Patterico's Pontifications

7/7/2009

Sotomayor & Associates

Filed under: Judiciary,Obama — DRJ @ 9:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New York Times addresses Sonia Sotomayor’s legal practice in the 1980′s:

“In her questionnaire, Judge Sotomayor says she was the “owner” of Sotomayor & Associates, which she described as a consulting business she operated on the side from 1983 to 1986. During this period, she also worked, first for the Manhattan district attorney’s office and then as a member of Pavia & Harcourt, a large firm in Manhattan.

As a single practitioner, she told the Senate, she had helped “family and friends in their real estate, business and estate planning decisions.” The only other thing she has said about the practice is that if her clients “required more substantial legal representation, I referred the matter to my firm, Pavia & Harcourt, or to others with appropriate expertise.”

Sotomayor isn’t sure how many people she helped and the DAs office has waffled on whether its attorneys were allowed to do legal work on the side. But it may surprise some that one of the biggest issues in this story is the name Sotomayor chose to practice law: Sotomayor & Associates. The fact she had no associates means the name was incorrect, and the White House has issued this response:

“White House officials disagreed that the use of the name was a misstep, and they offered a written analysis by Hal R. Lieberman, a former disciplinary committee chief counsel in New York.

“Neither bar opinions nor cases to date have held that it was misleading for a sole practitioner to use the name ‘and Associates’ in such private communications,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “In fact, in the early 1980s, no rule prohibited the use of ‘and Associates’ in these circumstances and the only authority regarding the use of ‘and Associates’ in an advertising context was advisory, not mandatory, and thus not readily enforceable.”

Apparently this story was first noticed by Eric Turkewitz, a NY attorney and blogger, and he followed up with a post that suggests why the White House response focused on advisory vs mandatory actions: Because there is a 1973 New York ethics advisory opinion that says it’s misleading for a lawyer to use “& Associates” in a business name unless s/he has 2 or more associates.

Like Beldar, Turkewitz thinks this was a minor mistake but he offers some good advice that I doubt Sonia Sotomayor or the White House will take:

“Americans don’t expect saints on the bench. Humans are fallible. It’s OK to screw up once in awhile.

But don’t trot out lame excuses. Don’t try to lawyer your way out of this with being “advisory.” That is something that people won’t tolerate.”

– DRJ

150 Responses to “Sotomayor & Associates”

  1. I know so many liberal women law professors who appear to be smarter and more effective than Sotomayor, and that’s just at UT… not one of the top handful of schools.

    Why did Obama pick Sotomayor? Because she credibly promised to rule certain ways on certain decisions, whereas all these other liberal women actually would want the power and integrity of taking each case on honestly.

    Obama won’t pull a George H W Bush and nominate someone who might just rule how they really think the law intends, but against the president’s wishes. So he obviously picked some crook.

    If they are really Chicago style, they have dirt on Sotomayor. I’m probably paranoid to suspect that, but I’m not off to note that Obama did not pick the best and brightest, even within some stupid identity group.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  2. The White House statement reminds me of Al Gore’s “No controlling legal authority…”

    John (3e13e7)

  3. White House: yeah, she lied, but we have the votes, so big deal!

    I am really disappointed with this pick. I thought Ginsburg was the most brazen, but nope. I don’t care that the liberals want liberals on the bench. That’s what the election was about… they did win. I just want the judges to be smart enough to handle the enormous task.

    When I read that first Sotomayor opinion, I know I’m going to be able to drive so many dump trucks through the loopholes that Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson will be swinging off bridges to stop them.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  4. I should call this place “Patterico and Associates.” Then again, it would be accurate. And where’s the fun in that?

    Patterico (08bfcd)

  5. If you decide to change the name, we need to talk about salary. And benefits. And ISP reimbursement, vacation time, and where my name will be on the letterhead.

    On second thought, I think you should leave things the way they are.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  6. Psst… DRJ… company car, travel reimbursement, fact-finding junkets to tropical climes, performance bonuses based on links, visits, page views, etc… I’ll be glad to come up with more, just sign here making me your agent. 75/25 split (don’t read the fine print which says who gets the 75 and who gets the 25… not really important, right?)

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  7. Fox & Friends is sort of misleading too cause all the friends are mostly just doing it for the money.

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  8. It should be easy to determine if her firm was legally registered to do business. It should also be easy to determine if an employee of the DA was permitted to perform legal services outside that office.

    Cee (019734)

  9. This reminds me of an architect that my fraternity hired to renovate our chapter house. He was a solo outfit, and his firm was “John Smith,” Inc. (not his real name). When he started getting interested in renovating some of the campus sorority houses, it was suggested to him that having a woman architect on staff would help him land business. He promptly changed his name to “John Smith” & Associates, Inc., and would intimate to the sororities that he had a female business partner. In reality, he would hire a freelance architect to do one very small aspect of the house and pay her a very small portion of the total fee his firm received.

    Sotomayor may not have been as intentionally slimy as our architect, but she certainly seems to have meant to mislead every bit as much as he did.

    JVW (a8c610)

  10. But how did the house turn out?

    papertiger (2fb3dd)

  11. It doesn’t seem they have any documentation of her ever representing herself as & Associates to clients or using it to advertise or solicit or whatever it is lawyers do to get business. I’m sort of inclined to think the New York Times is setting up their dirty socialist friends in Congress with something what can demonstrate how picayune Republican objections are. It’s like Lucy and the football kind of.

    happyfeet (e8d590)

  12. But how did the house turn out?

    Oh, it only ended up costing us about twice what his original estimate was. That said, he did do pretty good work.

    JVW (a8c610)

  13. Not to worry: I’m sure a certain Nobel Peace Prize winner can coach her on the winning phrase for when this comes up at the hearings:

    [monotone] “No con-troll-ing le-gal au-thor-i-ty, Sen-a-tor.”

    M. Scott Eiland (5ccff0)

  14. It’s interesting that Sotomayor refuses to disclose her clients from that time period, or whether she disclosed her side business to where she worked as a prosecutor.

    I think there’s more to S&A than is readily apparent. Instapundit is speculating that it’s some sort of tax dodge–is this another tax cheat Obama nominee? Or was she working for improper clients while a prosecutor?

    Daryl Herbert (a32d30)

  15. Since Sotomayor “saved baseball” (according to Dear Leader), she might also want to borrow a page from Mark McGuire’s Congressional testimony about his steroid use and say, “I am not here to talk about what went on in the past, only what we can do going forward to clean this up.” That ought to hold ‘em.

    JVW (a8c610)

  16. Well, what if she had a tapeworm? And a yeast infection? And a foot fungus?

    [nk], Attorney at Law (e98769)

  17. The Law Offices of Sotomayor

    The Sotomayor Legal Group

    Sotomayor, JD and Associates in Arts

    Juan (bd4b30)

  18. When GW Bush tried to nominate an unaccomplished crony to the SC conservatives raised hell. But when Obama nominates a racist zealot the Left looks the other way. That’s the cold reality of political truth in America today.

    Ropelight (bb3af5)

  19. Once we acknowledge our rulers, acquiesece to their decrees, all will be clear. We no longer have a say over what is to happen, we must just bow and comply.

