Oregon legislator reads CAFR, finds billions, ends budget deficit crisis; California can do same.
Carl Herman, LA County Nonpartisan Examiner
June 11, 2010
The below 2-minute video shows an Oregon legislator appropriately outraged to discover the Orwellian lie of omission that his state has available assets valued over ten times the budget deficit. These funds are “unreserved, undesignated fund balance,” meaning that they have no restrictions for use.
This is true in every state; documented in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). When Democratic and Republican “leadership” states public goods and services MUST be cut because of budget deficits, the lies become ones of commission.
I fully explain this situation in the following from my article, “CAFR: UC budget fully funded with one-fifth of one percent of state of CA “investments”:California’s political “leadership” of both parties have lied in omission by failing to discuss California’s investments of $367 billion (page 48) as a possible source of funding for the ~$20 billion budget deficit. Ethical politicians would have presented the facts for professional and independent economic cost-benefit analysis to communicate choices to the tax-paying public.
“Leadership” claims that this money is necessary to leave alone in order to pay mainly for public employee retirement benefits. Let’s check that story. California’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) shows current member contribution pays for all retiree benefits except for $1.8 billion (also pages 48 and 49). This means that Republican and Democratic “leaders” say they need to extract and hold over $367 billion from the taxpayers in order to pay for a cost of one-half of one percent of OUR money they took from us.
These “leaders” are lying sacks of spin.
Our leaders have lied in omission and use obfuscating language for our collective money that then become what author Ellen Brown calls, “Stagnant pools of government money.”I also looked at the CAFRs for Los Angeles County ($52 billion in investments; pages 61-63) and the City of Los Angeles ($36 billion;). Both have drastically cut programs. Both have pension plans underfunded by current members by less than 2% of their investment totals.
California has a budget deficit of ~$20 billion. The combined investments of CAFRs for the state of CA, Los Angeles County, and the City of Los Angeles is over $450 billion; over 22 times the amount of the budget shortfallIf just these three state agencies surrendered their withheld money back to the public instead of lording over it as communists, each Californian would receive ~$15,000. To pay for the $1.8 billion shortfall in the retirement account, each individual could be taxed $50.
But wait. So far, we’re only considering three CAFRs in the state of California. The comprehensive reality is far more dramatic. If you combine all of California’s ~10,000 government agencies’ CAFRs, the combined total according to Walter Burien’s sampling analysis is $8 trillion. Let’s say Walter’s way-off. For argument’s sake, let’s say the total is less than half; only $3.5 trillion. If that was returned to the public, each Californian would receive $100,000.
Walter says he’s confident in his documentation that every state has a similar structure that has overtaxed and seized Americans’ hard-earned money. His solution is to have this invested money actually benefit the public by having dividend returns pay for government budgets. If government agencies divested their investments, the market value of the investments would plummet. He explains his solution in the radio interview below.
Obviously, we need independent auditing of all state CAFRs and independent economic cost-benefit analyses to make our choices clear of how the public benefit is best served. Californians oppressed under a $20 billion dollar budget deficit that cuts essential public services while not considering taxpayers’ trillions “invested” in our names is among the worst choices imaginable.
To put this into an analogy, I’ve modified the one used by Walter: This is like a juvenile claiming he needs money because his front pants pocket is empty, which he dutifully shows (budget). What he’s not telling you is that his back pockets have over 100 times the money he says he “needs” (shown in various places of the CAFRs). Whenever he’s asked about the money in his back pockets, which he never volunteers in discussing his empty front pocket and never invites for consideration to move some into the front pocket, he says, “Oh, that money is designated for other uses. I can’t touch that.” So far, the silence of corporate media and political leadership from Left and Right has brought us to today. Of course, “I can’t touch that” is a lie of omission because it can be touched the moment policy changes. So the real issue is the heart of economics: what are the costs and benefits of different choices?
The fact that the public isn’t aware that their tax money is available and corporate media doesn’t report it points to corporate media collusion. Corporate media disinformation for cartels like our banking industry is documented in two resources, academic and a call to citizen action: Open proposal to US higher education: end oligarchy economics, save trillions with education.