‘Half-baked’ too kind to ‘CalPERS for all.’ ‘Baked’ is more like it.

State Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Solana Beach, once told me that he would meet prominent people in Sacramento, not street-corner crazies, who were surprised to hear Wyland say the economy was in the dump or that unemployment was sky-high. I think today I figured out one of the people he was talking about. It’s Assemblyman Warren Furutani, left, who revealed his obliviousness in a Sac Bee story about Democratic legislative leaders and union officials touting “CalPERS for all,” a bill to force employers to set aside 3 percent of the pay of all private-sector employees to contribute on their behalf to a defined-benefit program that invests only in very safe but low-yield Treasury bills. Furutani noted pension reform was often fueled by resentment of big public employee pensions. Then the Gardena Dem said that giving private sector workers a tiny pension funded with mandatory paycheck deductions that are invested in a CalPERS-managed fund sure to have mediocre returns “turns that argument on its head.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Oh, Warren, you are a cut-up!

What? You’re serious?

You CANNOT be serious if you think it’s a wonderful idea to take 3 percent of private sector workers’ pay and force them to make bad investments overseen by people with as wretched a reputation as CalPERS.

And Warren, some will wonder if you’re tired and emotional, as Private Eye would say, if you think this somehow will obviate public anger over absurdly generous public employee pensions.

OK, OK, the other details that make this slightly less moronic: Employers can’t opt out, but individual workers can opt out. And CalPERS might not be the fund manager, just an institution like CalPERS.

But by and large, this is the most out-of-touch initiative championed by the California Democratic establishment that I have ever seen.

Among its many problems:

1) It can easily be depicted as statewide 3 percent pay cut for private sector workers at a time when many are counting every last penny.

2) It can also be depicted as a truly bizarre response to the real pension crisis: requiring everyone who doesn’t have one of the great public employee pensions to invest in the state’s low-rent version of Social Security.

3) Does anyone really believe that this program wouldn’t morph into something that’s partly or largely subsidized by taxpayers or (more likely) private employers?

4) It is built on the assumption that everyone in the private sector is an idiot without the forethought to prepare for retirement. Poverty among the retired is low — even among those who don’t enjoy for decades 75 percent of their highest pay from their government pensions.

5) It presumes a faith in government that I just don’t think Californians have.

When I first heard about this earlier in the week, I assumed it was just a wacky bill introduced by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, that might make a little splash but then just fade into obscurity.

I was shocked to see the Bee story that said it wasn’t just de León but “Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and other political and labor leaders” who came together to tout its glories, and that Gov. Jerry Brown had indicated he was intrigued.

Wow. That’s a pretty amazing array of support for something that is too dumb to be called half-baked. I think a better term is just plain baked, as the yutes like to say.

So what pliant Democratic establishment journo was chosen to make the case for this goofball plan?

Bingo.

George Skelton loves it.

The guy who infamously wrote in December that it was “hard to find anyone” who didn’t think the Legislature and Brown should have shoved higher taxes down the public’s throat is at it again.

Now Skelton thinks private workers will welcome a 3 percent pay cut for a baked Cali version of Social Security.

This is so dumb it’s actually kind of a treat. It’s going to be fun to watch it play out and see it slowly dawn on Dem lawmakers that they’re tone-deaf dolts.

Skelton? He’ll never admit error. It’s not what he does.

As for Furutani, I’ve set up a Google alert to keep tabs on what he’s up to. He’s on fire. He’s like Richard Pryor in 1979 or David Letterman in 1982 — going to new places in comedy. It’s a gift, Warren, so please — just keep talking.

6 thoughts on “‘Half-baked’ too kind to ‘CalPERS for all.’ ‘Baked’ is more like it.

  1. They’ve ran out of tax revenue. So why not directly dipped into the taxpayer’s money? It’s just another source of revenue that the public worker’s union can tap into.

  2. One heck of an idea:

    (a) not pre-tax ???
    (b) CalPERS running it (and perhaps having access to divert the money to support it’s hugely underfunded Public Sector Plans)???
    (c) investing in treasuries exclusively ???

    and most importantly,…

    A diversion from the issue at hand, that Public Sector Plans are WAY WAY WAY too generous with only 10-20% of total Plan cost (INCLUDING all the investment income earned on the contributions) paid for by employee contributions. The 80-90% balance is paid for by TAXPAYERS.

    It’s WAY past time to “hard freeze” (ZERO further accruals for future service) these Plans and replace them with DC plans with a modest (3-4%) taxpayer match. …. just like Private Sector Taxpayers typically get from THEIR employers.

    Civil Servants are NOT “special” at our expense !
    We’ve been hoodwinked long enough !

  3. Did you bother reading anything first? It says EMPLOYEES would contribute 3%. Not EMPLOYERS, WHO “could make voluntary contributions into the fund.”

    You are such a jerk.

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/24/4287094/california-democrats-push-pension.html#storylink=cpy

    Chris Reed replies: Of course I read that part. It specifically says so in the post. I just don’t think a forced pay cut for participation in a low-return state investment fund is a great idea.

    • Because what small business needs is to have yet another set of forms and requirements to fill out – as they will be required to do if you actually read the article. BTW, whatever happened to that Social Security retirement thing? Is this an admission (finally) by the progs that the retirement “insurance” program won’t be around much longer?

      True story: Went to a meeting by the LA mayor’s office for some city funded committee designed to make LA more entrepreneur friendly. Seems the employment situation sucks a big one for some reason. Well their solution turns out to be the creation of yet another government department to help those folks who want to open a business in LA to get past the 15 different departments and help with their paperwork just to open a business. Is there nothing that adding another layer of government on top of the old one’s can’t solve??

  4. I say great!

    Bring it on DemoNcrats! Make my day Jerky Brown!

    The more idiotic laws like this that they pass the sooner Colliefornia (as Ahnode sez) will collapse and the sooner we can start over and build somthing better. Maybe people will start taking the idea of splitting this state up seriously.

  5. Pingback: “Pensions for all’s” respected defender: What he leaves out | Calwhine.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>