    J (5fe0a1)

  20. Obama and Sotomayor may turn out to be the worst thing that ever happened to affirmative action. I remember a few years ago when the LA Times ran a story about how the black guy who was accepted to UC David medical school in place of Bakke was working in “the inner city” while Bakke, who was later admitted to medical school, was treating “the rich.” Actually, Bakke had a middle class practice as an anesthesiologist and had always declined interviews.

    The Times’ story blew up in its face a couple of years later when the affirmative action doctor was arrested and convicted for gross negligence in what was actually a series of botched cosmetic surgery procedures.

    I wonder if Sotomayor will be the legal example of this humiliating outcome of racial spoils systems.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  21. Why do I feel like I’m in a movie? Or a Tom Clancy or Michael Crighton novel?

    North Korea internet attacks.
    Iranian nukes and revolutions.
    US soldiers bogged down in Afghanistan.
    British scientists create human sperm.
    United States nationalizes banks, auto companies, health care, etc. and sides with Chavez and Castro against a free legislature…

    It’s start to get to me. Next thing to happen, that Hadron supercollider thing will start a black hole in 2012. With any luck, if this really was a movie, the black hole would suck in the leading Democrats first before Spiderman pulled the plug.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  22. Speaking in that same vein… what we need now are the conservative ninjas, but secret paramilitary private version of the NSA with the crazy technology that fights the bad guys.

    Ah… the Google operating system. No, wait. That breaks down. Google doing battle with Microsoft is like Saruman challenging Sauron, or Obama running against Pelosi. Entertaining for a while, but “the winner will emerge more powerful than ever.”

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  23. Please forgive me. My partner bought me a 2 liter of Pepsi Max, and I think my brain is over-revving.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  24. “won’t tolerate”, huh?
    What are we going to do about it?

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  25. Comment by Ropelight — 7/8/2009 @ 5:38 am

    Given how well Alito is turning out I almost wonder if Miers nomination wasn’t some sort of brilliant tactical blunder. Maybe the left would have been able to gather enough opposition to sink Alito if he hadn’t been preceeded by such a disaster.

    Soronel Haetir (2a5236)

  26. Soronel – Kind of like how we had to endure Carter in order to get Reagan? We had to suffer Miers in order to get Alito.

    JD (6207a2)

  27. Harriet Miers shouldn’t have been picked, and yeah, she was a crony. Like Ginsburg and Sotomayer, perhaps. But man, I feel badly for that lady.

    Do I remember correctly that she selected herself? I suppose she accepted the nomination, so she accepted the anger of the right.

    But all we know is that she didn’t have great qualifications. We don’t know that she would have been a poor judge. She had a much harder job than most judges have. We do know that Sotomayor is a bad judge from her decisions, but poor Miers won’t ever get a chance to prove herself. I almost wish she were a district judge, just so we could know.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  28. … and this is an example of why Repubs/Conservatives so fail in communicating with a large percentage of the population …

    The women is an idiot but they go after a marketing flyer/method?

    Great, now Republicans not only have to be the exclusive party of marital fidelity, no drug use, and pay taxes but they also need to avoid immaterial “resume inflation” during their career.

    Again, all self imposed navel gazing standards by knuckleheads in the party.

    We will never win anything if we expect perfection of ourselves and allow the other to turn a blind eye to its imperfections.

    Perfect is the enemy of very good.

    HeavenSent (641cde)

  29. The difference between D and R is obvious in this story. Bush nominated a clearly inappropriate candidate with Harriet Miers. Even Hugh Hewitt was trying to defend her nomination but the conservative movement exploded and forced Bush to back down.

    Obama nominates a woman who was a Puerto Rican separatist and affirmative action baby (I know, Tim will show up to applaud her fake grades) and the Democrats roll over and ask for their tummies to be rubbed.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  30. I wonder how self imposed it is, heavensent. Hillary Clinton famously agreed with Alinksy that you should force your opponent to play by a different rule book.

    The GOP holds the right and the left up to these standards. The dems just don’t hold their own to many standards, ethically. if the people persist in ignore that the effect of this is well entrenched crooks on the left and occasional idiots on the right, they get the government they deserve.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  31. Some of my most pleasant memories are of drunken breast feeding.
    I am for it.

    papertiger (3cf898)

  32. Lots of concern expressed here for Ms. Sotomayor calling her private law practice “Sotomayor and Associates”. I’d simply point out that there are a lot of big firm lawyers out there working in offices where the “names on the door” passed away more than 50 years ago. Maybe Sotomayor’s “associate” was her pet cat.

    I’m not too concerned about a county prosecutor running a private civil law practice on the side. If I were a partner in the civil law firm she worked for, I’d be concerned about it. Conveniently, the law firm supervisor who might have approved it, had he been informed, has passed away.

    It would be interesting to see Ms. Sotomayor’s tax returns for those years to see if she was claiming a home office deduction while she had a nice office in the law firm–but conveniently, those tax returns are “not available”.

    So a possible ethical problem “Sotomayor & Associates”, a possible conflict of interest between her civil law practice “on the side” and her duty to her employer, and a possible tax problem. Nothing to see here folks, move on.

    In fairness, these issues, to the extent they actually exist, are relatively minor. It ain’t the crime, it’s the coverup that will kill you.

    Mike Myers (674050)

  33. Mike, I am more concerned with Sotomayor’s racism and her crazy judgments. you’re right that this is relatively minor.

    But I think that there is something fundamentally wrong with a solo attorney pretending to represent a firm with peers. Some deception of the client is occurring that isn’t occurring when I go to Baker Botts and Howard Baker doesn’t personally vet my case.

    I also think the working on the side issue is extremely important. Conflicts of issue are a big deal with democrats these days. Dodd and Rangel and Frank are just the extreme end of the problem… it’s a universal problem. Does Sotomayor care about working for her personal check while carrying a respectable public title? That’s important to me. I want to know that she won’t be taking on cases or even advising clients behind closed doors in ten years. I know how absurd that sounds, but it’s important.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  34. Does the name Abe Fortas ring a bell?

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  35. Somehow, I was ignorant of that, AD. Man, LBJ sure was a great little disaster.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  36. Lyndon wrote the book on how to control the Hill, and he did quite well for himself in the process.

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  37. OT
    The Rasmussen Reports polling organization finds that 37% “strongly disapprove” of the job Obama is doing as president, while 32% “strongly approve,” for a net approval rating of -5.

    0bama is now -5bama.

    Official Internet Data Office (5038de)

  38. 0bama is now -5bama
    Or, as he was referred to over at Chicago Boyz…
    J.Danforth Obama!

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  39. The Russia comment he made is really pretty foolish. Putin must wonder what the hell has happened to America.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  40. So will she have a little side job if on the Supreme Court? She’s on the public payroll and she still had a part time job? How many of her public clients did she steer to her own shop? This is weird.

    KateC (200253)

  41. to be honest, I kinda thought Obama’s little quip was funny. Russians are too proud of their history, especially at the top.

