Tuesday, January 11, 2011

SFGate: Jerry Brown proposes drastic cuts, spares K-12 education

This from SFGate:

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday proposed drastic spending cuts, extending tax increases and reorganizing government to bring an end to California's chronic budget deficits, which have crippled the state and made it an example nationwide of ineffective governance.

The Democrat wants to cut billions in spending on health care for the poor and elderly, welfare, and higher education and wants California voters to extend billions in tax increases for five years to close the deficit. He proposed an overall budget of $127 billion, with $84.6 billion in general fund spending...

...The biggest portion of the state budget, K-12 education, would be funded at about the same level as it is this year, one of the few areas to escape cuts. Higher education, however, would take a significant hit. Both the University of California and California State University systems would be cut by $500 million, and community college funding would be sliced by $400 million, with per-unit fees increasing by $10.

82 comments:

  1. Please, parents, make sure you understand that K-12 has by NO MEANS been spared. In order for K-12 funding to remain at current year budget amounts the legislature must approve, by a 2/3 margin, the ballot measure to get to the voters and THEN the voters must approve the initiative. Republican senators have already vowed not to support this measure and therefore may disallow the voters from making this decision. IF this measure does not pass, k-12 will take an additional 2.6 billion hit.

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  2. In addition to Crystal's comment readers should also understand that this district and others will have to proceed as if the cuts WILL take effect in the event that the legislators or voters don't pass the tax hikes (which is not a sure thing at all). That's because districts must deliver pink slips by March(?) to comply with contractual obligations, even if there are, in the end, no lay-offs.

    Brown is holding school children for ransom. He knows what the public likes most is public education and what it hates most is new taxes. With new taxes rejected by the voters in 2009 and 2010 he has to up the ante by threatening unpalatable education cuts. And he knows deadlines for pink slips will, in the meantime, send shudders through the system and bolster support for the tax increases. (The tax extensions are set to expire so these are increases.)

    The voters have already spoken on the tax increases. Cut the services, streamline government, and move resources closer to home with local control.

    Obama of all people is on record for the job killing effects of increasing taxes in a downturn. California is already one of the highest taxed states in the nation. Republicans should kill the bill because it will do more damage than good. Fix Prop 13, close loopholes, and cut deficits from the spending side not the revenue side. We have a spending problem. In public education too little funding gets to the classroom because of special interests, bureaucracy and complex and unnecessary education codes.

    California's day of reckoning is almost here. That reckoning will not be resolved through tax increases. We have government pensions that are insolvent. The public is not a spigot that you can turn on to deliver whatever financial resources are necessary. Increases taxes is not the answer to what ails California and America.

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  3. Ignore him, it isn't worth responding.

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  4. I am 100% in agreement with holding the line on taxes. Businesses leave California because we are among the most heavily taxes states in the nation. Run away government is the problem. Centralization and big government is the problem.

    12:56, ever hear of the girl who cried wolf? We've heard it before? Ignore him, please I beg you, ignore him. Don't look at that man behind the curtain.

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  5. The governator asked for many of the same cuts that Brown is now asj=king for. Democrats refused before.

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  6. Behind the curtain? It's a puppet; it's a troll; it's a sock-puppet troll.

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  7. What is wrong with this blog?

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  8. It's troll infested.

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  9. There goes another thread.

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  10. I don't agree with Don on taxes. Providing sufficient support for public education is crucial whether or not we drive out business. We have no choice but to raise taxes.

    Having said that, Don has a right to his opinion. He stated it clearly and respectfully. Let's show a little more maturity. We are not projecting a very pleasant view of San Francisco with this attack mentality.

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  11. Close the loophole!

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  12. It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's a sockpuppet troll.

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  13. California is a worldwide economy, a worldwide contender. Jerry Brown knows this, why don't you? He's brilliant to do what he is doing with k-8 and using it to get voters approval of continuing to the taxes for the next 5 years. sure, prop 13 needs fixing, but that's not happening now. sure pensions need fixing, but that's not happening either.

    job killing and businesses leaving california, my ass - more rhetoric from the right and fox news and southern california's talk radio stations.

