The pension nightmare for California’s cities is getting scarier. To keep up with ballooning pension payments, cities will soon have to raise taxes or cut services, or both. Loudly sounding the alarm, the League of California Cities reported this month that most members expect pension costs to jump by at least 50 percent by 2024-25. Read more.
Jack Ohman watches the wifebeaters in the White House. Get outraged here.
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Columns & op-eds
Dan Morain: Steve Poizner, who made his fortune in Silicon Valley, spent $40.3 million on politics between 2000 and his unsuccessful 2010 run for governor. His entry into the Insurance Commissioner race was, in other words, not good for Democrats. Read more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Loneliness is producing more cases of depression, heart attacks and other diseases that cost countries a fortune in health care expenditures. Last month’s appointment of Tracey Crouch as the U.K.’s minister of loneliness aims to find ways to combat loneliness and help the government save money. Read more.
William G. Tierney and Michael Lanford: Like it or not, California State University students are about to become guinea pigs in a grand educational experiment. Beginning this fall, CSUs will stop giving placement tests or offering remedial classes, and instead will place all students in regular classes to sink or swim. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: This is a problem the world thought it had fixed. Scientists discovered in the 1980s that chlorofluorocarbons – used for refrigeration and in aerosol sprays – were creating a hole in the stratospheric ozone layer far above Antarctica, which could have devastating consequences for life on Earth. But now a team of scientists says it has discovered that ozone levels at lower altitudes have decreased – and not over Antarctica, but between the 60-degree latitudes, where the vast majority of the world’s population lives. Read more.
Orange County Register: With the state of California projecting a large budget surplus for the next fiscal year, lawmakers have serious choices to make. While it is a significant amount of money, California lawmakers have proven more than capable of blowing through large wads of cash. If state lawmakers aren’t going to make prudent decisions, the state would be better off providing some tax relief to the state’s overburdened taxpayers. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: The men and women of the military deserve our deepest gratitude for their willingness to put their lives on the line to protect their fellow Americans every day. But we suspect many service members agree that having the Pentagon spend millions of dollars on a military parade – as President Donald Trump has made plain he wants to do – is dubious when the military and military veterans have so many obvious needs. Read more.
Baltimore Sun: White House chief of staff may be the second toughest job in Washington and surely never more difficult than in the current administration where knowledge, experience, expertise and even decorum are in short supply. John F. Kelly has to go because he’s committed a cardinal sin for someone in his job – in the matter of Rob Porter, he’s acted wholly incompetently, not only failing to address the abuse allegations against the staff secretary but knowingly allowing classified documents to be funneled through someone who lacked security clearance and then misrepresenting to the public what he did and did not know. Read more.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Sen. Rand Paul was right to put his foot down and call hypocrisy by its name. The Kentucky Republican briefly forced a government shutdown early Friday by delaying a Senate vote required to advance the government’s spending authority. The hypocrisy he referred to was mainly on the Republican side of the aisle, but the label applies equally to any Democrats who believe the government’s deficit is out of control and that the time is long overdue to impose fiscal discipline. Read more.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Conservatives are using every possible means to permanently lock in power, wealth and influence for the existing, predominantly white and predominantly male power structure. Read more.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: The institution of the presidency does not require perfect men or women. But by even the most generous standards, Trump is a figure of monumental smallness. Read more.
David Leonhardt, New York Times: The Trump administration, often with congressional Republicans, enacts a policy that harms a large number of Americans. Then local or state allies of the administration raise objections. Ultimately, the administration and Congress create a carve-out that protects a small number of favored constituents. Read more.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: President Donald Trump deceived those who believed his populist promises. The most recent evidence of Trump’s dishonesty comes in the budget and infrastructure plans the administration released Monday. Both are half smoke-and-mirrors, half traditional Republican economic policy. Read more.
Greg Sargent, Washington Post: In year two, President Donald Trump will keep embracing the GOP’s plutocratic and regressive fiscal priorities, threatening to worsen inequality over time. And Trump will keep up the bread-and-circuses racial and gender-oriented provocation to drive GOP base voters to the polls. Read more.
Tweet of the day
“Sacramento Bee is anti-science. Paper calls scientific study of human differences RACIST.” – Ann Coulter, @AnnCoulter. This, evidently, was in reference to this story by Diana Lambert and Anita Chabria.