Rants & Raves for the Week of May 17th, 2010
This week, Meg Whitman announced her plan to root out the more than $7.5 billion in fraud she claims occurs annually in state programs for the poor, seniors and people with disabilities. Sounds like a good plan… except for the fact that it’s completely bogus. The state only spends $12.2 billion altogether on these three programs, so in order for Whitman’s claim to be true, more than 60% of spending in those programs would have to be fraudulent (and if that was the case, wouldn’t someone have noticed now?) Since Whitman won’t say where she got the $7.5 billion figure, we’re pretty sure she just made it up. Instead of looking for fraud and wasteful spending in our vital state services, maybe “Wall Street” Whitman should start looking at her own campaign’s fraud and wasteful spending.
The California unemployment rate held steady at 12.6% last month, even as the jobless rate for 34 other states fell. Just further evidence that Governor Schwarzenegger's slash-and-burn cuts are stymieing job growth and condemning California to perpetual recession.
The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) this week released its analysis of the Governor’s May budget revision, which urges the Legislature to throw out the Governor’s plan to eliminate California’s welfare-to-work program, which assists 1.3 million Californians, and nearly 80 percent of them are children. The LAO pointed out that eliminating CalWorks, the state would lose $3.7 billion in matching federal funds. Yesterday, the Assembly budget subcommittee voted to reject the Governor’s proposal to eliminate CalWorks.
The U.S. Senate passed it’s version of the Wall Street overhaul bill this week, a momentous victory for the tens of millions of working families who lost jobs, homes and income at the hands of the big Wall Street banks. As the Senate and House begin conference negotiations on the bill, we are continuing to push for stronger regulations of derivatives, private equity and hedge funds. The Wall Street Banksters are still working to water down the bill, so our fight isn’t over yet.
Tesla Motors and Toyota announced that they will reopen the NUMMI plant in Fremont to build electric cars. Toyota closed down NUMMI in March of this year, leaving 4,500 UAW autoworkers out of work, and causing the loss of thousands more jobs on their supply chain. Now Toyota is back, investing $50 million in the venture with Tesla, which will employ 1,000 workers when the plant reopens, and the UAW is hard at work to press Tesla and Toyota to hire back the highly skilled and trained former NUMMI workers. Tesla chose the NUMMI plant over offers from other states, proving that, contrary to what the critics may say, California is a great place to do business.