Ed Driscoll

Abbott and Kahane Meet Bankrupt California

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei attended the graduation ceremony of The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), held at the military cadets Imam Hussain (a.s.) Officers Academy. (Photo by Salampix/Abaca/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

At his PJM column, Michael Walsh writes:

On the home page, Victor Davis Hanson has a devastating indictment of Road Warrior California, while over at NRO, Kevin Williamson piles on with “Penniless in Paradise,” about the parlous financial circumstances of the no-longer Golden State. It’s all very depressing to us semi-native Californians, who still harbor hopes that the best place to live in America can somehow yet be salvaged if the racket ruled by the state Democratic Party and the public-employee unions can ever be broken up.

After quoting from an L.A. Times column that in turn quotes a construction worker in the area who tells the paper, “The public-employee unions are killing us. They are killing our cities, our states, and our country,” Michael links to an Abbott and Costello video on the joys of “loafing” — actually making loafs of bread for a living versus goldbricking (two guesses as to which member of the team made which assumption).

Though with this article in the Washington Post that was linked to earlier this week by the Drudge Report, perhaps it’s time to queue up the comedy team’s legendary “Who’s On First” baseball-themed skit:

A throwaway line in that blistering report from the House Ethics Committee on Rep. Laura Richardson casts new light on the California Democrat’s impressive performance in the annual congressional softball game.

According to the report, Richardson’s big interview with ethics investigators came on June 20, the day of the big game, which pits female members of Congress against the journalists who cover them. Richardson apparently thought the interview was going on far too long and worried that it would keep her from the action on the diamond.

She “repeatedly made complaints about its length and ultimately demanded that it end so she could participate in an annual Congressional softball game,” the report states. And although investigators suggested reconvening another day, the congresswoman was adamant that they finish up.

And speaking of how the public-employee unions are killing us, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air spots the bankrupt California city of Stockton “paying $204K per year in retirement for police chief who served for … eight months:”

California, like most other states, use defined-benefit pensions for their public employees, rather than the defined-contribution plans used by almost everyone in the private sector.  The latter either utilizes a 401K plan or something similar, where both employees and employers deposit funds, which get invested over the time of service.  When employees retire, they own their own fund and draw off of it for their retirement income, which leaves no overhang of debt for the employer and gives the employee control over the investment strategies used.

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Update: A reader objects to this post, as former chief Morris spent more than 30 years on the Stockton police force.  That doesn’t change the fact that he’s getting the pension for a chief after only eight months on the job, and that the pension for that position is more than half what we pay the President of the United States for actually being on the job.  In fact, the President “only” gets $191,300 in pension per year after retirement.

If only the shoot date for Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops had been a few months longer…

Meanwhile, 21st century San Francisco suffers from performance art of an entirely different sort. Fortunately for all of us, the Hays Code prohibited Abbott and Costello from riffing on these topics:

James Taranto’s running punchline (taken from a 2008 Rocky Mountain News headline on that year’s Democratic convention), that “With DNC in Mind, City Bans Carrying Urine, Feces” may need to have its list of precious bodily fluids expanded.

Update: And now for news of fresh disaster in California: “California Dreaming Turns Into Nightmare As Sinking FaceBerg Stock Means Less State Revenue,” the ZeroHedge econoblog reports. “if the company’s stock price remains depressed, hundreds of millions of income tax dollars assumed in the 2012-13 state budget plan are at risk.”

But don’t worry. e-business, green jobs, Indian casino revenue, high speed rail will be the cure-all that saves Sacramento.