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Public unions sue to block voter-approved pension cuts
Charles Payne: Listen, the unions are losing now big time in the court of public opinion. They have gone to the other courts to try and rectify it. I think they are making a gigantic mistake. In San Jose, these pensions are up almost 200 percent above inflation. We get it, fireman-you run into the building when it is on fire when everyone else is running out. Policeman take care of the bad guys , teachers help us raise our kids. But, at some point, these so called public servants have to listen to the will of the people. It is time to draw a line between reasonable and unreasonable compensation-that is the bottom line. I think they are making a bigger mistake.
Dagen McDowell: Why this is such a watershed is potentially the people in San Jose voted to cut benefits for current retirees. If this goes ahead and the unions fear this agreement a great deal. We had a big, big vote down in San Diego. The second and third largest cities in California that also cut benefits but for new hires. The unions know that if this goes ahead you are gonna have vote after vote after vote where the unions lose power and they lose benefits. I think these two votes in California were a huge victory for taxpayers everywhere.
Ben Stein: There are several things going on Neil, one is that the unions are basically saying you cannot aggregate a contract by a vote of the taxpayers. Look, we have a contract and you cannot break it. They are suing for enforcement of a contract. The second thing is that there simply isn't enough money in the world to pay all these pension costs. Nobody love firefighters, police, prosecutors, prison guards more than I do. I love and worship them-they are great people but we just don't have the money and something has got to give and it is going to have to be these generous pensions. It's a very great shame, but something's gotta give.
Charlie Gasparino: I'm not crazy about prison guards to be honest with you-the rest of them I like. I think this is even bigger than Wisconsin because this is the ground zero of the public sector union movement-right here in California. I think if there were two ground zeros, they would be here in New York and California. If California goes the way of Wisconsin or even in that direction this is a huge victory for taxpayers as Dagan said. It is a reason to buy stocks again. It is a reason for hope.
Adam Lashinsky: Clearly in a place like the public sector unions in San Jose, it hasn't sunk in. First of all I think what we're seeing here isn't so hopeful as Charlie says. Were beginning to see a giant problem but is really just the beginning. What we're seeing is a really interesting example of two things. We are seeing two interesting things going on. The rule of law and democracy. So Ben put his finger on it. We as a country, we as a state, municipalities, we screwed up. We let this thing get way out of control with meaning well as Charles pointed out. It got completely out of whack. From a unions perspective, it's about money, it's about benefits, they have contracts. I think we should expect them to sue to protect their paychecks.
Government official admits janitors and bus drivers counted as green jobs
Ben Stein: Well as George Orwell said in "1984," those that would gain control of people's lives would use words to do it. They would change definitions to mean anything they wanted. War is peace, freedom is slavery, and that is what the government is doing now. They are using definitions to try and control the thought processes of America. These definitions are meaningless and it is extremely frightening to see this dishonesty even in politics. To see this level of dishonesty is extremely disheartening.
Adam Lashinsky: Neil, I don't think it is a silly idea to call something a green job if a green job is a job that contributes to improving the environment which I think is a noble goal. I think that the janitor at the solar panel company can count as a green job. The guy filling up the school bus with gasoline should not be a green job. We should try to learn something from this. Those are bad definitions.
Dagen McDowell: We have all just been sucked into the insane world of debating. Why do we even have a green jobs category? A job is a job, is a job. It is a waste of time and money that the government is even focused and fixated on this!
Charles Payne: It is a conduit for stealing money from the public, a lot of money from the public just to appease environmentalists, Adam. To get money back to political donors. If you cut all the bull, there are maybe a couple hundred green jobs. A couple hundred, not three million! It's a lie. Ben, I don't know if Orwell said it in 1984, there are lies, lies, and then to rip off the American public. That is what it is.
Government agency to sell delinquent mortgages to private investors
Ben Stein: I think it is a great idea. Very important are the caveats. One, make sure the investors are sophisticated investors and have some idea of the risks they are running. There are a lot of risks in this. It is basically a junk debt offering. Also, make sure they can't use aggressive procedures in trying to extract money from the people paying the mortgages. Otherwise it is a great idea. The government should be selling assets and doing whatever they can.
Dagen McDowell: It's an exclamation point basically on how poorly FHA has been. Half of the loans at FHA are underwater. The vast majority of the loans at FHA are bad loans made since 2009. You sell them off, the FHA is just gonna step back in and make more bad loans.
Charles Payne: I think Ben makes this great point. We better look at the fine print on this thing to make sure that the bundlers don't make the great deals and everyone else doesn't. It might be a white flag. To Dagen's point it might be a white flag at the last minute.
Charles Gasparino: This is good. First off the people who buy mortgages are sophisticated investors. I don't think average people, I don't think you can get a two year brokerage. It will be the Black Rocks or the big companies. There will be major investors involved in this. I will say this. It is like TARP in the sense that the intiaial TARP plan was that the banks would sell the toxic assets to the federal government. Why didn't they do that? Every bank would have been declared insolvent.
Adam Lashinsky: I think the FHA is an embarrassment. They are still insuring loans with 3.5 percent down payments. I agree with everybody that this is a good idea to get it off the governments books.