    I'm perfectly happy to pay our dues in order to get california on the right track. my prediction is that the deficit is paid off years beforehand and they will be repealed before the 5 years are up.

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  14. If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web w/crosshairs on 20 politicians, then 1 of them got shot, where would he/she be sitting right now? Just asking."

    - Michael Moore

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  15. "California is a worldwide economy, a worldwide contender"

    Maybe you don't read the newspaper. California is on the brink of economic collapse. It is ranked at the bottom of the 50 states in academic perfromance while its per pupil expenditure is about 25th. That doesn't sound like a money problem to me.

    "job killing and businesses leaving california, my ass - more rhetoric from the right and fox news and southern california's talk radio stations."

    No, it sounds more like what Obama said when he was running for Presidents.

    I thought for second you were kidding us.

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  16. Jerry Brown, a democrat, is proposing these deep cuts to education. Why? Because even an avowed liberal like Brown knows that you cannot dig out of this hole with tax increases alone. Why don't you?

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  17. 9:11
    Why bother? These people are idiots. There's a reason why the City By The Bay is a laughing stock. It's because of 8:22 and his ilk.

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  18. This is going to backfire on Brown. Voter's don't pass tax hikes when the chips are down. He's going to do the work the Republican governor couldn't do. He's going to get members of his own party to vote through the painful budget and fail to get the tax hike in turn. And the Democrats will be doing the devil's work for the evil Republicans. Obama and Brown have co-opted the Republican and Tea Party landslide and are jumping on the bandwagon of fiscal discipline.

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  19. 9:11, 9:24, 10:39 & 11:13 are all the same person.

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  20. I'm in agreement with 9:11, 9:24, 10:39 and 11:13, a tax hike is unlikely to pass.

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  21. I will vote to continue to tax the state as we are. I would even vote to increase taxes to get out of this mess. California is a world-contender economically, ranked ~8th worldwide. Our k-12 education system does not an indicator of our trade system. Can we afford to tax the hundreds of thousands of millionaires more in this state? I vote yes.

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  22. 9:24, California is in half a trillion dollars of debt. The Obama administration is refusing to bail the states out because it's in even worse shape. The idea of bankruptcy is gaining traction in all quarters. You seem to be glossing over our problems as if were no big deal.

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  23. Most of the world is in economic strife. And business leaders are in agreement with Jerry brown's budget. Just check today's sfgate.

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  24. I'm in agreement with his budget for what it's worth. There is no doubt that the Governor's proposal is intended to provide the impetus for a tax hike. I'm just saying we may get the budget cuts and no tax hike.

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  25. Someone commented on SFgate as follows:

    Even State Sen Mark Leno from San Francisco has openly admitted that Schwarzenegger proposed similar cuts, but they (the democratically controlled state legislature) declared the proposal dead-before-arrival because Arnold had an R after his name.

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  26. True, but the Arnold is gone and whatever political games were played in the past is now secondary to facing these problems. I support Brown in his efforts to avoid gimmickry and meet the challange head on.

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  27. So do I, and I put more stock in Brown than I did in Arnold, even if he's trying the wring out a tax increase from the public. The fact is he may prove to be far more effective than Arnold in dealing with the budget, political games notwithstanding. We'll see.

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  28. There are only ways out of debt. Raise taxes, lower spending or both. When things get really bad both are required as is the case now.

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  29. oops 3 ways out of debt

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  30. Read the article in this weeks Economist:

    http://www.economishttp://www.economist.com/node/17851305t.com/node/17851305

    The article notes that we can ill afford to allow public sector employees, including teachers, to work half the year and retire at 50 years old.

    Nor can we afford bullet proof job security, regardless of performance, for the public sector.

    Cuts are coming, and they will include pay, healthcare and pensions.

    As someone who has been blocked from sending her children to public school and has had to endure a tumultous private sector job with few benefits, I'm looking forward to seeing some equity between the private and public sector.

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  31. The liberal/progressive agenda will bankrupt America without a resurgence of fiscal responsibility. Time grows short. Our influence in the world is diminishing and the forces of fascism and communism will replace democracy without a strong US economy.

