Thursday, June 21, 2012
Why Red China Loves Our Green Movement!
Have you noticed the subtle change in the title of the current doomsday scenario from global warming to climate change?  Do you know why the change was made?  It is because the planet quit warming!  With respect to the hyperbolic reference to climate change, the only thing the climate does is change!  Each and every season, and each and every millennium.  I wonder how long it is going to take the average American to wake up and realize that he has been scammed by the green movement? 
There is not a scientist alive on this planet who would deny that our planet experiences periodic  cataclysmic episodes of extreme cold, referred to as ice ages, followed by periods of comparatively radical global warming.  Even Al Gore would admit that these cycles of cooling and warming were happening long before man invented fire, let alone the ubiquitous evil SUV.
What is really going on here?  Well, some 30 years ago, for a college political science course I was assigned to read a book published by a think tank called the Club of Rome.  The book called for a redistribution of world wealth so that we wouldn’t have this disparity of quality of life between the modern countries and the third world countries that outnumber us. 
Nobody answered this call to give up their wealth, so the Club of Rome came up with a better idea and it is all in writing!  The Club of Rome gurus hatched a plan to convince the rich countries to lower their standard of living by reducing their economic output.  How?  By convincing us that we were destroying the planet via our energy consumption.
But, since then, they ran into no small problem.  The biggest energy hogs on the horizon are now China and India.  They don’t want their people to live in abject poverty and literally in the dark.  Neither do the leaders of another 140 countries on the planet.  They want to build power plants and they want to have all the stuff that makes life more comfortable but happens to consume power like cars and refrigerators!  So, with these up and coming powerhouses balking at restricting their output, the only one left to drink the bulk of the green kool-aid was us, and nobody drank more of it than the citizens of California.
Here in California we passed a law that will cause our energy prices to skyrocket, our energy supplies to dwindle, and our manufacturers to take their jobs out of state.  What will we accomplish for the planet in the meantime?  Absolutely nothing!
Noted international scholar, Alex Alexiev, has done the math!  He informs us that, “The United States’ current emissions of green house gasses are 4.2 gigatons per year, decreasing at a rate of 5 percent per annum. California’s share is some 500 mln tons. China’s emissions are 7.7 gigatons going up at 13 percent per year. Should California decide to eliminate all of its emissions and go back to a hunter-gatherer type of society, the effect would be a one-time, 50 percent reduction of Chinese yearly emissions growth.” 
Another way of relating this shift of energy consumption and job production to China?  California will soon completely cut itself off from energy produced by coal, whereas China is building a new coal plant every 11 days!  And, China is now importing our coal we would otherwise use to power our country’s energy needs! 
I am all for reducing pollution, but CO2 is not a pollutant.  Humans and nature both produce CO2 emissions, and neither humans or plants can survive without it.      
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and hosts the Andy Caldwell show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM1440.
Posted at 12:36 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Why Texas Has a Booming Economy and We Don’t!
The County Budget hearings begin next week.  To fully understand the magnitude and scope of our communities’ dire financial condition, you must understand three fundamental elements of county finances.
The first thing you need to know is that County government is primarily an extension of State and Federal government programs.  Approximately two thirds of the county’s finances are monies forwarded to the county by the State and Federal government from various forms of taxes such as income taxes, gas taxes and sales tax which typically serve to fund mandates.  These programs include Social Services, Public Health, regional infrastructure costs, and a variety of other programs.  The county has to typically provide a financial match to these federal and state monies and then hire and pay for the staff to perform the associated programmatic duties.
The county is nearly entirely dependent upon local property tax revenues to provide the match monies and to perform all local discretionary tasks that are not funded and/or mandated by State and Federal government.  The monies associated with local spending is referred to as the General Fund.  The bulk of the local funding goes to Public Safety programs in the form of Fire, Sheriff, District Attorney, Probation and Public Defender.  Ninety percent of the county’s revenues for these and other General Fund programs come from property taxes.  Our modern day problem is that the real estate market took a nosedive in 2008 and we can’t meet our obligations accordingly.
Another major component of county finances has to do with pension liabilities.  Typically, employees pay a small percentage of their pay towards their own retirement and the county contributes a little more.  However, 85% of the money that will eventually provide the funding for retirement checks comes from investment income.  Unless, that is, the returns are insufficient to meet the county’s obligation, in which case the money has to come out of the General Fund. Hence, the stock market losses in 2008 and the subsequent volatility of the market means the county is hopelessly behind in their investment returns, so much so, that we can no longer afford to provide basic services with current employees due to our pension debt obligations to retirees.
These pension liabilities are directly tied to and based upon employee compensation levels.  During the tenure of the board majority of Schwartz, Rose and Marshall, the county handed out over $100 million in raises to some 4,000 county employees.  We are now stuck with the bill!
I actually favor early retirement for firefighters and cops.  However, we need a plan to pay for the same.  The total cost for a firefighter, in terms of salary, health and retirement benefits is now approaching $200,000 per employee!  How do we generate enough tax revenue to afford that?
Well, that brings us to the last component we need to address and that is the private sector job market.  High returns and high wages in the private sector market generate economic activity that fuels the economy and generates the tax revenue that funds government services. 
However, if the government starts taking too much money out of the private sector in the form of fees, taxes and regulatory costs, there is less money left over for individuals to create consumer demand and less money for businesses to create the necessary profits that serve to create jobs in the first place and grow the economy as a whole.  Examples of individuals and businesses leaving the State in droves, due to this phenomenon, abound. 
It is no coincidence that Texas actually gained the number of jobs that have been lost in California during this current recession. 
Andy Caldwell is Executive Director of COLAB and hosts the Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 pm on AM1440.  Contact him at andy@colabsbc.org
Posted at 05:56 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

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