Here are a few stories I came across this past evening and morning that seem to illustrate that we are at or beyond the point of inflection:
- "Federal budget deficit climbs to $984billion - the highest in seven years - despite economic growth and low unemployment"--Daily Mail. And despite record high tax revenue over the last few years. So, if there was a large-scale war or a severe recession, from where would the money come?
- "PG&E blackouts may affect some 600,000 customers amid high fire danger"--The Mercury News. The article reports that "[a]n estimated 600,000 PG&E customers — including some 257,000 in the Bay Area — may be forced to endure power shutdowns starting early Wednesday amid a forbidding outlook for severe fire danger in the form of high winds." On top of this, "'It could take several days to fully restore power after the weather passes and safety inspections are completed,' said Michael Lewis, PG&E senior vice president of electric operations."
- "Teacher Strikes and Legacy Costs"--Manhattan Institute. Summary: "This report argues that underfunded defined-benefit pension plans and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) are the hidden drivers of labor unrest in the public sector. As these legacy costs have risen, teacher salaries have flatlined or even declined in value."
- "How progressive policies have crippled Connecticut’s job growth"--New York Post. Key part:
Lamont and the Democrats, with large majorities in the legislature, have delivered more of the same this year, but in higher doses. They’ve raised taxes to fund an increasingly bloated government and given more power and privilege to the politicians and special interests. It is little wonder job creation virtually stopped during Lamont’s liberal legislative binge.
If Connecticut is in a turnaround, it’s a full 360 degrees. All the mistakes this year are the same type made by liberal politicians over the last 30, leading to stagnant wages and a flatlining population in a state otherwise known as a highly desirable destination.
- "Questions of unethical dealing hit high-speed rail. But don’t stop construction in Fresno"--The Fresno Bee. There are two main developments related in the story: (1) continued corruption and conflicts of interest in the management of the high-speed rail system, and (2) politicians wanting to pull money from the project to fund local projects.
- Speaking of which: "CBS47 Investigation: Gov. Newsom redirects gas tax money. It won’t fund highways, railway system"--Your Central Valley.
With a stroke of his pen, California Governor Gavin Newsom has redirected part of the money you pay at the pump with the state’s gas tax to the railway system and other projects.
Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-19-19.
It calls for leveraging billion in annual state transportation funds to reduce green house gases and emissions.
The order directs money away from fixing local highways, stalling important projects here in the valley.
- "Sonnenberg: Does state government deserve more of your money?"--The Complete Colorado Page Two. Colorado wants to take money from tax returns and, supposedly, use the money to fund schools and highways. Which they did in an earlier bill:
So where did that money go? Who knows. As the non-partisan state staff will tell you, it is impossible to know how the money was spent. What we do know is that education and highway funding did not increase by the amount of increased revenue to the state. Why? Because politicians can change the rules by just passing a bill – and they do every budget cycle.
- "Dysfunctional Education"--Angelo Codevilla at American Greatness. And not withstanding the every greater amounts spent on education:
During Word War II, only 4 percent of some 18 million draftees were illiterate. Despite (or because?) of massive expenditures on education over the subsequent two decades, 27 percent of the Vietnam war’s draftees were judged functionally illiterate. Between 1955 and 1991, the inflation-adjusted average K-12 per-pupil expenditure in America rose 350 percent. In 1972, 2,817 students scored 750 or better on each half of the SAT. By 1994, only 1,438 made this score though the test had been made easier. Today, U.S. 15 year olds rank 24th out of 71 countries in science, and 38th in math. In 2018, college students spent less than a third of the time their grandparents did studying for their classes.