    Of course, I would want to be a little antagonistic while Obama’s trying to apologize, so I guess… for Obama, his funny statement was just clumsiness.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  42. Slightly off topic but David Frum’s site has finally jumped the shark. They have a whole thread about why conservatives are racist because they don’t like Obama. I swear I haven’t seen anything this bad on Washington Monthly.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  43. Sotomayor is an example of why I get so damn ticked at the variety of people who say that because, for example, a John McCain isn’t perfect from A to Z (and he wasn’t), therefore why bother in lifting a finger to put a non-Democrat (I won’t even say Republican) in the White House?

    The influence that Obama will have on the nation’s judiciary, from the Supreme Court on down to the lower levels of the system, will be a gift — a very big smelly one — that keeps on giving, for years to come.

    There still are nonsensical judges making foolish rulings today who date back to the era of Jimmy Carter—judges who were appointed by him. Of course, not helping matters is that even a person of the right (eg, George Bush Sr) can make boneheaded decisions, such as the selection of stealth nominee David Souter to the courts. Or Bush’s son playing another game of chicken by wanting to choose another person of stealth qualities, referring to Harriett Miers.

    So if it can be bad and dicey with a Bush, imagine how much worse — far worse — it will be with an Obama.

    Mark (411533)

  44. The worse part is that even if the GOP is able to derail the Sotomayer nomination (a longshot), there will be so many other like-minded nominations to the District and Circuit levels that will just be rubber-stamped by the Senate, we will have to fight this gaggle of imbeciles for a generation – just as we’ve fought the legacies of Jimmah for a generation.
    Elections DO have consequences!

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  45. And when it comes to a gift — a big, smelly one — that keeps on giving, Bill Clinton shouldn’t be left out of the equation.

    There was a federal judge in LA who ruled awhile ago (in favor of the ACLU, btw) that homeless people pretty much had a right to free and full reign on the public sidewalks of the city. That even modest efforts by police to modify the behavior of such people was cruel, mean, horrible, unconstitutional!

    That judge was an appointee of (drum roll, please) Bill Clinton.

    Mark (411533)

  46. David Frum’s site has finally jumped the shark.

    Their racist theme is projection unleashed. Again.

    Vermont Neighbor (4126d0)

  47. Dewey, Cheetham, & Howe & Sotomayor…The Wise Latina and her Associates.

    Joe (a32cff)

  48. We don’t see any problem with this.

    carlitos and associates (730478)

  49. RACIST SEXIST MISOGYNISTIC HOMOPHOBIC JINGOISTIC XENOPHOBIC IMPERIALISTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    JD (2ff242)

  50. Yeah, Sonya, don’t B.S.’em. Tell it straight.
    Like your soon-to-be colleague Clarence, a serious Catholic who went to Jesuit school and Yale Law School in the 70s and never, ever, had any discussion about Roe v. Wade and the law and abortion or any of that stuff.
    Wasn’t on his radar.
    Nosiree!

    Larry Reilly (45e7a4)

  51. Larry shows the usual Democrat response to whenever their nominees have tax problems: Hey look in the sky!

    SPQR (72771e)

  52. Mawy is well and truly estupido, no?

    JD (2de17f)

  53. Clarence?

    He’s the bad guy in his confirmation process?

    Larry reilly, Sotomayor is a liar. We all know it. It’s not Justice Thomas’s fault that Sotomayor is a fraud, probably a tax cheat, and probably unethical. Oh, and a racist dolt.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  54. Is Larry Reilly & Associates a roomful of mental midgets, or the sounds of the voices in his head singing in unison?

    JD (2ff242)

  55. If Mawy Reilly and International Man of Parody hung out together, would their collective IQ double, or would they degrade the surrounding collective IQ to the point that anyone that came in contact with them would be instantly reduced to their level? In short, does estupido like that have its own gravitational pull?

    JD (e8146d)

  56. JD, please remind me how to add negative numbers, again!

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  57. “He’s the bad guy in his confirmation process?”

    Bad? A guy who never had a conversation about Roe v. Wade is GOOD!

    imdw (017d51)

  58. Add imdw to that gravitational pull, except it is intentionally disingenuous, rather than blissfully ignorant like Mawy and IMP.

    JD (3138f3)

  59. Since the Senate Judiciary Cmte likes to “torture” witnesses until they say what the cmte wants to hear, then Judge Thomas found a way of not discussing any hypotheticals of Roe with the cmte.
    One can’t reveal what discussions one has had, if one hasn’t had any.
    At any rate, no Senator came forward with the names of any contradictory witnesses to the Judge’s assertion, so it would seem that it lay within the realm of probability, and those who constantly revisit it are without credible arguments.

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  60. Comment by JD — 7/8/2009 @ 4:22 pm

    BTW, how can something with negative mass have any gravitational pull?

    AD - RtR/OS! (685f75)

  61. #25, et al, at first reading I passed over the notion of Harriet Miers as a stalking horse, but the notion was worthy of a second look. However, my conclusion is no, the eventual outcome notwithstanding, Miers was a major blunder and it falls squarely on the shoulders of GW Bush.

    His foolish nomination, compounded by insulting and wrong-headed attempts of force her on an obviously opposed constituency resulted in an open split with the Conservative wing of the party from which it has yet to recover. No clever “prime the pump” dodge is worth 2% of the cost in trust and support.

    As for the “wise Latina,” she’s been reversed 9 out of the last 10 times the Supreme Court has reviewed her recent decisions. She’s a one trick pony, her idea of “wisdom” is nothing less than the re-institutionalization of racism, only this time with guys like me on the back of the bus.

    Ropelight (bb3af5)

  62. Soronel – Kind of like how we had to endure Carter in order to get Reagan?

    No, more like how we had to endure Bush to get Obama.

    Myron (98529a)

  63. Well, Myron, now that we are seeing Obama adopt Bush’s policies, like indefinite detention of terrorists, how is that working for you?

    SPQR (72771e)

  64. SPQR: I’ll admit I don’t like some of it.

    Myron (98529a)

  65. Wasn’t on his radar.
    Nosiree!

    Comment by Larry Reilly — 7/8/2009 @ 1:58 pm

    Maybe there are some black people who love their babies and want to raise them? As opposed to [a word Patterico doe not like] who call parents “breeder”?

    nk (57f631)

  66. And I’ll hasten to add, I wish Obama were more like Bush in at least one area: Rolling over opposition in Congress.

    Bush passed his outrageous tax cuts for the wealthy through reconciliation. There is no reason why Obama — with more Democrats than Bush ever had Republicans in the Senate — cannot do the same on all these bills.

    For instance, that we are actually debating whether to include a public option (which the public wants)in the health care bill, when there are 60 Senate Democrats — I see as the height of absurdity. Push it through! Elections matter etc. etc.

    Bush II would not pussy-foot around with these kinds of numbers on his side. Can we all agree on that?

    Myron (98529a)

  67. No, Myron, we don’t agree. Mostly because you are misrepresenting everything. Ignoring the dishonest “outrageous tax cuts for the wealthy”, Bush had far more bipartisan support for the bills you falsely claim were “rolled over opposition” than Obama is able to generate.