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  32. At the risk of feeding trolls, I’m just not convinced that we’ll all be better off when no one who works for a living can rely on a defined benefits plan in his or her retirement. Or benefits that improve one’s quality of life. We should all be standing up for these things – not participating in a giant race to the bottom, which ends with everyone looking forward to the same miserable working conditions, pay, and benefits. Government workers are already enduring pay freezes and mandatory furloughs but are thankful to have jobs – ones that keep our government working.

    And anyway, no one is “blocked” from sending their kids to public schools. It may be that your children were assigned to schools that you did not find acceptable. But paying less to the teachers at those schools, providing fewer benefits, firing some of those teachers, and shredding the social safety net of the children the school serves isn’t going to improve anything for anyone.

    And as long as we’re sharing links, here’s one to the Huffington Post about how demonizing the public sector hurts us all.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-creamer/time-to-stand-up-for-the_b_805683.html

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  33. It's worth noting that the average defined benefit pension is a generous (cough) $24,000 annually.

    Also of note is that teachers do not collect Social Security benefits, even if they are vested in Social Security prior to teaching. Nor can they collect on spousal benefits.

    Not to mention, those thousands of teachers that California has been laying off over the last few years? The vast majority of them were tenured. Tenure does not mean a lifetime of employment barring difficult court cases: layoffs hit tenured teachers. Ask some of the teachers in SFUSD who have been notified for layoffs each year for the last four years how they feel about their job security. Ask the teachers in LAUSD with seven and eight years of good teaching in the classroom at high-needs schools about being laid off, then rehired as temporary employees. You may find that they challenge your notion of their job security.

    There is indeed a real race to the bottom here. In a time of incredible wealth concentration in the hands of the very few and massive poverty in our own city, to demonize educators because they can hope to someday retire without becoming homeless is missing the point.

    Public sector employees are not responsible for the war against working people in this country.

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  34. Those of us in the California private sector don't want a race to the bottom either.

    However, as I've said, as a society, we can't afford to have people retiring at 50 years old with not only retirement benefits, but bullet proof health care benefits.

    I tired of going to the doctors office, paying my $30 copay and having to quibble with my insurance company about coverage for simple and routine screenings for things like breast cancer and childhood vaccinations.

    Meanwhile, my teacher friends have bullet proof healthcare, no co pays, absolute job security, leave work at 3:00 in the afternoon and can comfortably retire at 50 years old.

    These same teachers talk down to those in the private sector, who are worried about the outsourcing of our jobs. Don't tell me it doesn't happen. I've spoken with Ammiano myself. He doesn't give a damn about anything but himself.

    That's coming to an end.

    E Rat and the rest of you, you can ramble, but California won't be approving another tax increase. You can try to hoard what little is left, but do expect failure of public pensions in the next ten years.

    The rest of us, those in the private sector, have been squeezed dry and are planning an exit from the state.

    Luckily, since private sector prospects are much better in other states like Texas and Massachusetts, the exit won't be too difficult.

    Since the disparity between the private and public sector is now being written about in the press, I doubt that I will be alone in leaving.

    I'll enjoy reading about your self inflicted pension failure from a more fiscally responsible state.

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  35. Take down the corrupt teacher's unions that gave us Maufas again. Dismantle the monstrously inefficient state and local bureaucracies. The social safety net isn't solvent. Most who benefit from it don't pay into it. The state doesn't owe anyone a living and the only jobs it creates are government jobs paid for off the backs of the private sector. Business is fleeing the country as socialist inspired government regulation increases beyond all reason. The money is running out and Obama will leave in disgrace.

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  36. What war against working people? Obama was elected with the support of the labor unions. Brown was elected with the support of the labor unions. The most liberal congress in US history had been in power the last four years. WTF are you talking about, Rat?

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  37. Who would have thought a kindergarten blog would become a hotbed of communist-inspired propaganda?

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  38. "The rest of us, those in the private sector, have been squeezed dry and are planning an exit from the state.
    "

    Cool. Hurry up and leave. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out.

