June 8, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - Israeli doctors were among the first to set up emergency hospitals in Haiti after its devastating 2010 earthquake. Israel also swiftly dispatched water-purification experts to Japan following the 2011 tsunami and trauma experts to Boston after the recent marathon bombings. Yet despite such high-profile disaster assistance, Israel ranks near the bottom among leading free-market economies in providing foreign aid to developing nations. Along with Mexico and Chile, Israel gives the least as a percentage of gross national income among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
July 11, 2013 |
As if the consequences of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling weren't already clear, four graphs released Wednesday provide a compelling visual to stand beside the piles of mounting evidence. See here: Non-Party Independent Expenditures in House and Senate Elections, 1978-2012 For candidates in both parties, the trend line was ticking up years before the court ruled in Citizens United that the government had no role in limiting the political speech of corporations.
November 7, 2010
Whether they touted Meg Whitman or the legalization of marijuana, urged raising taxes for parks or scuttling (or preserving) the climate change law, it seemed as though all of this year's political campaigns promised they were good for California's economy. In a way, it was true. The campaigns and their allied forces poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the state. Sure, most of it went for advertising and consultants, but think trickle-down economics: Mountains of pizza were bought for those late-night strategy meetings.
November 5, 2012 |
Backers of Proposition 32 have relentlessly promoted the fiction that the measure would stop special-interest money from flooding California political campaigns because it would stop unions and corporations from deducting money from members' and employees' paychecks for political funds. That won't make special-interest money disappear. All that will do is cripple unions' ability to raise money for political purposes, and leave corporations essentially unfettered to spend what they want influencing elections.
March 30, 2014
Re "Sacramento's sickness," Editorial, March 28 Banning state lawmakers from raising money during the Legislature's session is a Band-Aid that would create an uneven playing field, where opponents could raise unlimited funds while an incumbent's hands were tied. It would also make matters worse by driving special interests to fund independent expenditure committees to work on behalf of legislators who were prohibited from accepting contributions. It also is unworkable: A legislator who wanted to run for another office would be unable to amass the funds to do so. And perhaps the worst effect: It would force incumbents into a month of frantic fundraising before ballots are mailed, exactly when they should be attending candidate debates and interacting with voters.
December 25, 2012
Re "Pressure mounts on U.S. to curtail aid to Rwanda," Dec. 21 This article casually mentions the killing of about 5 million people in Congo, many of them by rebels assisted by Rwanda, which receives U.S. aid. I was under the impression that the civilized world (which includes the U.S., although after recent events one wonders) had agreed with the Jews after World War II to adopt the motto "never again. " Now it appears to have changed to, "Well, it's OK as long as they are not white.
July 4, 2012
Re "Who lost Stockton?," Editorial, June 28 The Times gets it mostly correct, stating that running a city "requires skill, experience and a sense of duty. " Its assertion that this "involves the very business-like practice of taking risks with other people's money" is off the mark, however. The comment also applies to state and federal governments. Ever optimists, we assume that the requisite skills and experience are present to address the issues when, in fact, such an expectation is not realistic.
June 7, 2012 |
Six-year-old Joseph was very upset when he heard that Brandon Jacobs was no longer with the New York Giants. When he asked his mother why his favorite player was no longer on his favorite team, she explained that it was a money issue. Joseph decided to help. He gave his mother $3.36 and asked her to send it to Jacobs with a note attached. The note read: "Dear Brandon Jacobs, So you could go to the Giants, here is my money. " Love, Joe. " Jacobs, who now plays for the San Francisco 49ers, was very touched.
July 8, 2013 |
The business world is fond of presenting consumers with Catch-22s. Richard Leza received a real beauty from a debt collector. "They basically told me I had to prove something that doesn't even exist," he said. Here's the crux of the problem: Is it the debt collector's responsibility to prove that money is owed, or the consumer's responsibility to prove that it isn't? State and federal officials are increasingly focusing on such issues as debt collectors turn up the heat after the prolonged economic downturn.
October 30, 2013 |
Anticipating the Securities and Exchange Commission's actions can feel like waiting for Godot. The SEC has been sitting on a petition for a new rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose to shareholders what corporate funds are spent on political activities. The petition was filed in August 2011 by 10 corporate law professors, yet the formal rule-making process on it still has not begun. More than 640,000 people - including senators, representatives, state treasurers, comptrollers, former Vanguard Chief Executive John Bogle, investors and me - have filed public comments endorsing the need for such a rule.