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

Ryan Lanham rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 25 19:59:22 CET 2009

On 11/25/09, J. Andrew Rogers <reality.miner at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

Here's the facts from a Republican leaning newspaper:

I just checked here, and the rates are about (a little lower than) what we
pay in the Cayman Islands at average and starting levels.

Overtime is a problem...but that's a management problem.  You can't blame
employees for seeking all they can get.  We've had very tough fights here to
cut it, and it is hard.  Time and a half adds up fast.  On the other hand, I
personally wouldn't want the job or the job for anyone I care about for
$57,000 a year--with multiple years of experience, and 39K to start.  Ouch.
A truck driver makes more.  How much would you propose we pay them?  Let's
say we cut it to 30K per person over all 20K guards rather than the 64K they
appear to average with overtime.  That's a wapping 60 million in savings...a
flea on the back of the noise.  Do you really want a person who has to make
sure a guy goes into his cell, bathes, etc. making $15 an hour while
handling a gun and trying to protect themselves and other prisoners?  That
seems a bit extreme.

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.

I agree.  But the point is that California's taxes aren't all that high.
New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut all have much higher taxes.  They do
fine.  California can do fine.  It's poor bond rating is tied only to the
discord in the budget process which goes back to Jesse Unruh--one of my
professors in my PhD programme used to work for him--the stories are

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.

I don't know anything about CalTrans, but I envy your good rail systems.
BART, for instance is clean and great.

I couldn't disagree more about San Francisco, by the way, which is easily
the best US city and almost always has been--nearly every non-American I
know who has travelled widely in the US says so...only Boston or NYC
compare...and not favorably.  I do agree Vancouver BC is wonderful.  Canada
has surpassed the US by moving to the left and center while we moved to the
right...they cut corporatism...we stoked it.  They built cities...we cut

> In infrastructure, California actually did quite well.  I can tell you
> 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.

I agree that accountability is a problem.  That's why I focus on governance
and government issues.  Very hard stuff.  Not as corrupt and hopeless as big
business and especially big finance, but pretty problematic all the same.

In real terms, budgets have been tight in the US.  Governance and government
are hard.  They're particularly hard in a culture of narcissism and greed.

If I were a social conservative (whatever that means) I'd be looking to
build just what we are about here...better local communities, more shared
structures, less government, more P2P and less exploitation.

If social conservative means the right to exploit, the right to be a bigot,
the right to impose my own social perspectives on others...then I think it
is a heinous and evil thing that deserves to wither.

I have no problem with the David Brooks conservatives.  They're typically on
opposite sides to my own views, but I respect their opinions.  In
government, in politicians, the conservatives now are totally bankrupt.
There's nothing.  They're against cutting carbon, they are fixated on
cutting taxes which are already ridiculously low in the US, and they seem
full of hatred for anyone and anything that isn't exactly like them.

Being conservative used to be about values...family, home, good governance,
moderation, balance, tolerance.  None of those things seem conservative
now.  Conservative means anti-gay, anti-open, pro-corporatism, pro-war and
militarism and anti-environment.

Nixon was easily a liberal by modern standards...easily.
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