    Obama – who claimed to be a “new” kind of leader – has shown no interest and no ability to gather any kind of bipartisan support for any initiatives. And even more to the point, Obama has not actually presented any initiatives to Congress. Instead, Obama claims as his own what are in fact initiatives constructed entirely by Congress with no substance from him at all.

    SPQR (72771e)

  68. initiatives constructed entirely by Congress with no substance from him at all

    I think it’s somewhat difficult to tell how much work is going on behind the scenes between the administration and the Congressional leadership, and we’ll have to wait for the next round of tell-all books to be sure if this is true.

    That said, I’m actually all in favor of this. I’m a firm believer in the notion that Congress is the body which represents the people and from which laws should initiate, and that the modern practice of presidents designing initiatives and pushing them through Congress is not the way the system was intended to work.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  69. SPQR: If you won’t acknowledge facts — for instance, that Bush pushed through the ridiculous tax cuts (during war time) on reconciliation, then we won’t see eye to eye. Look it up. Use “The Google.” If you want to engage in fiction, I’m not your guy.

    As for your OPINION on Obama’s seeking bipartisanship, I have a polar opposite OPINION. I think he is bipartisan to a fault and seeks it even when it makes no sense.

    When the other side is thick-headed and has as its only goal crashing any kind of legislation, I see absolutely no reason to seek bipartisanship for bipartisanship’s sake.

    The GOP default position is indistinguishable from their leader Rush’s: “I hope he fails.” They will demonize anything that does manage to pass, so it’s best to ram through a strong bill and let that be demonized than give away the store to get a handful of Republican votes.

    If a bill works, no one remembers the numbers who passed it on other side. Ask the average American what the vote was on Social Security.

    Myron (98529a)

  70. Myron, its pretty clear who is not acknowledging facts. And it ain’t me. “bipartisan to a fault” … that’s just mindboggling that you’d even write that. Its not adding to your credibility I assure you.

    Alpharel, indeed but not consistent IMO with how Obama is trying to present things like the stimulus bill and health care reform as being “his”.

    SPQR (72771e)

  71. ” … that’s just mindboggling that you’d even write that …”

    Uh, yeah, we share different OPINIONS. I’m equally incredulous of your view. Ain’t that America, you and me.

    Myron (98529a)

  72. ” … how Obama is trying to present things like the stimulus bill and health care reform as being “his”.

    Obama is definitely the first president in history to do this. There is nothing that guy won’t try.

    Whatever.

    Myron (98529a)

  73. myron, those ridiculous tax cuts resulted in increased revenue.

    I agree with a couple of your points, but come on, Obama isn’t bipartisan at all! Name one controversial bill he passed that he significantly altered to suit the minority?

    Juan (bd4b30)

  74. Myron, the bulk of the Bush tax cuts “for the wealthy” (i.e., the people in America who actually, you know, pay taxes) were passed by Congress in June of 2001, before the September 11 attacks and the beginning of the Global War on Terror. For you to pretend that they came “during wartime” is dishonest.

    JVW (f8d5c0)

  75. Bush passed his outrageous tax cuts for the wealthy through reconciliation. There is no reason why Obama — with more Democrats than Bush ever had Republicans in the Senate — cannot do the same on all these bills.

    While I’m no expert on these things, I think reconciliation bills expire after 10 years. Like Bush’s tax cuts. Somehow I don’t think Obama wants that on his healthcare plan.

    I think he is bipartisan to a fault and seeks it even when it makes no sense.

    What’s an example of that? It would have to be something where he has the votes but modifies something to satisfy the Republicans. Otherwise you’re just spouting hot air.

    If you want an example of bipartisanship by Bush you could start with his “No Child Left Behind” ed bill. It was largely Kennedy’s handiwork.

    Gerald A (138c50)

  76. Myron, I’m sure that those strawmen enjoy diving to the canvas for you. I’d hardly ever claim that Obama was the first to claim credit for others’ efforts. I do believe that he does it to an extraordinary, and brazen, degree.

    SPQR (72771e)

  77. Juan: The stimulus. Do you recall that the bill once hovered around $1.2 trillion? (And many economists thought it was whittled down to where it was too small to turn the economy?)

    It is estimated that if Franken had been on the Senate, and Obama had not had to court Susan Collins, that would have added back $30 billion right there.

    I pay taxes and do pretty well, but did not get a tax cut. So, R.I.P. that right-wing meme.

    Myron (98529a)

  78. Juan: The stimulus. Do you recall that the bill once hovered around $1.2 trillion? (And many economists thought it was whittled down to where it was too small to turn the economy?)

    It is estimated that if Franken had been on the Senate, and Obama had not had to court Susan Collins, that would have added back $30 billion right there.

    And JVW: I pay taxes and do pretty well, but did not get a tax cut. So, R.I.P. that right-wing meme.

    Myron (98529a)

  79. Myron, you probably just didn’t know you got a tax cut. You deserved one, so if you didn’t get one you have a right to be irritated about it.

    I disagree that Obama catered to the GOP on the stimulus bill. I also don’t think economists think it was too small… just that it was stupid. Most of the crap it does takes place after the ‘emergency we have to pass it now OMG OMG OMG’ period. A lot of it is not going to add any long term jobs. I don’t think Obama whittled it down at all… I know that when the bill went to conference committee to ‘make it bipartisan’ that it grew slightly.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  80. Myron, IRS’ figures show that the tax cut went across all of the tax brackets, so that’s yet another “fact” you are misrepresenting.

    And not for the first time.

    SPQR (72771e)

  81. Myron and aphrael, I am all for Obama taking credit for those unread bills that were passed. The Democrats in Congress can take all they want, too. I think they are disasters and the credit will be an albatross by November 2010. We will see what happens and we can all discuss the reasons.

    There is a reason why a near-majority of Democrats favor socialism now. I think a lot of them are kids. One is one of mine who is getting married this afternoon. She is a great person but she has no idea of how people earn a living. She and her husband are going back to grad school this fall. As long as I am alive, they will have a cushion between them and reality.

    When I say “kids” I include everyone who is still living off parents and, these days, that goes up to about 35 and maybe more.

    Maybe if I had had such a cushion, I would still be a Democrat, as I was when I was 18. I can remembering thinking, during the 1956 election, that “if the world could vote in our election, they would vote for Stevenson.” I was right, too. It took an economics course plus being on my own from that age on that made me a conservative.

    My daughter wants her own kids and I think marriage and children will someday make her as conservative as her sister-in-law is. She is raising three of the cutest kids you ever saw and she is well to the right of me !

    I just worry that those three grandchildren, and any others that come along, will have to live with the consequences of what Obama and the DEmocrats are doing now.

    Myron and aphrael, do you think California is a preview of Obama’s American economy or is it a unique situation ? Why do you think Texas has largely escaped the severe economic downturn ?

    I don’t think there could be a clearer contrast but I do wonder how the left interprets this. They must have some explanation.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  82. Myron, how many republicans even voted for the bill you hoisted as your best example of how Obama is bipartisan to a fault?

    2?

