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Bad News and Worse News at the VA


Friday February 23rd, 2018   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 5:34am PST   •  

There is both bad news and worse news to report about the VA’s ongoing scandals of waste, fraud and abuse.

First, the bad news. The Department of Vetarans Affairs is now immersed in a new scandal, one that reaches all the way up to the top ranks of the federal agency. Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Times reports on a misuse of taxpayer funds that allowed VA Secretary David Shulkin to go on a travel junket to Europe with his wife at taxpayer expense.

The Department of Veterans Affairs watchdog released a report Wednesday that said the head of the agency, Secretary David Shulkin, improperly accepted tickets to Wimbledon and used taxpayer funds to cover his wife’s airfare during a European trip last July.

According to the VA inspector general report, the 11-day trip cost taxpayers more than $122,000 and was subsequently misrepresented to ethics lawyers after Shulkin returned to the U.S.

Shulkin’s chief of staff, Viveca Wright Simpson, doctored an official email in order to secure taxpayer funding for the travel costs associated with his wife’s flight for the trip, which ended up totaling more than $4,000, the inspector general concluded.

Shulkin himself misrepresented how he obtained tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament in his conversations with ethics officials. Shulkin claimed he had received them as a gift from a close personal friend, when in fact, the woman who provided the tickets had only met the VA secretary three times.

“After a thorough investigation, OIG’s findings included the Chief of Staff’s alteration of a document and misrepresentations to ethics officials caused Secretary Shulkin’s wife to be approved as an ‘invitational traveler,’ which authorized VA to pay her travel costs [and] Secretary Shulkin improperly accepted a gift of Wimbledon tickets and related hospitality,” the report read.

The inspector general said the trip led to a “misuse of VA resources” and employees’ time since at least one staffer served “as a personal travel concierge to plan tourist activities” for Shulkin and his wife. The secretary, who was slated to attend a conference on veterans’ affairs in London and meet with Danish and British officials, was accompanied on the trip by three other top-level agency staffers and a six-member security detail.

Although centered around Shulkin, who had previously been appointed by President Obama to serve at the VA and who was promoted by President Trump to clean up the department, the new scandal really illustrates the extent to which corruption has become entrenched throughout the VA. Vivieca Wright Simpson, who has resigned within the last week, was previously implicated in efforts to cover up the VA’s wait list scandal, where VA officials had rationed health care to veterans by maintaining a secret wait list for veterans seeking treatment at the VA while making it appear they were meeting the department’s goals and allow them to collect performance bonuses. The Washington Examiner‘s Pete Kasperowicz has that aspect of the story:

A Department of Veterans Affairs official accused of altering an email to get a free trip to Europe for Secretary David Shulkin’s wife is the same official who tried to hide the VA waitlist scandal from Congress in 2014….

Wright Simpson is the same person who in 2014 tried to get VA employees to hide evidence of the VA wait-time scandal from members of Congress.

At the time, CNN reported that two lawmakers complained that their efforts to discover more about that scandal were stymied by Wright Simpson.

When Reps. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., and Mike Doyle, D-Pa., called the VA to ask about a glowing report from the Pittsburgh VA, they were told by an official that he was told not to tell lawmakers about the extent of the waitlist problem.

“Specifically, congressional sources say, Wolf said she was told not to do so by Gary Devansky of the Pittsburgh-based Veterans Integrated Service Network 4, on behalf of Vivieca Wright, the Veterans Health Administration’s Director of Network Support,” CNN reported.

Her involvement in the scandal that rocked the VA in 2014 didn’t hurt Wright Simpson’s career prospects. In 2017, the VA named her as the department’s interim chief of staff, and she has since taken on that role in an official capacity.

Noted VA whistleblower Scott Davis said Wright Simpson’s involvement shows the “corrosive culture” at the VA under the Obama administration has continued under Trump.

Indeed it does. For his part, David Shulkin is apparently seeking to restore his reputation after having it tarnished in the VA’s travel scandal. Military.com‘s Richard Sisk reports on the latest twist to come out of the VA’s travelgate scandal:

The Department of Veterans affairs became the department of intrigue Wednesday as Secretary Dr. David Shulkin claimed a White House mandate to purge those plotting against him at the agency.

In phone calls to several news outlets, Shulkin said he would be staying in the job despite the uproar over his travel expenses and now had administration approval to clean house of insiders at the VA who sought to take him down.

Shulkin told Politico he was the victim of “subversion” from within, and issued a warning that “Those who crossed the line in the past are going to have to be accountable for those decisions.”

