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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 19, 2009 / 25 Iyar 5769

Pay attention to what happens in California. It's a harbinger of things to come everywhere

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "California is a trendsetter state," Christian Probasco wrote in a 2007 magazine article. "Every Californian fad eventually makes it way over the Sierras."


Let's hope this is no longer true, because this today, those Californians who choose to go to the polls almost certainly will guarantee California will be the first state to go bankrupt.


In February, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the legislature "solved" a $42 billion budget deficit with a mixture of (real) tax increases and (mostly cosmetic) budget cuts.


But the deal was contingent upon voter approval of five ballot measures to extend tax increases, and to permit the state to raid funds set aside for early childhood education and mental health services. Polls indicate all of the measures are trailing, four of them badly. If the voters say no, California could run out of money as soon as July, the chief budget analyst for the legislature warned May 7.


If the measures fail, he'll close prisons and lay off policemen and firemen, Gov. Schwarzenegger said. As wildfires rage in California, the governator is planning to cut 602 full time and 1,100 seasonal fire fighter positions, the San Francisco Chronicle reported May 5.


An opponent of the ballot measures said the governor was just trying to change votes. "It's all about fear," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. "Next week they'll threaten school closures."


California isn't in financial trouble because the state hasn't had enough money to spend. According to Adam Summers of the Reason Foundation: "if California had simply held spending to the average population growth plus the average increase in the cost of living during the past three gubernatorial administrations…the state would have been sitting on a $15 billion surplus."


Though state spending has soared, the quality of the public services Californians care about most has deteriorated.


California's public schools were once among the nation's finest. But in a 2004 report, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation said: "huge numbers of schools fail to hire and keep qualified teachers, far too many students lack textbooks and other essential materials to use in school or at home, many classrooms are severely overcrowded, and large numbers of schools are infested with rats and cockroaches."


Infrastructure is crumbling. In 2006, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave California's roads a D+ grade.


But the salaries and pensions of state employees are among the highest in the nation. California's budget has exploded chiefly to feed the avaricious appetites of public employee unions.


"Since 1990, the number of state employees has increased by more than a third," noted columnist George Will. " In Schwarzenegger's less than six years as governor, per capita government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased nearly 20 percent."


"Everyone has a story of a state or county employee friend who is retiring at 55 with a guaranteed life pension of $75,000 or more plus gold-plated medical benefits," wrote Los Angeles radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.


It costs a lot to keep bureaucrats in the lap of luxury. California's sales and income taxes are among the highest in the nation.


High taxes aren't the only reason people and businesses have been moving out of state. Few states impose more regulations on business and property. A high state minimum wage and an excessive workers' compensation system also contribute to a cost of doing business in California that is 20 percent higher than the national average.


One of the few genuine cuts the legislature made in February was to reduce the state's contribution to the pay of home health care workers. But President Obama, acting on behalf of the Service Employees International Union, has threatened to withhold $6.8 billion in stimulus funds unless the cuts are restored.


Pay attention to what happens in California. It's a harbinger of things to come everywhere.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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© 2009, Jack Kelly

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