    Juan (bd4b30)

  83. Myron, to amplify SPQR’s comment at 1:09, here is how the tax brackets changed:

    * a new 10% bracket was created for single filers with taxable income up to $6,000, joint filers up to $12,000, and heads of households up to $10,000.
    * the 15% bracket’s lower threshold was indexed to the new 10% bracket
    * the 28% bracket was lowered to 25%
    * the 31% bracket was lowered to 28%
    * the 36% bracket was lowered to 33%
    * the 39.6% bracket was lowered to 35%

    If you did not get a tax cut, then your accountant (or whoever prepares you taxes) must be an idiot. Or, you did get a tax cut and are too blinded by Bush hatred to admit it.

    JVW (f8d5c0)

  84. To amplify JVW’s, this link shows data across various segments of taxpayers. There, table 8 shows – if you compare by tax year from 2000 onward, that everyone paid a lower percentage of AGI in taxes even the bottom half of taxpayers.

    Myron has no real connection to “facts” in his many opinions.

    SPQR (72771e)

  85. JVW, it’s possible that Myron was already below the treshhold for income tax. 15 hours a week at your local McD’s will do that….

    Steverino (69d941)

  86. You see, Myron, this nonsense about taxes was something you threw in, a complete non sequitur, to show how much you knew that reality just did not match those “GOP memes”.

    But like every single time you play this game, the actual factual situation is that it is you who are ignorant, and have opinions without a factual foundation.

    Every time, Myron.

    Its getting old. So you need to do a couple of things, Myron, the first is to quit thinking your opinions have any basis. The second is to quit thinking that introducing thread hijacking makes you look smart. It has always failed to do that.

    SPQR (72771e)

  87. Come on, Myron. You know you want to call everyone racists.

    JD (42a8c3)

  88. No, he doesn’t. He wants Obama to relieve that tingle has up his leg.

    nk (57f631)

  89. Why do you think Texas has largely escaped the severe economic downturn ?

    I don’t know enough about Texas’ economy to comment on whether it’s escaped the downturn or not.

    I know that California was unusually badly hit by the property bubble, meaning that we’re experiencing an unholy collision of collapsing property values and reduced consumer demand (because all those people whose property values are collapsing just aren’t going to spend as much), and my sense is that Texas didn’t experience as much of an absurd boom in property values as we did.

    That is to say: I think the problems with California’s economy are largely the result of dumb decisions made by people who got caught up in the excitement of the property bubble. They’re not really related to the problems with the state budget except insofar as the economic downturn makes the budget problems worse.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  90. Texas has not “escaped” the economic downturn. Its state govt finances are in better shape than California’s.

    SPQR (72771e)

  91. Remember, to a die-hard Dem/Leftist (redundancy alert), anyone with a job is “Rich”.
    It just galls them to all get-out that the tax reduction went to all tax-payers, and resulted in economic expansion, and increased revenues for the Government.
    So, they lie, to attempt to obfuscate all of those inconvenient truths.

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  92. Comment by aphrael — 7/9/2009 @ 2:43 pm

    CA’s real problem is that the Dem dominated Legislature is incapable of keeping the credit-card in their pocket.
    If they had only increased expenditures since 2000 by the rate of population increase + inflation, the State would have a $12B+ SURPLUS!

    It’s not a revenue problem, it’s a spending problem!!!

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  93. It’s so easy to spend spend spend when times are good.

    that’s partly why so many people had overpriced houses, too. In Texas, people seem to just be smarter about their money. There are a few examples of ridiculously overpriced homes (Southlake, TX’s brownstones are a great example), but by and large, expensive homes here are enormous and should be expensive.

    California also likes to play the blame game. The dems blame the governor who blames the dems and everyone blames the referendums. In Texas, democrats and republicans better play nice together, or they will be cast out with speed.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  94. Myron appears to get the terms fact and opinion confuzzled.

    JD (a5b324)

  95. AD,
    According to the 2000 final budget summary,

    total general fund expenses: 78,815,938,057
    total budget: 99,424,137,212

    According to the 2009-09 budget summary,

    total general fund expenses: 103,400,760,000
    total budget: 144,489,190,000

    from these you can derive net increase:
    total general fund expenses: 103,400,760,000-78,715,938,057==24,684,821,943=31.35% growth
    total budget: 144,489,190,000-99,424,137,212 = 45,065,052,788 = 45.32% growth

    according to inflationdata.com, the CPI was 172.4 in jun of 2000 and 218.815 in june of 2008. that’s a total of 26.92% over the seven years.

    according to quickfacts about the census, California’s population has increased by 8.5% between 2000 and 2008.

    So: CPI and inflation combined would give you 35.42%. General fund expenses went up 31.35%.

    It looks to me like the numbers say that general fund increases were less than inflation plus population growth over the period 2000-2008.

    Now, you’re right that total budget growth was more than inflation + cpi. But inflation + cpi would give you a total 2008 budget of 134,640,166,612 as against an actual budget of 144,489,190,000; the expected budget gap is larger than that gap.

    Meaning that we’d still have a problem – albeit a smaller one – if total growth had mirrored inflation + cpi.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  96. the interesting next question is ‘what spending is outside of the general fund and why did it increase so much’.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  97. All of that math just to show there is a fundamental spending problem in CA ? ;-)

    JD (a5b324)

  98. JD: all of that math to refute a specific incorrect claim. According to those numbers, general fund spending is below inflation/population growth over the period since 2000, and total spending is within 10% of inflation/population growth over that period.

    Spending is part of the problem. But the numbers show that our spending is nowhere near as unhinged as people like AD would like to portray it as.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  99. I was joking, aphrael. You and AD both appear to be right, just depends on if you look at general fund or total budget.

    JD (a5b324)

  100. This is distracting me from several Barcky drives in a row. Thank Allah for good wedge play and a magical new flatstick.

    JD (a5b324)

  101. It gets better, though.

    This chart seems to demonstrate that most of the non-general-fund growth was a growth in federal spending funnelled through the state.

    2000 budget, total, non-federal funds: 96,381.5
    2008 budget, total, non-federal funds: 136,167.9

    total budget growth excluding federal funds: 41.28%.

    This is 5.86% more than cpi + population growth.

    So AD’s claim is just flat wrong: it says that if California had spent $130,519,000,000 instead of $136,167,900,000, we’d have a $12 billion surplus. But that can’t be unless we have a $6 billion surplus now, which we do not.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  102. The numbers I have seen used an inflation number indexed for CA, which was less than the nation-wide CPI. The WSJ has hashed this out pretty thoroughly, and they show current revenue being in excess of expenditures if those expenditures are indexed for growth since 2000.
    I’ll rely on their numbers, they have a few more resources than I do for research.
    Plus, there are some pretty frightening numbers for the growth of state employees over and above any reasonable growth. That, plus the excess of 5000 retired government workers drawing retirement dollars in excess of $100K!
    The numbers are just unjustifiable.