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  39. I am on my union teacher spouse’s health care plan (not through SFUSD), and I can assure you we have $25 co-pays. And when I had an unplanned C-section, I got a letter from our insurance carrier saying my hospital stay wouldn’t be covered because I hadn’t had the procedure pre-approved by our HMO. Yes, the issue was resolved, but we certainly had to spend a lot of effort “quibble[ing] with my insurance company” about coverage. As a cost-saving measure, my spouse’s union was just forced to kick all its retirees out of the district’s health care plan. So if they retire under 65, and so are not yet covered by Medicare, they are on their own when it comes to finding health insurance. Not what I would call “bullet proof healthcare.” And the way the pension system is set up, it makes no financial sense to retire before 60 – you just wouldn’t be eligible for much in the way of benefits.

    The fact that unions supported Brown doesn’t mean that times aren’t tough for government workers. His opponent ran on a platform of demonizing state workers and vowing to fire thousands of them. The fact that unions would support Whitman’s opponent doesn’t make Brown socialist.

    And the fact that someone would characterize this Congress as the “most liberal congress in US history” just shows how far right this country has truly swung in the last 25 years or so.

    Finally, does anyone with school-aged children really think that teachers “leave work at 3:00 in the afternoon”? Maybe my perspective is skewed because my spouse often works until after I’m in bed at night grading papers, and spends his holiday breaks writing college letters of recommendation and preparing lesson plans, and attends meetings and tutors kids after school. But I can also see that my children’s teachers work incredibly hard to make school a wonderful experience. I feel like people who talk about how cushy a teacher’s job is get that information from anti-public education propaganda – not from talking to or interacting with actual teachers.

    I understand that people are frustrated about the economy, the school assignment process, and the direction of the country generally. But government workers didn’t get us into this mess, and pulling the rug out from underneath them isn’t going to get us out of it, either.

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  40. I am on my union teacher spouse’s health care plan (not through SFUSD), and I can assure you we have $25 co-pays. And when I had an unplanned C-section, I got a letter from our insurance carrier saying my hospital stay wouldn’t be covered because I hadn’t had the procedure pre-approved by our HMO. Yes, the issue was resolved, but we certainly had to spend a lot of effort “quibble[ing] with my insurance company” about coverage. As a cost-saving measure, my spouse’s union was just forced to kick all its retirees out of the district’s health care plan. So if they retire under 65, and so are not yet covered by Medicare, they are on their own when it comes to finding health insurance. Not what I would call “bullet proof healthcare.” And the way the pension system is set up, it makes no financial sense to retire before 60 – you just wouldn’t be eligible for much in the way of benefits.

    The fact that unions supported Brown doesn’t mean that times aren’t tough for government workers. His opponent ran on a platform of demonizing state workers and vowing to fire thousands of them. The fact that unions would support Whitman’s opponent doesn’t make Brown socialist.

    And the fact that someone would characterize this Congress as the “most liberal congress in US history” just shows how far right this country has truly swung in the last 25 years or so.

    Finally, does anyone with school-aged children really think that teachers “leave work at 3:00 in the afternoon”? Maybe my perspective is skewed because my spouse often works until after I’m in bed at night grading papers, and spends his holiday breaks writing college letters of recommendation and preparing lesson plans, and attends meetings and tutors kids after school. But I can also see that my children’s teachers work incredibly hard to make school a wonderful experience. I feel like people who talk about how cushy a teacher’s job is get that information from anti-public education propaganda – not from talking to or interacting with actual teachers.

    I understand that people are frustrated about the economy, the school assignment process, and the direction of the country generally. But government workers didn’t get us into this mess, and pulling the rug out from underneath them isn’t going to get us out of it, either.

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  41. I bet we will approve to continue with the current tax situation. Fight all you want, but Jerry Brown will angle education in a way to make it work out in the voters booth. It will work out. We approved it once, we will do it again under the leadership of a very seasoned governor.

    Rat - just so you know, that pension is not but a couple thousand more than my retired father makes - and he put into social security for a long time. Now, is the pension worth it given that bit of information and the rules that apply on your end?

