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By ROB BERNOSKY
Suppose you worked for a business that had a reason to be concerned. Maybe sales were declining, costs were going up, or the competition was doing great things and your company clearly was not. Whatever the reason, you are worried about your job and the dollars it earns you each week. Dollars that pay for your rent or mortgage, food, clothing, gas, and car. In that situation, my guess is that you would pay close attention to what your boss told employees about the business. I surmise the longer the situation dragged on, the more closely you would pay attention.
Let’s also suppose that your boss tells you and your fellow employees everything is fine, as they often do. After all, they don’t want you to get worried and bail for another company. Hiring good employees is a pain. But, you have been in the industry in which you work a long time, and in your own way you are an expert, and you sense that everything is not fine at your company. Office doors are closed more than usual, people you don’t know are shuffling in and out, and the boss is just acting differently, except when he is telling you everything is fine. You need a job to get those dollars into your pocket. Should you stay or look elsewhere for those dollars?
That is how I deal with politicians. I pretend that the one I am listening to at any particular moment is my boss. If my livelihood depended on what he was saying, would I believe and respect him or her? Does what he or she is saying make sense?
There is much coming from politicians that makes no sense to me and I do not believe. California is ranked 50th in the nation for being business friendly. It has the highest income tax. We have incredible amounts of debt, both on and off the balance sheet. Education is a mess. Yet the “boss,” our elected leaders in Sacramento, tell us everything is fine! They have big plans for spending, including infrastructure projects and increasing benefits to those receiving government assistance. They are passing more laws and more regulations that cost more money to administer.
Yet no one seems to be connecting the dots of reality. There are other states that are friendly to business. There are other states that have less or even no income taxes. How come my neighbor, who has a government job, gets to retire next year with his lifetime benefits and yearly increases in pension payments, and I may never get to retire? Wait a minute, who is paying for my neighbor?
Unlike some who predicted of our demise in December based on the Mayan calendar and something other than hard facts, I can make a prediction based on this fact: there are limits as to how much the government can tax. That limit is 100 percent and to some Californians, we are over 50 percent of the way to that point. The reality is though; no one will wait for the limit to be reached.
That written, my outlook for this year is … that nothing will change. Here in California, the Democrats have literally broken the Republicans. The Democrats have absolute control of the legislature, the governorship and all the other constitutional offices. At the federal level, the Republicans are playing only defense, and at the local level, the public service unions continue to successfully defend their incredible rights, compensation, and benefit packages, no matter what the cost.
I know what you are thinking. You just read about 580 words to find out that this guy’s outlook is nothing new.
To wake you up, I offer you my predictions for some time in the not-too-distant future: the amount Californians will be willing to pay in taxes will be reached and that we will find significant turbulence at the city and county levels as they wrestle with bills for pensions and daily operating costs that they have been relying on reserves to pay for the past few years.
Sadly, California is far gone from being a leader in the United States. Other states are figuring out how their bloated university systems are significantly hurting their citizens’ ability to get higher education and are making cuts that make sense. Some have lowered tax rates and found that people and employers migrated to their states as a result. Eventually we will catch on here.
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