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  103. AD – RtR/OS: Do you have a link to the data you are using? I’m skeptical for a number of reasons about state-level CPI calculations, but i’m interested to see the data.

    some pretty frightening numbers for the growth of state employees over and above any reasonable growth

    again, got a link? :)

    the excess of 5000 retired government workers drawing retirement dollars in excess of $100K

    OK, I agree that there’s a problem there. But … those 5000 workers could each be taking home $1 million a year and it would still be smaller than the scope of the problem.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  104. Note that the California Department of Industrial Relations chart on California inflation, which gives different numbers for “all urban consumers” and “urban wage earners and clerical workers”, a distinction I don’t understand, shows the following numbers:

    June 2000: 174 167.4
    June 2008 228.324 221.798

    total growth: 54.324 54.398
    percentage growth: 31.26 32.49

    that’s a higher rate of inflation than the number given by the federal CPI. Of course, some of that difference is probably attributable to higher-than-average growth in the cost of land.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  105. I can’t easily find figures on comparing state employees in 2000 to state employees in 2008, but this claims that California’s employee:population ratio is 103:10,000, as opposed to a ratio in Texas of 122:10,000 and a nationwide ratio of 143:10,000.

    It’s not clear to me how these numbers factor in local government employees, which means they may well be meaningless.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  106. I’m looking back through my mailboxes for that data; so, No, at this time I don’t have a link, but you can find more info at various times over at Hot Air, Instapundit, and PJ media.

    Just today I saw a link to CAlPers that contained that info about retirees. We have a real problem now due to the 3%/30-yr formula that was initially only for public-safety workers, but has been extended to almost everyone in civil-service. Then, when you get the overtime manipulation that goes on to jack-up salary levels for retirement purposes, you have people hijacking the system for some significant bucks.
    Here in LACo, in the City of Vernon, there is a retiree who is drawing $487K – I dare you to justify that!

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  107. there is a retiree who is drawing $487K – I dare you to justify that!

    I can’t. :)

    I’m not quibbling with anything you’ve said about retirees and pensions; I’m quibbling with your assertions about the overall budget numbers.

    As far as I can see, using information cobbled together from the state department of finance, the census bureau, and the state department of industrial relations, the numbers you are relying on are simply wrong.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  108. The problem with trying to “correct” pensions and retirement benefits is that most people haven’t “gamed” the system. They had a reasonable expectation that the benefits promised would be available once they retired.

    If President Obama and a Dem-controlled legislature suddenly decided that military retirees were overpaid and needed correction, I think there might be some objection from conservatives. Or the AIG bonuses that were reneged on when the people who stayed on to steer things were demonized by the administration and the press (but I repeat myself). Just because it’s not our ox being gored doesn’t mean that it’s okay. Make corrections to retirement benefits if they’re needed, just don’t do it after the fact.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  109. Aphrael, here’s a recent article that might help:

    http://reason.com/news/show/134445.html.

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  110. in the City of Vernon

    as an aside, Vernon appears to me to be a scam; it has a population of 91, almost all of the housing is city owned; a few years ago someone who had the temerity to run against the incumbent city council was evicted.

    I don’t know that it’s fair to consider anything about the government of Vernon as representative of anywhere else.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  111. AD, that’s an opinion piece with no numbers whatsoever except for numbers about the state’s pension fund.

    It’s not particularly persuasive when stacked up against the actual numbers reported by the agencies involved.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  112. Comment by Stashiu3 — 7/9/2009 @ 4:49 pm

    The problem with our pension mess here in CA is that it is driving municipal and county governments into BK…see recent articles about Vallejo CA and San Diego CA…plus firefighter pensions in Orange Co.

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  113. Hey, I’m just a news reader. You seem to have the talent for research, you find it – it’s out there.

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  114. AD – i’ve found numbers that demonstrate your claim to be wrong.

    I don’t think that it’s my responsibility to then find numbers which support your claim. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  115. The problem with our pension mess here in CA is that it is driving municipal and county governments into BK…see recent articles about Vallejo CA and San Diego CA…plus firefighter pensions in Orange Co.
    Comment by AD – RtR/OS! — 7/9/2009 @ 4:56 pm

    Your position seems to be that pensions are discretionary spending. I disagree. Gasoline is discretionary in that I can always walk, ride a bike, bum a ride, or just stay home. Not buying gasoline would be extremely inconvenient, but it is a lower priority than food or mortgage money. The commitment to pensions has to be met before truly discretionary monies are spent. Until everything else is cut to the bone, messing with those pensions is wrong.

    I expect aphrael is more correct on this in that pensions are not the real problem overall. More a drop in the bucket compared to other wasteful spending that occurs.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  116. Well, if my numbers are wrong, then CA govt is in peachy shape, and no drastic corrective action needs to be taken, and this entire drama going on in Sacramento is just for the cameras.
    Or, the numbers you’ve been reading in the Bee, or Mercury-News, are just pro-big govt propaganda spun by the Dems and their useful-idiot media accolytes, and we really have a problem, one that has been pointed out by Tom McClintock for virtually his entire career in Sacramento, before he left for DC.
    But, now that one of the rating agencies has down-graded CA to BBB, and the cost of financing whatever debt we can float is going to go up, everything will again be unicorns and bunnies, as government becomes even more unaffordable.
    But, it’s not my problem. Whatever they do probably won’t catch up to me as I’ll be out of here in about 18-months.
    Enjoy Paradise!

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  117. Stashiu3: except insofar as the pension fund is not fully funded (but, whose is?), the talk I’m seeing about pension reform in California is entirely focused on changing the rules for new employees, not retroactively changing the rules for existing retirees.

    I cannot imagine retroactively changing the rules for existing retirees working; it would provoke an enormous political backlash.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  118. Well, if my numbers are wrong, then CA govt is in peachy shape

    Nobody is claiming California government is in peachy shape.

    this entire drama going on in Sacramento is just for the cameras

    Saying that spending has not increased significantly beyond CPI + population growth is not the same thing as saying that expenditures are not significantly more than revenues. These are different claims entirely.

    the numbers you’ve been reading in the Bee, or Mercury-News

    I’m reading numbers released by the government agencies charged with releasing the statistics in question; i’m not relying on reporters here. If you wish to challenge their veracity, that’s fine, but if the official government numbers are invalid, then we have no way of knowing what’s going on whatsoever.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  119. Comment by Stashiu3 — 7/9/2009 @ 5:06 pm

    Discretionary, excretionary…
    My Heartburn is that elected officials granted these excessive retirement packages to the public-employee unions to do two things: buy labor peace, and re-election votes; and they had no appearant concern for what the costs were going to be, and/or just lied about it.

    But, if those costs (by law) have to be paid, nothing says that we have to keep on the public payroll tens of thousands of employees when their RIF will enable the state to balance the books.

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  120. aphrael,

    I think that is exactly what they are talking about, just like with the AIG bonuses.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  121. “..but if the official government numbers are invalid, then we have no way of knowing what’s going on whatsoever.”

    BINGO!