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  42. Here :

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/12/BUKG1H73NA.DTL


    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/01/12/state/n123700S13.DTL

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  43. Can we please kick these conservative trolls off this blog? Government is not the enemy.

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  44. 2:02, it's one troll, the same one, and until his IP address is blocked, this blog sucks.

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  45. 6:17, you need something else to do. I know people have deserted their beloved Kfiles but here you remain, devoted and addicted. It doesn't yet suck enough to keep you off it.

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  46. Guys,

    I'm $30 copay from earlier today. I'm willing to accept that some unionized workers are getting screwed along with private sector worker.

    Not that that is a good thing.

    I do know a number of teachers. Many work part time. (They have ESL jobs or have one of those jammy contract jobs supposedly teaching kids with learning disabilities.) They have flexible work hours. They don't have to worry about losing their jobs. And they do leave work at 3 or 4pm. Yes, they may work in the evening, but they aren't under the axe to work until 7pm.

    Many teachers in SF are married to attorneys and business people. They *can* afford to retire early. Their pension and health benefits are a feather in the cap of these wealthy couples. Many have lived in the city for more than twenty years, own a home, and pay little property tax.

    Also, city workers are covered for things like fertility treatments and sex change operations that are unheard of for private sector workers. Those costs can run into the hundreds of thousands per patient.

    No, I haven't moved to Texas yet. Today was a beautiful day at Ocean Beach.

    6:17, maybe you don't read anything except this blog, but it's hardly one person who is fed up with the lunatic fringe in this city. I'd suggest a review of the headlines at sfgate us an update on the state of public sentiment.

    Finally, I do like KALW, but you can't expect the old majority to fund programs called things like "Dispatches from the New Majority." I got a little tired of the narrow viewpoint presented on this show and I've largely lost interest in KALW. It's unethical for the school board to be using funds meant for public schools to fund a radio station.

    Summarizing: There's still lots of frivolous spending and giant perks for public sector employees and teachers in this city. The rest of us know what is going on and we are sick of it.

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  47. Don went anonymous, but he didn't go away. I smell a sockpuppet.

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  48. Yes, the stench is unmistakable.

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  49. Don, Don Don, is there anything else you have to do than go after this guy? I'm pretty sure I am not Don. I am not Don, I have never been Don and I won't ever be Don. Where do you get off accusing everyone and anyone of being a Don sockpuppet? You have an unnatural fixation. There are other people in the world that, like Don, who are not lunatic fringe left wingnuts.

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  50. So I guess you think that the opinion of the Economist, as well as the swing to the moderate middle in this city, is all due to Don?

    Sorry, I'm not Don, but one of thousand of fed up working in the private sector and refusing to pay more tax.

    You'll see at election time.

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  51. By the way, I think you are scapegoating Don for your own irresponsible actions. Scapegoating . . . never a cool thing.

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  52. Dear World,

    Please let us someday hope to leave school at 3pm and not go in on the weekend. Also, may we enjoy those summers off without attending trainings for which we pay, teaching summer school or tutoring.

    Yours,

    E.Rat on Behalf of America's Teachers

    More seriously: but teachers DON'T have absolute job security. Nor do we have magical free health insurance or the iron-clad right to retire at 50 with full pay.

    But curiously, wouldn't it be nice if all workers could look forward to retirement with adequate benefits? Some level of job security and a decent wage with decent hours?

    I don't think that's impossible. I do think it is exceptionally difficult in a climate of I've-got-mine-too-bad-for-you, wealth concentration and a disregard for civil society.

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  53. 10:00, you hit the nail on the head. We are dealing with a lunatic, but it is not Don.

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  54. Who would willingly begrudge a comfortable retirement to a hardworking teacher?

    That isn't the point. The point is that the pensions plans are insolvent for many reasons, not the least of which is the faltering economy. Raising taxes is not going to solve that problem.

    This is not about class warfare either. It isn't about fairness or what is right in some moral sense.

    Ask yourself, why are the pension plans broke?

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  55. Why are you talking about me? The subject is the budget. I won't say that I have never posted anonymously, but I have not been part of this discussion for days.

