Stock Market, California Budget …

by on July 24, 2007

Mr. Shaw:

I commend you for passing this information along. I would like to add a few more observations to your article on how much of this gain since last summer is superficial.

The fundamental fact driving the market right now is the reinvestment of foreign debt and the devaluation of US currency. Private equity/leveraged buyouts drive up market prices by paying a premium for shares of takeover targets. Many of these funds receive their initial capital pools from foreign lenders who are seeking to reinvest the money that they loaned the US government through purchases of treasury bonds, or from oil rich nations sitting on a massive pool of US dollars accrued through high oil prices.

The stock market strength actually reflects US currency weakness and energy dependence.

Sincerely,

Mike Alexander


Paul,

The problem with the Legislature, as exemplified by the annual budget battles, is not with gerrymandering, though that is an exacerbation of the problem. The problem is simply that the U.S., along with Britain, are the only so-called democracies that do not have some form of proportional representation. Our current system is not of two parties, but of two gangs that have taken over the country and our state, and which are totally beholden to their campaign contributors instead of their people.

It’s certainly unconscionable and egregious that a small minority of Republicans annually forces budgets that harm the poor and the environment while benefiting the rich, but the Democrats, who annually fail to stand up to the Republicans’ bullying tactics are also to blame.

A Legislature made up of fewer Democrats and Republicans, and that has some Greens, Libertarians, and other small parties would be much more representative and gerrymandering would not be an issue in the large districts needed to implement this system. Trying to tweak the current unrepresentative system is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; it might buy a little time, but it won’t do anything significant.

Jeff Hoffman
San Francisco


Mr. Hogarth;

I read your article titled “Republicans Sabotage California Budget … Again” and I disagree that the “Republicans” are sabotaging the budget of California. There is so little discretionary money in the state budget with the mandates and the special funds that there is very little left that can be “budgeted”.

I read some data the other day that of the $103 Billion dollar budget ~40% is just in education, another ~30% goes to Health and Human services and ~10 % goes to Corrections. With 80% of the budget taken there is not a lot of room to stay within the revenues coming in. There have been an ~6% increase in the amount of taxes taken in with about 2.5 to 3% cost of living increase. Even with the increase in the population I feel that there is no need to raise taxes. I only see taxes raised on people trying to improve themselves and their families.

As for the concept of California being a “Deep blue State” – again I do not think that is completely true. Yes – as a state there is a decided majority that vote with a liberal bent. I believe that if an honest drawing of Legislative districts was in fact done the balance in the Assembly and Senate – although it would have a Democratic majority – I feel it would not be as great as it is now. And that is why no redistricting proposals come out of the Assembly or Senate. Of course then the budget problems might even be harder to solve.

Matthew Olson


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