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  122. But, if those costs (by law) have to be paid, nothing says that we have to keep on the public payroll tens of thousands of employees when their RIF will enable the state to balance the books.
    Comment by AD – RtR/OS! — 7/9/2009 @ 5:15 pm

    I’m all for that. Should be nationwide too. Any shortfall in budget comes out of personnel costs. It might not shrink government, but at least it might help keep it from growing even larger.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  123. Looking at numbers available from the Legislative Analyst’s analysis of the budget for 2008 and 2000, the following numbers arise with respect to revenue:

    In 2000, California’s general fund revenue was 79.4 billion, while total revenues were 96.9 billion. difference: 17.5, 22.0%

    In 2000, California’s general fund revenue was 102.9 billion, while total revenues were 129.8 billion. difference: 26.9, 26.14%.

    Per the numbers in comment 95 above, general fund expenditures increased by 31.35%, which was less than inflation + pop growth, but per these numbers, general fund revenue went up by 22%.

    Per the numbers in comment 101 above, spending outside of federal funds went up by 41.28%, but per the numbers in this comment, general+special fund revenue went up by 26%. [these numbers are not strictly comparable as the 'spending' numbers include increase in bond fund spending].

    looks to me like the problem in California is that spending went up by a reasonable amount but that revenue didn’t go up to match.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  124. AD, at 121: so, if you don’t believe the official numbers about how much the state is spending, what inflation is, and what the population is, what do you use? How do you determine that “If they had only increased expenditures since 2000 by the rate of population increase + inflation, the State would have a $12B+ SURPLUS!”?

    I’m really at a loss here.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  125. Stashiu3, at 120: if so, it hasn’t made it into the California press.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  126. Sorry, my numbers in 123 are bad.

    I calculated the percentage difference between total and general.

    2000: general fund: 79.4, total: 96.9
    2008: general fund, 102.9, total 129.8
    difference: general fund 23.5, total 32.9
    percentage difference: general fund 29.5, 33.9.

    does not change my point that in both cases: (a) revenue growth was less than expenditure growth, and (b) revenue growth was less than CPI+pop. Nor does it change my point from above that (a) expenditure growth in the general fund was less than CPI+pop.

    But if I’m going to talk about this it’s important that my calculations be correct. My apologies for the error.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  127. it hasn’t made it into the California press.
    Comment by aphrael — 7/9/2009 @ 5:28 pm

    I don’t think it’s the legislatures pushing for it, they’re the ones being pushed. Unfortunately, I think it’s conservatives doing the pushing.

    That, plus the excess of 5000 retired government workers drawing retirement dollars in excess of $100K!
    The numbers are just unjustifiable.
    Comment by AD – RtR/OS! — 7/9/2009 @ 4:25 pm

    And that’s why I think it. If you’re right and I’m wrong (wouldn’t be the first time ;) ) then great. If not, I wanted the objection out there. Contracts should be honored, even if there is political pressure to change the rules. We’ve seen it happen with AIG. I’ve seen it happen with Ford Motor, believe it or not. They have changed retirement benefits (for the worse) more than once since my father retired. I find it a horrible betrayal of trust. We’ve always purchased Fords until now, but why should we remain loyal to them when they’ve broken trust with my father? The upside is it will make my oldest son very happy because he wanted something besides a Ford when we next buy a vehicle.

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  128. No, I don’t believe the numbers put out by Sacramento, not in the least.
    This state should undergo a complete audit, top to bottom, to find out where the money is going, and to whom. I actually pray that they get thrown into receivership so that we, the taxpayers, can finally get some reliable information on what has been going on up there.
    Another complication that they have to deal with is a news report stating that revenues to Sacramento for the current FY will probably be less than last year, due to the economy.
    Of course, the Legislature is staying on top of this and passing revisions to the budget scaling back the legislated increases (base-line budgeting, and all) to reflect the new revenue levels…NOT!

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  129. Here is what Tom McClintock said on 2/12/2002 – I don’t think anything has really changed since then, except the numbers have gotten worse:
    “… If state spending had increased in line with the original Gann limit over the past three years, the budget would still have grown 13%, but instead of a $12 billion deficit, California would be
    enjoying a $28 billion surplus…”

    https://www.votesmart.org/speech_detail.php?sc_id=91264&keyword=&phrase=&contain=
    …and this was seven years ago.
    Another interview he gave to ReasonTV brought out that inflation adjusted, per-capita spending in CA has grown in one generation from $1393 to $2422, and yet the schools perform at a lower level, the roads are breaking up, and we spend almost twice as much per prisoner to incarcerate people.
    http://reason.tv/video/show/783.html

    AD - RtR/OS! (fea34c)

  130. No, I don’t believe the numbers put out by Sacramento, not in the least.

    Who do you believe has a better idea how much the state is spending than the state agency tasked with keeping track of spending?

    I mean, there are really three choices. (a) we can say that the state’s number is flawed but better than anything else, so we’ll go with it; (b) we can say that someone else has a better number, so we’ll go with that; or (c) we can say that nobody has any numbers which are at all reasonable so we’ll just make up stuff which sounds good (and which happens to fit with our particular prejudices).

    I’m going with (a). I hope that you’re going with (b) but it really seems like you’re going with (c).

    Please note that an audit sounds like a wonderful idea. I’d happily vote for a ballot measure to require the state to open its books to an external auditor.

    per-capita spending in CA has grown in one generation from $1393 to $2422

    That’s completely beleivable.

    The chart from comment #101 says that the 1976 state budget was 12.535 billion, federal funds excluded. The 2006 state budget was 129.968 billion, a growth of 117.433 billion, or 936.84%.

    The CPI chart I referenced above shows that the CPI was 56.8 in 1976 and 202.9 in 2006, a difference of 146.1, or 257.21%.

    This population growth chart says that population in 1976 was 21,934,000 and in 2006 was 36,121,296, a growth of 14,187,296, or 64.68%.

    If you take the 12.535 billion from 1976 and adjust it for inflation and then for population growth, you get 52.168 billion. So if we’d just taken 1976 numbers and extended them to now, our budget would be slightly more half of what it is now.

    But the overwhelming majority of that growth happened before 2000.

    aphrael (4163e2)

  131. Apparently comments from me at this location go into the spam filter. :{

    aphrael (4163e2)

  132. OK, trying this again.

    No, I don’t believe the numbers put out by Sacramento, not in the least.

    Who do you believe has a better idea how much the state is spending than the state agency tasked with keeping track of spending?

    I mean, there are really three choices. (a) we can say that the state’s number is flawed but better than anything else, so we’ll go with it; (b) we can say that someone else has a better number, so we’ll go with that; or (c) we can say that nobody has any numbers which are at all reasonable so we’ll just make up stuff which sounds good (and which happens to fit with our particular prejudices).

    I’m going with (a). I hope that you’re going with (b) but it really seems like you’re going with (c).

    Please note that an audit sounds like a wonderful idea. I’d happily vote for a ballot measure to require the state to open its books to an external auditor.

    per-capita spending in CA has grown in one generation from $1393 to $2422

    That’s completely beleivable.

    The chart from comment #101 says that the 1976 state budget was 12.535 billion, federal funds excluded. The 2006 state budget was 129.968 billion, a growth of 117.433 billion, or 936.84%.

    The CPI chart I referenced above shows that the CPI was 56.8 in 1976 and 202.9 in 2006, a difference of 146.1, or 257.21%.

    This population growth chart says that population in 1976 was 21,934,000 and in 2006 was 36,121,296, a growth of 14,187,296, or 64.68%.

