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The Politics of Pensions for Gov. Brown

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 4, 2011

The governor has a dozen proposals, ranging from a ban on pension spiking to a voluntary 401k option.  Republicans say Brown's ideas are good first steps but don't go far enough.  Unions say the governor has no business making any changes legislatively and should instead use collective bargaining.

Joe Mathews studies California politics as the New America Foundation's Irvine Senior Fellow.  He says Brown's proposals address each of the big abuses attracting attention but don't represent a comprehensive solution.

Mathews: "You know, it's funny - Brown, the first time he was governor, was criticized for being too visionary - too up in the clouds - and not focusing enough on nitty-gritty and detail.  I would actually say he seems to be overcompensating for that the second time around."

In other words, Mathews says, California needs more of the "Governor Moonbeam" persona for which critics lampooned Brown during his first two terms in office back in the 1970s.

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