Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Public Pension Problems

This is just one of a number of news stories I've seen lately detailing the problems local governments are having in covering the increased costs of pensions for government employees. This is affecting communties up and down the state, with the City of San Diego being the poster boy for public pension mismanagement. I can't recall hearing of many, if any, taxpayer groups taking up this issue. Maybe I missed it? I suspect that, since taxpayer groups tend to lean towards a conservative membership, their membership tends to shy away at anything that looks like criticism of public safety agencies. Law enforcement, corrections and fire being the biggest drains on taxpayers in this pension fiasco.

I've said before, I wonder how Humboldt County stands in regards to funding these pension liablities. I suppose I should just get off my butt and ask those in the know at city hall and the county courthouse. I've never heard of the Humboldt Taxpayer's League looking into how well, or bad off, we are in this area, although I know some of the League members are aware of the issue.
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Along that same line, here's an interesting editorial from the L.A. Daily News about a sales tax increase the L.A. County Sheriff keeps pushing despite having enough money for funding the needed deputies, at least according to the writer. Wonder how much of that goes on around the state? Probably quite a lot.
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Political Quizzes, Part 2
(Hmm...for some reason the paragraph breaks aren't showing up down below so, I just add a couple *s to break it up)
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I sent Patriotic Mom yet another political quiz yesterday. Some of you might have already taken it even before I mentioned it some months ago on this blog. The World's Smallest Political Quiz is the darling of a lot of libertarians. I suppose it's ok but a little simplistic. I think it is fairly accurate in identifying a libertarian and/ or an authoritarian. So, it's not a bad tool for outreach activities. If someone scores as a libertarian, they might be surprised and want to take a further look into whatever cause or organization you're promoting at an outreach event.
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I like the Who Should Decide... version of the WSPQ a little better, although I haven't found an online version that tabulates the results automatically. The one I linked to here seems to have slightly different questions than the last version I used. With the WSD version, you're asked who should decide about some particular issue: You, the Government or Unsure. I think this version imparts to people an idea of what libertarianism is all about, as opposed to simply identifying a libertarian minded person as the WSPQ does. I've given versions of both tests at various outreach events and many folks score down toward the Authoritarian sector in the WSPQ then turn around and score up in the Libertarian quadrant taking the WSD version.
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I think it would be interesting to do the comparison testing on a much larger scale. Some might say the WSD version is misleading cause most people will give themselves the benefit of the doubt and usually chose to leave the choices to themselves. I would counter, that's exactly the point: most people would rather make decisions themselves and thus the libertarian philosophy fits naturally with them. The problem arises when people don't realize that they can't really be free themselves if they're not willing to allow others to have that same freedom to choose.

3 Comments:

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Pamela Reece said...

Fred, I came in as a Centrist.

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger James said...

Personal Freedom = 100
Economic Freedom = 90

almost DEAD 100% Libertarian!

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I think I usually score the opposite, James; 90 Personal, 100 economic. Maybe 90 economic, depending on what mood I'm in.

Ok, James; Head on down to your Elections Office and register to vote as a Libertarian.

 

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