[p2p-research] Post-Depression first: Americans get more money from government than they give back | csmonitor.com

J. Andrew Rogers reality.miner at gmail.com
Wed Nov 25 19:15:44 CET 2009

On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 9:27 AM, Ryan Lanham <rlanham1963 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Do you really believe that the prison guard union is the cause of California
> having 158K inmates?  1 out every 31 adults in America is in a prison.  One
> our of 12 black men is in a prison.  If unions have done that, they really
> are powerful.

Yes, they are that powerful.  Who do you think created legislation and
lobbied for very long mandatory sentences for relatively minor crimes?
 Every election season, the prison unions spend many millions of
dollars pushing legislation and initiatives that will put more people
in prison longer.

> At the risk of dealing in facts, here's what Reuters has to say...Arnie
> wants the guards to work at minimum wage....

Of course he does, but good luck with that. I want world peace and a
pony too... Everyone knows the California prison system is a wasteful
money sink, but no one has ever succeeded in reigning them in.

While that may be going to the opposite extreme, it is not a secret
that prison guards in California are grossly overpaid.  It is one of
the few ways you can go from high school to a very well-paid job
(assuming you have the connections) even in the cow towns where no one
makes much money.

> As of 2005, California had the 20th highest state and local taxes in the
> US.  Nebraska, Utah and Kansas all had higher tax loads.

What is your fascination with Nebraska and Kansas?  Those are dying
states in the Great Plains. Not very interesting.

> Because the real estate costs a lot more and shutting down traffic
> completely has much greater implications.

Uh, no. These are for adjacent stretches of highway in the middle of
nowhere. Literally the same piece of road.

Picking on CalTrans is a bit unfair, because of how famously expensive
and poor they are. It makes the differences between states look
larger.  These are the guys that do such a bad job that places like
Santa Cruz sue the state to privatize public road construction
projects. I've worked with CalTrans on a project and while anecdotal,
seeing it from the inside showed it to be far more pathologically
mismanaged than most Californians give them credit for.

> In infrastructure, California actually did quite well.  I can tell you that
> in public administration, they are an admired state compared to Texas, New
> York, Illinois or Florida -- their peers.

Sure California spends countless billions on infrastructure year after
year, everyone always wonders when they'll actually *deliver* it.
There is no accountability.

J. Andrew Rogers

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