25 May

Alternative Facts about The Hourly Struggle

Twain Truth

Much like Mark Twain’s adage about truth getting in the way of a good story, some folks never let facts get in the way of a good argument. This has led to the preponderance of what are now known as Alternative Facts which when I was a youngster we simply called “Factoids” or “Not Facts”.

Lately the (D)s of California have been on the offensive with their #AlternativeFacts thanks to the effort to recall State Senator Josh Newman owing to his vote to raise taxes. Amazingly the (D)s have been 100% on message and it looks like we here at The Hourly Struggle have become a target for their version of the truth.

To be fair they’ll also saying people should boycott stores where recall petition gatherers are located because (D)s don’t understand public property and the 1st Amendment.

To understand what I’m talking about here I offer an example that was sent to me from the NextDoor social network for local neighborhoods. This comment happened to be in my area (hence my screenshot) yet it would be safe to assume it’s in other neighborhoods:

NextDoor Lies about The Hourly Struggle

#AlternativeFacts on NextDoor

The first few comments were standard fare (D) support for Newman followed by a few anti-Newman comments before I jumped into the fray.

Here’s the issue. It’s lies. I’m sorry, I mean #AlternativeFacts or #FakeNews or whatever the propaganda minster has decreed today.

First off neither Sean nor myself are (R)s. I’ve been registered as “Decline to State”, which is now called “No Party Preference” in California, since I registered to vote at age 18. I nearly joined the (L) party once but I’ve never been a member of the GOP or any other party.  Likewise Sean is not a member of the GOP. To claim otherwise is an outright lie. To further claim that we’re simply “crybabies” owing to a lost (R) seat, when we both voted FOR Newman, is to stretch the truth beyond recognition and into  the realm of #AlternativeFacts.

Next is the little issue concerning our lack of connection to the recall against State Senator Josh Newman. We haven’t been, nor have we claimed to be, collecting signatures in any capacity. We are not affiliated with Carl DeMaio out of San Diego who is running the recall effort. We also are not connected to Travis Allen out of Huntington Beach who is running an effort to bring a gas tax repeal initiative to the ballot.

While we support these efforts we are not in fact connected to either campaign. Pesky things those facts can be sometimes. That’s a lot of lying in one little paragraph.

But this is the new normal. We’ve seen these same type of factoids and accusations popping up on our Facebook, Twitter, website here and apparently we’re being slammed on Nextdoor and other social networks. All the same lies being perpetuated by the same people supporting the robbing of taxpayers to support the largess of government.

The idiotic part of the attacks on us is that, as stated above, we both voted FOR Newman over his (R) opposition. Newman is a likeable guy who played up his veteran status and his desire to not be a tool of his party. His voting record betrayed that and thus betrayed our votes for him. You cannot continue to have my support when you vote to rob more Californians via higher taxes. Nobody in Sacramento cares how money is spent and voting to add more taxes without ever holding the system to account is dishonorable and ethically reprehensible.

I look at Josh Newman the way I look at a lot of people in that he’s somebody I like but I don’t think he’s suited to the job he has chosen. I don’t think he’s a bad guy and I’d have a beer with him anytime but he’s wrong in a way that is bad for all of California and worse for taxpayers. I stand by the point that I like Josh Newman as a person but that doesn’t translate into blind loyalty or continued support when he hasn’t earned it.

I cannot trust that he won’t vote to further bankrupt working Californians as his party is wont to do. I cannot trust that he won’t vote to drive businesses from our state as is also his party’s wont. If my choice is between wanting a recall or waiting for 4 years to stem the tide of fiscal lunacy I’ll take recall every time. He’s in my district and I voted for him and I feel betrayed by his voting record so I want him recalled and that’s where it ends.

Frankly I find it laughable that the (D)s have resorted to such obvious lies to make their case to protect Newman. If that’s the best strategy they can come up with then Newman is toast once the recall qualifies.

23 May

Single Payer Price Tag – $400 billion

single payer

One topic we haven’t spent too much time on in depth is the prospect of having a single payer healthcare system here in California. Proponents of such a system have made many arguments in favor of it. It was a major plank in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign platform. There has also been discussion about whether Obamacare was designed to fail to pave the way for a single payer system down the road.

