Posts Tagged ‘California’
Why in the world would anyone want to live in the state of California at this point? The entire state is rapidly becoming a bright, shining example of everything that is wrong with America. It is so sad to watch our most populated state implode right in front of our eyes. Like millions of Americans, I was quite enamored with the state of California when I was younger. The warm weather, the beaches, the great natural beauty of the state and the mystique of Hollywood all really appealed to me. At one point I even thought that I wanted to move there. But today, hordes of Californians are racing to get out of the state because it has become a total nightmare. It is the worst state in the country in which to do business, taxes were just raised even higher, unemployment is more than 20 percent higher than the national average and the state government is drowning in debt. Meanwhile, poverty, gang activity and crime just seem to get worse with each passing year. On top of everything else, the insane politicians in Sacramento just keep on passing more laws that make the problems that the state is facing even worse. Unfortunately, what is happening in California may be a preview of what is coming to the entire nation. The old adage, “as California goes, so goes the nation”, has been proven to be true way too many times.
In dozens of different ways, the state of California is showing the rest of us what not to do. Will we learn from their mistakes, or will we follow them into oblivion? Please share the list below with as many people as you can. In addition to a large amount of new research, this list also pulled heavily from one of my previous articles and from outstanding research done by Richard Rider. The following are 55 reasons why California is the worst state in America…
1. One survey of business executives has ranked California as the worst state in America to do business for 8 years in a row.
2. In 2011, the state of California ranked 50th out of all 50 states in new business creation.
3. According to one recent study, California is the worst-governed state in the entire country.
4. Thanks to Proposition 30, California now boasts the highest state income tax rate in the nation.
6. California has the highest sales tax rate in the United States.
7. California has the 8th highest corporate income tax rate in the country.
8. California has the highest “minimum corporate tax” in the country. Each corporation must pay at least $800 to the state even if a corporation does not make a single dollar of profit.
9. California is tied with New York for the highest gasoline tax rate in the country.
10. California is the only state in America that taxes carbon emissions.
11. The state of California issues some of the most expensive traffic tickets in the nation. This is another form of taxation.
12. As of October, only Nevada and Rhode Island had higher unemployment rates than California.
13. The unemployment rate in California is more than 20 percent higher than the overall unemployment rate for the rest of the nation.
14. The state of California requires licenses for 177 different occupations (the most in the nation). The national average is only 92.
16. California accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. population, but a whopping 33 percent of Americans that receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) live there.
17. Only the state of Illinois has a lower bond rating than the state of California does.
18. Including unfunded pension liabilities, the state of California has more than twice as much debt as any other state does.
19. Average pay for California state workers has risen by more than 100 percent since 2005. That is good news for those state employees, but it is bad news for the taxpayers that have to pay their salaries.
20. More than 5,000 California state troopers made more than $100,000 last year.
21. One highway patrol officer ended up bringing home almost $484,000 in 2011.
22. One state psychiatrist in California was paid $822,000 in 2011.
23. Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.
24. Sadly, an astounding 60 percent of all students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.
25. The American Tort Reform Association has ranked the state of California as the worst “judicial hellhole” in America.
26. Businesses all over the state of California are being absolutely suffocated to death by ridiculous regulations.
27. According to the Milken Institute, operating costs for California businesses are 23 percent higher than the national average.
28. According to CNN, the state of California had the worst “small business failure rate” in America in 2010. It was 69 percent higher than the national average.
29. The number of people unemployed in the state of California is roughly equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.
30. Residential customers in California pay about 29 percent more for electricity than the national average.
31. So many poor people and illegal aliens have taken advantage of the “free” healthcare at emergency rooms that many of them have been forced to shut down in California. As a result, the state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.
32. Political correctness is totally out of control in California.
33. One California town is actually considering making it illegal to smoke in your own backyard.
34. The traffic around the big cities is horrific.
35. Los Angeles
36. San Francisco
40. The rampant gang activity in the state gets even worse with each passing year.
41. Crime continues to rise all over the state.
42. Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens to “lock their doors and load their guns” because there is not enough money to pay for adequate police protection any longer.
43. The murder rate in San Bernardino is up 50 percent this year.
44. In Oakland, burglaries are up 43 percent so far this year.
45. Today, Oakland is considered the 5th most violent city in the United States.
46. There have been more than 250 gold chain robberies in Stockton, California just since the month of April.
47. In Stockton, the police budget cuts got so bad that the police union put up a billboard at one point with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”
48. Jerry Brown.
49. The absolutely insane California state legislature.
52. The state of California lies directly along the infamous “Ring of Fire“. Approximately 90 percent of all the earthquakes in the entire world happen along the Ring of Fire and the “Big One” could hit the state at any moment.
53. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 100,000 more people moved out of the state of California in 2011 than moved into it.
54. During 2011, more than 58,000 people moved from California to the state of Texas.
55. Overall, the state of California has experienced a net loss of about four million residents to other states over the past 20 years.
The cracks in the ice are getting bigger. At this point it is really hard to have much confidence in the global financial system at all. They told us that MF Global was an isolated incident. Well, the horrific financial scandal over at PFGBest is essentially MF Global all over again. They told us that we would not see a huge wave of municipal bankruptcies in the United States. Well, three California cities have declared bankruptcy in less than a month. They told us that we could have faith in the integrity of the global financial system. Well, now we are finding out that global interest rates have been fixed by insiders for years. They told us that Greece was an isolated problem and that none of the larger European nations would experience anything remotely similar. Well, what is happening in Spain right now looks like an instant replay of exactly what happened in Greece. So who are we supposed to believe? Why does it seem like nearly everything that “the authorities” tell us turns out to be a lie? What else haven’t they been telling us?
The following are four reasons to be even less optimistic about the global financial system than you were last month….
#1 PFGBest Is MF Global All Over Again
Do you remember that whole MF Global thing?
Do you remember how hundreds of millions of dollars of customer funds were “missing” due to “accounting irregularities”?
Well, it is happening again.
PFGBest is a brokerage firm in Cedar Falls, Iowa that mostly handles agricultural futures.
All hell broke loose when the National Futures Association discovered that a bank account that was supposed to be holding 225 million dollars of customer funds was only holding about 5 million dollars instead.
So where is the other 220 million dollars?
That is a very good question.
Of course it is not a promising sign that the head of PFGBest tried to commit suicide when this news came out.
A lot of PFGBest clients are going to be absolutely devastated by this scandal. The following is from a recent Reuters article….
Farmers on Tuesday fumed at the prospect of financial losses, or at a minimum a lengthy wait for the return of frozen funds, due to alleged mismanagement at brokerage PFGBest, and some said they had been burned for the last time.
The U.S. futures industry reeled as regulators accused Iowa-based PFGBest of misappropriating more than $200 million in customer funds for more than two years, a new blow to trader trust just months after MF Global’s collapse.
Centered in the heart of farm belt, the firm handled agricultural futures accounts for a number of clients who grow corn, soybeans and cotton.
But it is not just PFGBest clients that are going to feel the pain of this scandal.
The truth is that this is going to deeply shake confidence in the entire global financial system.
Many dismissed what happened at MF Global as an “isolated incident”.
But now it is happening again.
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
#2 A Third California City Goes Bankrupt In Less Than A Month
First it was Stockton.
Then it was Mammoth Lakes.
Now it is San Bernardino’s turn.
On Tuesday, the city council of San Bernardino, California voted to file for bankruptcy.
An article in the Los Angeles Times detailed the issues at the heart of San Bernardino’s financial problems….
The city’s fiscal crisis has been years in the making, compounded by the nation’s crushing recession and exacerbated by escalating pension costs, lucrative labor agreements, Sacramento’s raid on redevelopment funds and a city reserve that is tapped out, officials said.
While it would be easy to dump on the state of California (and that is something I have done quite often), the truth is that we are seeing municipal debt problems erupting all over the United States.
For example, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania has such severe financial problems that the mayor of Scranton has ordered that all city employees be paid minimum wage until a solution to the crisis is found.
If this was television, Dwight Schrute would find a way to save the day for Scranton.
Unfortunately, this is real life and Dwight Schrute does not exist in real life.
#3 The Liborgate Scandal Keeps Getting Worse
We have been taught that we should all have faith in the integrity of the global financial system.
What a bunch of baloney that turned out to be.
It turns out that banksters have been colluding to fix global interest rates for years.
“Liborgate” is being called the biggest financial scandal in history. Libor is important because it is one of the key benchmarks used to set prices for hundreds of trillions of dollars of loans, securities and derivatives.
British banking giant Barclays has already admitted that they were involved in manipulating Libor.
Barclays has already agreed to pay $453 million in fines to British and U.S. authorities.
But the truth is that it would have been totally impossible for Barclays to have manipulated Libor by themselves.
So who else was involved?
That was a question that was discussed in a recent article in The Economist….
