Jon Stewart on Romney’s tax returns

25 Jan

Last night’s Daily Show offered a spot-on critique of what Romney’s tax returns reveal about the candidate’s 1-percenter politics. While the Right wing frames its fiscal policies in terms of “individualism,” in effect their positions amount to a regime that favors the rich and chastises the working- and middle-class. Moreover, Romney’s stance on taxes is based on a blatant fiction: GOP-ers claim that 47% of Americans pay no taxes–but the reality is that 86% of Americans pay taxes. The remaining 14% don’t pay taxes because they are elderly or disabled and can’t work.

Watch the video here.

Teach the Budget 2012!

11 Jan

The new TtB Fall 2012 curriculum is here!

Use it to teach your students, your friends–or yourself–about the budget crisis at the UC, and how it connects to state and national political and economic issues. Then come back to our site for more info on what’s going on across UC campuses and how to get involved. If you’re planning something on your campus, contact us and we’ll post a link and help spread the word. (Note: the specific information on buses included here is UCSC specific. Folks at other campuses may consult their UAW 2865 campus organizers for details specific to their campuses. Find contact info at: http://www.uaw.org)

Don’t forget these other useful materials:

Sign-up sheet to get on the bus and Occupy the Regents November 14 & 15!

Half-sheet Occupy the Regents Flyer

Full-color Occupy Regents Poster

Short on time? Make a class announcement instead. Use this script as a guide.

Reserve your bus seat for Occupy the Regents here.
Need more TtB? See more teaching tools here.

Tax Kim Kardashian! Support the Millionaire Tax!

10 Jan

 

For information on this campaign, click here.

UC Regents raided pension funds, enriched selves.

8 Jan

It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog that the UC Regents are corrupt. But this article gives some thorough and much-appreciated detail into how Regents Parsky, Wachter, Blum, and Lansing channeled pension funds into their own business investments.

Here’s a brief summary, followed by a link to the article:

UC’s Pension Fund Corruption

According to this article, a group of key UC Regents wrecked the university’s pension fund by dissolving the in-house staff of financial analysts and hiring outside firms, (who happened to be large Republican donors,) at a cost of tens of millions in brokerage and consulting fees paid by the university—and tens of billions of dollars in losses to UC worker pensions.

A Brief Summary of the Article:

In 2000, Regent Gerald Parsky, who had worked in the Nixon Administration and was a major powerbroker in California’s Republican Party, became chair of the Regents’ Investment Committee, and inaugurated a series of drastic changes to the UC pension fund’s investment strategy of the UC’s pension fund. The fund had until that point been managed in-house by UC Treasurer Patricia Small and a small staff of analysts. Under Small, who had put in 28 years at the UC, the fund outperformed comparable funds, with an average return of more than 15%. Part of this success was due to Small’s knack for mitigating risk. During the dot-com bubble, she had hedged bets by investing in long-term bonds, which proved to be a smart move. In fact UC’s pension fund was managed so well that it paid for itself. For 17 years, employees gladly accepted wages that were 10-20% below market value because they did not have to make pension contributions. But this winning strategy was put to an end in 2000.

Once ensconced as investment chair, Regent Parsky worked quickly to shut out Small and pressure her to retire. The committee then decided to out-source investing decisions to Wilshire Investments, another large Republican donor, costing the university tens of millions per year in fees. Still worse, the new outside fund managers opted move a large portion into riskier private equity and real estate investments, which are not subject to federal oversight.

The trio of regents supporting this change—Parsky, Paul Wachter, and Richard Blum, are financiers and are heavily invested in private equity and real estate markets. Under their stewardship, the fund has made investments that raise serious questions about conflicts of interests. According to a recent report, since 2002, the university has “invested $748 million in seven private equity deals in which [Richard Blum] or his firm, Blum Capital Partners, was a major investor.”

Since Small’s ouster in 2000, investment fees and brokerage commissions paid by the UC went from $5.5M–to $52M in 2006. Though the UC pension fund had been running a surplus from 1999 to 2000, in the years that followed, “[n]early every pension portfolio in the country [was] doing better than the university’s … 86 percent of large US investment trusts outperformed the UC pension fund from 2001 to 2006.”

The UC has blamed workers and faculty for pension fund shortfalls, explaining that the problem is that they have not been making contributions. The UC is currently seizing up to 8% of paychecks to cover the billions that have been lost to bad investments.

 

Links:

http://spot.us/pitches/337-investors-club-how-the-uc-regents-spin-public-funds-into-private-profit/story

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/parskys-party/Content?oid=1083283&showFullText=true

 

 

Trigger Cuts Go Into Effect–Hitting Community Colleges the Hardest

14 Dec

“California State University and the University of California will each lose $100 million, bringing to $750 million in cuts this year from each university’s budget.

“But the deepest impact will be at community colleges, where the cuts will cost $102 million, for a total loss this year of $502 million from the system’s $5.9 billion budget.”
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/13/MNFV1MBVNN.DTL#ixzz1gX6X2RwB

Nov. 28th Day of Action Media Coverage

30 Nov

http://www.kionrightnow.com/story/16139196/uc-santa-cruz-students-occupy-student-services-building#.TtRpMxxb75M.facebook

http://www.ksmstv.com/noticia/2011/11/28/317583-estudiantes-ucsc-une-protestas.html

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-uc-regents-20111129,0,7181269.story

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/28/MNAP1M52GR.DTL http://www.scpr.org/news/2011/11/28/30080/students-plan-protest-regents-meeting-ucla/

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2016882726_occupy29.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-11-28/occupy-protest-arrests/51434548/1

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/emboldened-uc-davis-students-protest-tuition-hike/2011/11/28/gIQAder85N_story.html

http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/blog/off_the_press/2011/11/uc_board_of_regents_passes_2.8_billion_budget_proposal

http://www.thenation.com/blog/164820/open-letter-and-pledge-non-violence-uc-president-mark-yudof-founder-occupy-colleges

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/uc-regents-meeting-students-protest_n_1117402.html

http://www.dailycal.org/2011/11/28/uc-board-of-regents-meeting-disrupted-by-protests/

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/28/4085297/hundreds-protest-uc-regents-meeting.html

A quick glance at the 99%

19 Nov