 that every taxpayer should read, especially with all the forthcoming debate about the U.S. budget.
Do read the whole article, but take your blood pressure medicine and sit down first. Here’s the intro, where he lays out his premise. Later on he cites specific examples, including real housewives of Wall Street corporate execs who, with nothing more than a wink and a nod, tapped into millions of taxpayer dollars:
America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that great untamed socialist menace called a unionized public-sector workforce that Republicans are always complaining about. According to popular legend, we’re broke and in so much debt that 40 years from now our granddaughters will still be hooking on weekends to pay the medical bills of this year’s retirees from the IRS, the SEC and the Department of Energy.
Most Americans know about that budget. What they don’t know is that there is another budget of roughly equal heft, traditionally maintained in complete secrecy. After the financial crash of 2008, it grew to monstrous dimensions, as the government attempted to unfreeze the credit markets by handing out trillions to banks and hedge funds. And thanks to a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs, it eventually rivaled the “official” budget in size — a huge roaring river of cash flowing out of the Federal Reserve to destinations neither chosen by the president nor reviewed by Congress, but instead handed out by fiat by unelected Fed officials using a seemingly nonsensical and apparently unknowable methodology.
Now, following an act of Congress that has forced the Fed to open its books from the bailout era, this unofficial budget is for the first time becoming at least partially a matter of public record. Staffers in the Senate and the House, whose queries about Fed spending have been rebuffed for nearly a century, are now poring over 21,000 transactions and discovering a host of outrages and lunacies in the “other” budget. It is as though someone sat down and made a list of every individual on earth who actually did not need emergency financial assistance from the United States government, and then handed them the keys to the public treasure. The Fed sent billions in bailout aid to banks in places like Mexico, Bahrain and Bavaria, billions more to a spate of Japanese car companies, more than $2 trillion in loans each to Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, and billions more to a string of lesser millionaires and billionaires with Cayman Islands addresses.
Today’s UT-San Diego Report: Recall Filner (Surprise!)
Columnist Logan Jenkins is tasked with making us believe that conversation about a recall for Mayor Bob Filner is indeed the talk of the town. We get to listen in on two of his Republican friends over Thai food wondering if doing the deed now or later makes more sense. Logan broods:
This, it seems to me, is the contour of the dark debate taking place in high-powered business and GOP circles.
We go on to learn that Filner would have never won except for the fact that it was a Presidential election year. And:
When two credible moderates, telegenic Assemblyman Fletcher and familiar DA Dumanis, cannibalized each other’s votes in the primary, a partisan plague — and the fever spike of recall fantasies — was all but guaranteed.
The context of the larger questions involved here, as in ‘sore losers seeing to manipulate media to promote recall’ is nowhere to be found.
UT-SD Editorial Board Gets Schooled on Water Policy
U-T San Diego, the local newspaper-in-decline, on Sunday published an editorial that would embarrass any self-respecting water journalist (“Go back to drawing board, water agency“).
The editorial claims that “A remarkable coalition of business, government and environmental groups is trying to prevent a disastrous leap into faith-based policymaking by a headstrong state agency” and “In a stunning collaboration, the environmental group Coastkeeper joined with the San Diego Building Industry Association in January to ask the state agency to slow down, develop alternatives and lean heavily on expert advisory panels. The message is loud and clear. The water quality board must delay this proceeding and start over.”
In fact, they are trying to do no such thing (and actually, the Water Reliability Coalition is San Diego’s true “remarkable coalition.”)
He goes on to present Coastkeeper’s Jill Witowski refuting their editorial misinformation, along with a brief from the National Research Council with actual facts on urban stormwater management.
Kudos to Janczyn for his efforts to school the ignorami at UT-San Diego. (And yes, I am aware of the controversy of the use of the word ‘ignorami’.)
TAX THE EMAIL? OMG, OMG!
As silly as Wozniak’s suggestion may seem, in this tax-happy environment it’s not to be taken lightly. A columnist for another newspaper called Wozniak “the most courageous politician in California” and lauded the idea as a way to “help replace the tax revenue lost by technology putting people out of work” – and at the same time cut down on spam and scammers.
So why stop there? Why not a tax on texting and tweets? A fee for Facebook status updates or Farmville invites?
It just never ends, does it?
Frankly I’m all for a tax on internet comments and emails, but only when they’re typed in ALL CAPS.
Another OMG Editorial
The editors at the Los Angeles Times wasted bytes and ink today to let us know about their opposition to this bit of actual legislation. Sadly, as silly as this seems -and it will go nowhere in the current legislature- this is just the kind of thinking that could actually resurface in the future as an ‘education reform’:
In their efforts to expand access without spending more money, education officials and state lawmakers will no doubt offer all sorts of bad proposals for how to do more with less, and those who care about the system will have to be vigilant in protecting it.
Already, there’s legislation to create a fourth college system — in addition to the community colleges, the California State Universityand the University of California — with no classes, just tests. This proposal has more potential to harm than to help restore the state’s educational luster.
“The New University of California,” as it is dubbed in AB 1306, carried by Assemblyman Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), would have no faculty and do no teaching. People seeking a degree would study however they wanted — on the Internet, through books or with tutors. Then they would pay a fee to take an exam through the New University, which would confer college credits and degrees once certain requirements were completed.
Fraud at the Farmers Market
The answer would appear to be mostly yes. But there are a few bad apples.
An article by Clare Leschin-Hoar at Voice of San Diego today chronicles the bust of grower Stelios Proios of Proios Family Farm in Murrieta. He was nabbed following an inspection by an agent of the county’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures in February 2012 at the North Park Market.
Proios ended up pleading guilty to a charge of false/misleading advertising and was banned from selling at any certified farmers market in the county for three years, along with a $1,000 fine.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the County folks are apparently doing their job protecting consumers. From VOSD:
San Diego Weekly Markets Director Catt White, who manages the Little Italy market, along with several other markets, said suspensions are extremely rare. She also said the market had already stopped working with Proios over attendance issues before the ban was enacted by the city attorney’s office.
White said that despite the disappointment of discovering a grower violated regulations, the county is doing a good job regularly inspecting the markets and the farmers who supply them.
“Unlike other counties, San Diego is known for being conscientious about ag enforcement. We get very regular inspections of our markets,” White said.
I wonder if Texas farmers markets are regularly inspected. I’m guessing no.
On This Day: 1941 – Ford Motor Co. became the last major automaker to recognize the United Auto Workers as the representative for its workers. 1956 – Nat King Cole was beaten up by a group of racial segregationists in Birmingham, AL. 1963 – 129 people died when the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher failed to surface off Cape Cod, MA.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.