Sunday, April 11, 2010

Three Quotes from the Sunday Bee

From the cover story on unsustainable pensions,
Currently, 15 percent to 30 percent of local governments' annual payroll goes into their pension system – a quarter or so for every dollar spent on paychecks...contribution rates will expand to about 30 percent or 40 percent of payroll in most places.
My employer pays 10% of employees' salary to a defined contribution retirement plan, and we contribute 5% of our salaries. That is very generous for the private sector, but much less than the cost of these public pensions. We should go beyond tinkering with the formulas, and switch from defined benefit to defined contribution programs in the public sector.

From "State Tax Credit For Homebuyers Will Pay For Itself" by the President of the California Building Industry Association
Studies show that each new home built generates three full-time jobs, and that each new homeowner immediately adds $16,000 in various tax revenues back to the state... The state will get back more in return than it is putting up for the program...
Respected economists recognize that improving the fate of the housing industry is a key to jump-starting the overall economy.
This article is a classic example of how advocates can take pieces out of respectable economic studies, and distort them into pushing for positions the respected economists who produce those studies would never support. This short-term tax credit for homes at best moves building around a little in time, but will do nothing to change total home building activity over the next 2-3 years, and will definitely not "pay for itself." So, yes building a new home does create jobs and tax revenues and this sector is key to the economic recovery. Respected economists agree with those statements and also agree (unanimous among the half dozen or so I've chatted with about this bill) that the California home buyer tax credit is a give away.

From the article on a pistachio processor's lawsuit accusing billionaires Lynda and Stewart Resnick of illegally profiting from the Kern Water Bank they control,
"We've done more for the pistachio than anyone ever since it was planted in the Garden of Eden," she (Lynda Resnick) said. "My husband should be canonized for all the work he's done."
I wonder if a church will bestow sainthood on Mr. Resnick after his passing. If the Great Valley Center has any religious influence, I like his chances. I recently noticed the Beverly Hills residing Mr. Resnick is the most recent recipient of the GVC's most prestigious award "Sequoia - Giant of the Valley", and also that Mrs. Resnick is the headline speaker at the GVC's annual conference next month.

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