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  56. Hi Don,

    This is "not Don." Thank you for your efforts this past year.

    I used to think you had gone to far, but now, after the re-election of Maufas, the various cases of financial corruption (I can hardly keep track of them), and the still broken school assignment system, I realize that you may be the only sane person in a nuthouse.

    Thanks for trying to be the voice of reason.

    -Not Don

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  57. My pension isn't broke, actually. Teachers will be investing more in their pension to shore up Cal-STRS, but it's not broke or on the edge of catastrophe.

    Pensions are failing for many reasons:

    *Assumption of the federal guarantee for private employer pensions led companies to stop feeding their growing obligations.
    *Pension funds over the last ten or so years began to invest increasingly heavily in higher-risk areas in search of greater returns. More pension managers were hired out of private investment banks.
    *The economy as a whole has performed poorly; this impacts pension funds' ability to grow through their investments.
    *Pension funds took big hits on fraudulent companies - Enron, for one - and on investment instruments put together by firms like Magnetar. Those instruments were designed to fail and to earn their principals money through failure. Sadly, they were sold as excellent investments.
    *Some pension funds for workers have been emptied to feed golden parachute funds for top executives.

    I could go on like this for awhile. These are all reasons for pension problems that don't get quite as much press. The attack on pension funds is not really about pension solvency, and it takes ignoring a lot of evidence to make it so.

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  58. E Rat,

    Many of us remember Enron, and know all about the poor economy and excessively risky investments of pension managers.

    Again, you opted to work in a job that had a managed pension fund. It is unfortunate that the pension fund manager for the University of California and for the Teacher's Union mismanaged funds.

    You opted to work in a job that has a managed pension fund. The person or persons who acted as your proxy failed in their duty of responsibity. The unions failed in their duty of responsibility.

    That's not the fault of private sector workers.

    Rat, you seem to lack a sense of personal responsibility.

    That won't go over well with tax payers.

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  59. 2:11: what mismanaged funds?

    We've already debunked your accusation that teachers retire at 50, and we've demolished your assertion that we get a huge pension when we do, after many more years of service, finally retire. As for your statement that we don't make medical co-payments, we've exposed that garbage to the derisive laughter that it deserved. What exactly are you blaming teachers for NOW?

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  60. I know I've written this numerous times, but the only way to get rid of trolls is to IGNORE what they write.

    Don't feed the trolls.

    I loved the tribute to Public School teachers from the GLEE winners at the Golden Globes last night!

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  61. Here's the quote:

    "I just want to say thank you to public school teachers. You don't get paid like it, but you're doing the most important work in America."
    - "Glee" co-creator Ian Brennan after winning the award for best TV comedy.


    Word.

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  62. Practice what you preach. If you want to "ignore the trolls", do so. Right now you are the troll most worthy of disregard.

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  63. "most worthy of disregard"

    his over-the-top, ridiculous, haughty use of language is pathetic.

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  64. Yah. Don't feed the trolls. They only post to upset people.

    Only idiots would think teachers in this country are overpaid.

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  65. When you say "he" who are we talking about? Am I missing something?

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  66. Troll is baiting you to use his name so he can try to sue you. Don't use his name.

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  67. Better yet, ignore him entirely, eh?

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  68. Reminds me of that movie "mean girls"

    I don't imagine a balanced person acting like this. The world is a sad place.

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  69. Don't use his name.

    He who must not be named.

    Shall we call him Voldamort?

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  70. "What war against working people? Obama was elected with the support of the labor unions. Brown was elected with the support of the labor unions."

    That's kind of like saying, "What do you mean abortion is still legal? George W. Bush was elected with the support of the pro-life community."

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  71. Ignore the troll.

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  72. Everyone has an opinion when their anonymous.

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  73. No, they're trolls, with an s.

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  74. Wow, you guys have a lot of time on your hands.

    Perhaps instead you should be writing to your union to ask them how they are going to triage pensioners when the inevitable font runs dry.

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  75. That'll keep you clucking for another twenty posts or so.

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  76. It's the lonely hearts club, with twist of lemon and a dash of bitters.

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  77. Go away, pathetic troll.

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