Over the past week damning evidence has emerged, in documents detailing a settlement between Barclays and regulators in America and Britain, that employees at the bank and at several other unnamed banks tried to rig the number time and again over a period of at least five years. And worse is likely to emerge. Investigations by regulators in several countries, including Canada, America, Japan, the EU, Switzerland and Britain, are looking into allegations that LIBOR and similar rates were rigged by large numbers of banks. Corporations and lawyers, too, are examining whether they can sue Barclays or other banks for harm they have suffered. That could cost the banking industry tens of billions of dollars. “This is the banking industry’s tobacco moment,” says the chief executive of a multinational bank, referring to the lawsuits and settlements that cost America’s tobacco industry more than $200 billion in 1998. “It’s that big,” he says.
As many as 20 big banks have been named in various investigations or lawsuits alleging that LIBOR was rigged. The scandal also corrodes further what little remains of public trust in banks and those who run them.
So what does all of this mean?
The Wall Street Journal says that the credibility of the entire global financial system is at stake….
At stake is both the integrity of the world’s financial system and the credibility of the U.K. authorities to police it. Long before the current scandal, many European policy makers had concluded that London during the boom was the Wild West, whose loose standards are a threat to European financial stability. The Libor scandal suggests U.S. regulators have reached similar conclusions. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. regulatory body that first started investigating rate-fixing, left little doubt how seriously it regards the abuses it uncovered.
Once faith is shattered, it is incredibly difficult to rebuild.
And right now it is really hard to come up with a decent argument why anyone should trust their money to such a corrupt system.
#4 Spain Is Turning Into Greece
A central government drowning in debt?
A banking system on the verge of collapse?
Politicians pushing a forced austerity program that includes much higher taxes, much lower government spending and greatly reduced pay for government workers?
Wild rioting in the streets by protesters?
Let’s see….where have we seen this before?
Can anyone still possibly deny that Spain is going down the exact same road that Greece has gone?
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is proposing a huge slate of tough austerity measures including a 3 point increase in the Value Added Tax on goods and services. If that 3 point hike is implemented, the Value Added Tax will rise to 21 percent.
Could you imagine going to the store and paying a 21 percent sales tax?
Rajoy is promising that these measures will get Spain back on the right track.
Of course we have already seen how well such austerity measures have worked in Greece.
The unemployment rate in Spain is already up to 24.4 percent, and now these austerity measures will slow the economy down even more.
No wonder there is rioting in the streets. You can see high quality footage of the rioting that has been going on in Spain this week right here. At one point police were seen firing rubber bullets at the protesters.
But of course the citizens of Spain could not live way above their means forever. At some point every debt bubble ends, and when that happens the results are often incredibly painful.
This is a lesson that the United States has not learned either. When we stop racking up more than a trillion dollars of additional government debt every year our “adjustment” will be exceedingly painful as well.
A little over a week ago, I wrote an article entitled “17 Reasons To Be EXTREMELY Concerned About The Second Half Of 2012“. I never imagined that things would get so much worse in just a week.
Everything seems to be accelerating these days.
That includes the decay that is happening in society. A few days ago I made a list of 25 signs that society is falling apart, but then another story came along after I had finished my article that topped all of the examples in my list. The following is how one man in West Virginia has been treating his wife….
During the conversation, according to the criminal complaint, Lizon’s wife told the woman that her husband had kept her chained up with metal padlocks and chains for about 10 years. The woman noticed scar tissue on the victim’s hands and ankles. Lizon’s wife told the woman that the scars were from the chains tearing into her skin.
Lizon’s wife told the woman that she and her husband were originally from Czechoslovakia, and that they live in Leroy, W.Va.
According to the complaint, the woman told investigators that the feet of Lizon’s wife were “mutilated and swollen,” one of which was missing a considerable amount of skin. Lizon’s wife told the woman that her husband smashed her foot with a bucket or scoop attachment of a farm tractor.
Lizon’s wife also told the woman Lizon called her his “slave,” and that whenever her husband entered the room she had to kneel down before him, according to the complaint.
Can you imagine anyone doing that?
Can you imagine any husband chaining his wife up for 10 years?
That is so sick that it is beyond words to describe it.
Unfortunately, that is not just one isolated incident of depravity in a world filled with goodness.
The truth is that the entire world system is saturated with depravity and corruption.
If anyone is willing to stand up for “the integrity of the global financial system”, I challenge you to leave a comment below explaining to the rest of us why we should still have blind faith in the system after everything that has happened.
I don’t imagine that too many people will even attempt to take me up on that challenge.