So far, these debates have been happening largely on the national stage with proponents and opponents lobbying Congress one way or the other. With the rise of the American Health Care Act as the fulfillment of a promise Republicans made to their constituents to repeal and replace Obamacare, the prospect of a single payer universal healthcare system seems to be more pie in the sky than ever before.

single payer need not apply

That is, unless you live in California. State Sens. Lara and Atkins have introduced SB 562, the Healthy California Act. This bill would extend healthcare benefits to every resident of California, citizen or not. While the merits of such a bill will likely be hotly debated here in the Golden State, one aspect of it cannot be denied — the cost.

Until just recently, the cost of such a venture was unknown. A single payer healthcare system in a state as large as California has never been attempted in the US. We have nearly 40 million people living here. The economic impact of single payer has always been a major sticking point in practical implementation. Exactly how much is this going to cost us?

$400 billion. That’s billion with a B. And that’s not a one-time cost. That’s an annual cost. To put that in perspective, California’s total annual budget is estimated to be around $250 billion. The legislative analysis estimates that around $200 billion in existing state and federal funds could be used to offset the cost of a single payer healthcare system, but that leaves another $200 billion to be raised through other means.

The government isn't the only one who will pay.

This being California, it’s practically a surefire bet that those other means will inevitably be new taxes. We would be almost doubling our current budget. Double. I suspect most of these increased taxes will be levied against our businesses. The argument will likely be that they will no longer need to pay for employee healthcare plans, so the money they would have spent should be directed to this new tax. I also predict a new affluence tax on individuals and couples making more than $500,000 annually (or maybe $250,000!). The analysis itself proposes one scenario where an increased payroll tax of 15% could foot some of the bill.

The net result will be an ever accelerating free fall to the bottom of the business friendliness rankings and an increased exodus of the middle class to more tax friendly states. After all, around 65% of general fund revenue comes from direct personal income taxes. Don’t worry though. Our legislators will surely find a way to pass this first and then figure out how to pay for it later. I’m sure we will be talking about this a lot more in coming weeks. Be sure to check out our podcast archives to keep up to date on everything going on in California.

22 May

Episode 5 – Revenge of the Freeloaders

Freeloaders

In episode 5 the freeloaders strike back — at our legislators and at Jerry Brown specifically. He recently called anyone opposed to the the new gas tax and vehicle license fee increase a freeloader. We take issue with that. As one of the heaviest taxed states in the union, we pay more than our fair share. We just want some accountability from Sacramento.

We also highlight the ridiculousness of the California Democratic Party flipping off President Trump while democratic luminaries stood by and laughed. He also told single payer/universal health care protester to “Shut the f___ up and go outside.” California’s legislative leaders continue to antagonize the president and his administration and are likely going to cost the OC Sheriff’s Department tens of millions of dollars.

Also, is the recall really a waste of money? Can the state really say that when cities like Anaheim spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight parental choice in schools? But it’s ok. California is looking for new sources of revenue. Like taxing industries that haven’t even been established yet.

It’s all par for the course in California. Hopefully, we can change that.

Website // Facebook // Twitter

22 May

Fiscally Fed-up or Just a Freeloader?

““The freeloaders — I’ve had enough of them,” Brown said”

That’s California’s Governor Jerry Brown insulting taxpayers who are fed up with the tax-and-spend-and-tax-some-more policies of Sacramento.

Hyperbole and demagoguery at it’s finest. Not to mention an insult to working Californians who want even a modicum of fiscal sanity for the taxes that are picked from our pockets year after year.

Over $6Billion is sent to the state via the current excise taxes on every gallon of gas sold in California. Then there’s the diesel taxes, weight fees, vehicle registration fees, carbon taxes, cap and trade taxes, regulations that artificially inflate the prices of our gas via our “special blend” and on and on and on ad infinitum. Then we have sales taxes and property taxes and fees out the wazoo for half of what we want to do in our day to day lives. Then we have the things that cost us time like licensing and permitting and regulatory red tape for things that typically aren’t even enforced once you get through the red tape.

Yet we’re freeloaders. The taxpayers.

Jerry Brown has refused to address how the already collected money is currently spent. He has refused to justify why we truly need more. He won’t address disparities in how California contracts services or rates we pa. He has refused to stem the tide of the Pension Tsunami ready to engulf our once great state. He has refused to do just about anything of substance to justify his newest taxes so of course he resorts to grandstanding and political theater.

If anybody in California could be labeled as a freeloader it’s the governor who used state time to survey his private property. It’s the governor who refuses to shut down the vanity project known as High Speed Rail. It’s the governor who cannot and will not explain why spiked pensions are more important than anything else in government.

Freeloaders? If wanting accountability from an overzealous and corrupt government makes me a freeloaders so be it. Sign me up.