    If you take the 12.535 billion from 1976 and adjust it for inflation and then for population growth, you get 52.168 billion. So if we’d just taken 1976 numbers and extended them to now, our budget would be slightly more half of what it is now.

    But the overwhelming majority of that growth happened before 2000.

    aphrael (4163e2)

  133. *puzzled look*.

    ok, it’s not the IP address that’s triggering the spam filter. Maybe it’s too many links?

    Here’s a try again.

    No, I don’t believe the numbers put out by Sacramento, not in the least.

    Who do you believe has a better idea how much the state is spending than the state agency tasked with keeping track of spending?

    I mean, there are really three choices. (a) we can say that the state’s number is flawed but better than anything else, so we’ll go with it; (b) we can say that someone else has a better number, so we’ll go with that; or (c) we can say that nobody has any numbers which are at all reasonable so we’ll just make up stuff which sounds good (and which happens to fit with our particular prejudices).

    I’m going with (a). I hope that you’re going with (b) but it really seems like you’re going with (c).

    Please note that an audit sounds like a wonderful idea. I’d happily vote for a ballot measure to require the state to open its books to an external auditor.

    per-capita spending in CA has grown in one generation from $1393 to $2422

    That’s completely beleivable.

    The chart from comment #101 (link deleted because I think it’s annoying the spam filter) says that the 1976 state budget was 12.535 billion, federal funds excluded. The 2006 state budget was 129.968 billion, a growth of 117.433 billion, or 936.84%.

    The CPI chart I referenced above shows that the CPI was 56.8 in 1976 and 202.9 in 2006, a difference of 146.1, or 257.21%.

    This population growth chart (link deleted; recenter.tamu.edu/data/pos/pos06.htm) says that population in 1976 was 21,934,000 and in 2006 was 36,121,296, a growth of 14,187,296, or 64.68%.

    If you take the 12.535 billion from 1976 and adjust it for inflation and then for population growth, you get 52.168 billion. So if we’d just taken 1976 numbers and extended them to now, our budget would be slightly more half of what it is now.

    But the overwhelming majority of that growth happened before 2000.

    aphrael (4163e2)

  134. hmm. apologies for the (now) triple post; feel free to delete two copies if desired.

    aphrael (4163e2)

  135. $52.168-Billion in 2006, and the revenue in 2006 was ???

    AD - RtR/OS! (01072f)

  136. Multiple links are like catnip to Akismet sometimes. No worries. You’ll find double- and triple-posts from me at times for the same reason in the past. :)

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  137. Revenue information would come from a different data source which I can’t run down right now. :)

    I think we can safely assume that it was at least 79.4 billion, because that’s the number the LAO gave for general fund revenue in 2000, and i’m sure that if revenue had declined significantly between 2000 and 2006 politically-aware Californians would known about it.

    That said, I’m not sure how it’s relevant to my point, which is:

    (a) Rep. McClintock seems to have been broadly correct with his estimate about per capita inflation-adjusted state spending over the last generation.

    (b) almost all of the growth in question happened before 2000.

    aphrael (4163e2)

  138. Stashiu3: this is my software-tech background coming out. My comment fails; I immediately go into ‘why isnt it working’ mode and keep testing different hypotheses. :)

    aphrael (4163e2)

  139. Dept of Finance records show that the May Revise for FY-06 was predicting revenues of $92.5-Billion (FY-05: $87.7-Billion).

    It seems from those numbers if they could have held to the provisions of the Gann Amendment, the State Government would be in fiscal clover.

    But then, the Dems might not have been able to observe their electoral mantra:
    Spend and Spend; Elect and Elect!

    AD - RtR/OS! (01072f)

  140. I just make a quick mention in the comments and DRJ or someone usually pulls it out pretty quick after that. That’s the advantage of not knowing enough how to check where the problem is, someone else gets to do the work!

    Stashiu3 (3fc50f)

  141. Growth in population might predate 2000, but the growth in spending certainly does not.
    The spending is something laid at the feet of Gray Davis and The Governator – with the willing acquiesence (though I prefer to think of it as the driving force in this) of the Legislature.

    AD - RtR/OS! (01072f)

  142. Look at that…
    Gann Amendment limits to spending of $52B – Revenues of $92B!…for a projected SURPLUS of $40B…It would be too good to be true.
    Instead, we probably had a deficit that year of around $12-16 Billion – that seems to be SOP anymore.

    AD - RtR/OS! (01072f)

  143. AD: the spending growth does predate 2000.

    general fund spending growth over 2000-2008 has been less than inflation, see comments 95 and 101 above.

    general fund spending growth over 1976-2006 has been substantially above inflation.

    that suggests that growth was significantly above inflation from 1976-2000 and has been more or less flat since then.

    the only other way to reconcile the data is to presume substantial shrinking in the time 2006-2008, which just hasn’t happened.

    aphrael (4163e2)

  144. Why is it that you 2 appear to be talking about different figures? Do the general fund and total budget figures differ that much?

    JD (a4e58a)

  145. Here’s a provision of Gann you may be unfamiliar with:

    “…The 1978-79 expenditure level serves as the base. It is adjusted annually for population growth, inflation (using the lower of the percentage growth of the U.S. Consumer Price Index or California’s per capita personal income)…”

    AD - RtR/OS! (01072f)

  146. AD – right, but that doesn’t change anything about my analysis other than the base year. :)

    I suppose it’s possible that California’s per capita income grew at a lower rate than CPI during the years 2000-2008, but I find that incredibly unlikely.

    aphrael (4163e2)

  147. Yes, the General Fund Budget does not include any Federal funding and its’ directed spending.

    AD - RtR/OS! (01072f)

  148. JD – yes, unfortunately. There’s the general fund, then there’s a plethora of special funds with dedicated revenue sources and dedicated expenditures, then there’s the funds which are paid for out of bond sales, then there’s the funds which are simply funneling funds for federal money.

    Special funds are equal to about 25-30% of the general fund, federal funnelling is equal to 40-60% of the general fund (!!), and bond funds are about 10% of the general fund.

    I’m trying as much as possible to keep my numbers to general + special, because (a) bond fund expenditures are the fault of the voters and not the legislature, and (b) federal funds expenditures are the fault of the feds not the state.

    aphrael (4163e2)

  149. That could be, but I have to think that if the Leg and Gov had kept a lid on spending, we would be in a lot better place now, particularly with revenues going down.
    McClintock remarked in a recent interview on a local Fox affiliate (found today on the ‘net) that the Sales Tax revenues after the April 1 increase went down (year-to-year) by something like $41-Million, where the previous month, with the previous rates, only went down $16-Million. That looks to be a $25-Million hit from increasing the Sales Tax 1-point (approx a 13% increase). With the latest increase on 1 July, I know a near-by bedroom community that has a Sales Tax Rate of 10.75%. Rates like that have proven to be unsustainable, historically.

    AD - RtR/OS! (01072f)

  150. Hey, JD!
    How’d you do on the back-9?
    Ever find the resident ‘gater?

    AD - RtR/OS! (01072f)


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