Business, Taxpayer and Political Concerns Over “Secure Choice” Retirement Plan

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal highlighted California’s move to establish required private sector retirement programs in an editorial that criticized the Obama Administration for taking steps to “socialize” the private retirement business that will end up as a long term entitlement program backed by taxpayers. As often is the case, an idea promoted out of sincere concern opens the door to both politics and the possibility of taxpayers being the insurance of last resort.

The Journal’s criticism focused on the Department of Labor issuing guidelines to allow state mandated private economy retirement programs avoiding any hang-ups with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Avoiding complications with ERISA laws is a principal concern of the California business community if the Secure Choice plan is ultimately implemented.

The editorial noted that, “nothing in California’s law guarantees ownership or portability. Private financial institutions will putatively insure the plans, but with an implicit taxpayer guarantee.”

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Jerry Brown’s Insufferable Green Piety

Joel Kotkin
Editor of and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

As the UN’s climate change conference opens in Paris on Nov. 30, California Gov. Jerry Brown’s holier-than-thou pronouncements on climate change will be the gospel of choice.

At the site of real and immediate tragedy, an old man comes, wielding not a sword to protect civilization from ghastly present threats but to preach the sanctity of California’s green religion. The Paris Climate Change Conference offers a moment of triumph for the 77-year-old Jerry Brown, the apogee of his odd public odyssey.

Jerry Brown has always been essentially two people—one the calculating, Machiavellian politician, the other the dour former Jesuit who publically dismisses worldly pleasures for austere dogma. Like a modern-day Torquemada, he is warning the masses that if they fail to adhere in all ways of the new faith or face, as he suggested recently humanity’s “extinction.”

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California Turning Away From Oil? Sounds Good To Latinos

Adrianna Quintero
Director of Partner Engagement for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Founder & Executive Director of Voces Verdes.

If you want to learn about the health impacts of smoking, you don’t rely on a tobacco industry web site. And if you want to learn about the oil industry’s impact on California, you don’t rely on a web site sponsored by an oil company.

But that’s what Fox and Hounds Daily seems to have done in a recent editorial. “Imagining California Without Oil – Two different Perspectives” quotes heavily from a web site produced by the California Resources Corporation, a spin-off of Occidental Petroleum. Nearly all of the information on the supposedly independently researched “Powering California” web site comes from a study funded by the oil industry’s lobbyist, Western States Petroleum Association. That’s not a source that most people trust for unbiased information.

The editorial suggests that moving away from dependence on petroleum and toward cleaner forms of energy might be bad for our state’s economy and for the Latino community. But the truth is that weaning ourselves off of dirty sources of energy means a stronger economy and healthier families. And that’s why Latinos consistently support California’s pioneering climate and clean energy policies.

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“Temporary” Taxes Forever

Ben Boychuk
Associate Editor of the City Journal

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary tax. In California, the state’s most powerful public-employee lobbies are preparing two initiatives for the November 2016 ballot that would either extend or simply make permanent an income-tax increase on the state’s highest earners that was scheduled to expire at the end of 2018. Legislators and their union patrons can hardly contain themselves.

Anyone with eyes to see could have predicted this turn of events. In 2012, the Golden State faced a $16 billion budget deficit caused almost entirely by unchecked entitlements, poor revenue estimates, and years of bad legislative choices. Governor Jerry Brown went to voters and said, in effect, he wouldn’t raise their taxes; he wanted them to raise taxes on themselves. But he promised that the pain would only be temporary. And if voters didn’t go along, well, the governor couldn’t guarantee what might happen next to public schools, health care for the poor, and other beloved programs. No pressure or anything—just vote for Proposition 30 and nobody else would get hurt. Brown tramped up and down the state in the weeks before the election, quoting scripture as he often does to make his case. When the ballots were all counted, 55.4 percent of voters went along.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Holiday.

Fox and Hounds Daily will resume publishing on Monday, November 30th.

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A Sleeper Senate Race in California

John J. Pitney, Jr.
Professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and coauthor of American Government and Politics: Deliberation

The race to succeed Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) of California could very well produce the upset of 2016.

The prohibitive favorite would seem to be Kamala Harris. As the state’s two-term attorney general, she has good name recognition and an established political network. As a woman with both African and Asian heritage, she has a unique appeal to the state’s diverse electorate. She has achieved national prominence, albeit in a slightly awkward way. At a San Francisco fundraising event a couple of years ago, President Obama praised her brilliance and toughness, then added: “She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general in the country.” After getting widespread criticism for the sexist character of this remark, the president apologized. Ms. Harris accepted with good grace.

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What Are Taxpayers Thankful for in 2015?

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

With the recent terror attacks against France, America’s oldest ally, most Americans are rightfully concerned for the welfare of our friends abroad as well as our own safety.

With the French, we share a common heritage of a dedication to liberty. The Statue of Liberty that stands proudly in the harbor of New York is a gift from the people of France.

Acknowledging the contributions of French officer the Marquis de Lafayette to the success of our revolution, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stanton a commander of the American Expeditionary Force in WW I, told Parisians on arrival, “Lafayette, we are here!”

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Holiday Season Sends Health Food Into Hiding

Susan Shelley
Susan Shelley is an author, former television associate producer and twice a Republican candidate for the California Assembly.

It happens every autumn. No sooner has the last goblin rappelled down the wall of Halloween candy in the supermarket than the fruits and vegetables go into the witness protection program and refuse to be seen unless covered from tip to stem in cream cheese and pecans.

Other popular disguises include vanilla custard and cream of mushroom soup.

It’s challenging, but not impossible, to maintain healthy eating habits during the holiday season. And before anyone objects to the use of the term “holiday season,” let’s call it by its rightful name: the weight-gain season.

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Governor Brown Encourages Californians to Shop Small Ahead of “Small Business Saturday”

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

 (Editor’s Note: From the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz))

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued a letter in support of the upcoming Small Business Saturday on November 28th.  Small Business Saturday is an initiative that marks a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.

“Small businesses embody the entrepreneurial spirit that has driven the economy of our Golden State,” said Governor Brown in his letter. “Over half of our private sector workforce is employed by small business. On Saturday, November 28th, I urge all Californians to support small businesses and merchants on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year.”

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California Still Over a Barrel

Steve Greenberg
Steve Greenberg is an award winning editorial cartoonist and artist based in Southern California.

CA still over a barrel

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