Amen to that, although we would recognize that mandate would now be held by either Shulkin or his replacement should the travel scandal prove to claim his career in public service at the VA.

For now however, Shulkin would appear to be safe in his position, where his previous work to improve access to medical care to the nation’s veterans has bought him some time. Sisk continues reporting, which is where the worse news for the VA comes into play:

Shulkin’s apparent success in keeping the job came after several Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) representing millions of vets backed his retention Tuesday.

The VSOs said they were disappointed by the findings of the IG’s report but saw Shulkin, the only holdover from the Obama administration in the Trump Cabinet, as a hedge against over reliance on the Veterans Choice Program, which allows vets to opt for private or community care.

The VSOs have consistently warned that the Trump administration’s push to expand Choice would eventually lead to the gutting of the VA’s health care system, the nation’s largest with 170 hospitals and more than 1,200 outpatient facilities serving nine million vets annually.

“While we were disappointed to learn of the recent issue with the Secretary’s travel, we believe that the current controversy surrounding the Secretary is part of a larger effort to remove him and install others who would take steps to privatize the services provided to our nation’s heroes,” Denise Rohan, national commander of the two-million member American Legion, said in a statement.

What the VSOs fail to recognize is that the government’s role in directly providing single-payer style health care to the nation’s veterans who were not allowed to seek care elsewhere is what allowed corruption to become institutionalized at all levels of the department in the first place, where the bureaucrats in the department could routinely put their own interests ahead of the veterans they claim to serve with impunity.

Breaking the unethical monopoly of the VA’s health care system for the nation’s veterans may be the only recourse that veterans and taxpayers have to break the chains of corruption at a government department whose bureaucrats are proving to be too intransigent to reform. The VSOs seeking to sustain the VA’s health care system as it is today had better hope that new accountability reforms become law and prove to be effective in cleaning house at the scandal plagued department.

Otherwise, it will be the veterans that they claim to serve who will continue to pay the price.

Government Junkie Economics


Wednesday February 21st, 2018   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 1:09pm PST   •  

As we noted, California assemblyman Ian Calderon has proposed a bill that would make it illegal for restaurant staff to give customers a plastic straw unless they ask for one. Unrequested straws would draw a fine of $1,000 or even jail time. For all his zeal, the assemblyman seems to have ignored the tons of trash homeless “campers” leave in scenic areas such as the American River Parkway and in major cities such as San Francisco.

In a single week last March, the San Francisco Department of Public Works picked up 55,000 pounds of trash and close to 4,000 hypodermic needles. The plastic syringes pose health and safety hazards but that does not trouble legislators. In fact, the government spends money to distribute syringes. Such “needle exchanges” began during the AIDS epidemic and there are now some 200 across the USA, including 40 in California, with six in San Francisco County and five in Los Angeles, which hands out more than a million syringes per year. The federal government banned money for such programs in 1988, lifted the prohibition in 2009 and reinstated it in 2011. In 2016, the feds restored the funding as part of an omnibus spending package.

Government syringe handouts are intended to prevent disease but their promoters claim they save money as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a New York program in one year saved $1,300 to $3,000 “per client.” Likewise, “expanding access to clean syringes through an additional annual U.S. investment of $10 million” would result in 195 few HIV infections, “lifetime treatment cost savings of $75.8 million,” and “a return on investment of $7.58 for every $1 spent.” Taxpayers and economists alike might wonder about a windfall like that, but some realities remain clear.

Government spending is not “investment,” even if those in white lab coats say so. Whatever the public health benefits, the junkie “clients” discard the free syringes by the thousands. This poses health and safety risks, but unlike plastic straws, legislators do no seek to criminalize those who hand out the syringes.

Fatal Bureaucratic Indifference


Wednesday February 21st, 2018   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 3:56am PST   •  

After the recent mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, FBI special agent Robert Lasky, head of the bureau’s Miami division, said he “truly regrets” the pain caused by the FBI’s failure to act on a tip about the shooter. The FBI supposedly had no way to trace the tip, then FBI boss Christopher Wray said the message had not been passed on to the Miami field office as official protocol required. This was all couched in passive verbs, and the FBI boss did not name the person who failed to pass on the message, nor did he explain why that person might have failed to do so.

The FBI also had ample warning about Omar Mateen but did nothing. On June 12, 2016, Mateen killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub. Russian intelligence warned the FBI that Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev were dangerous. The FBI failed to follow up and on April 15, 2013, the Tsarnaevs planted bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded at least 264. In 2008 the FBI knew that U.S. Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan had been communicating with terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki about killing Americans. The FBI failed to interview Hasan or even consult his superiors. On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood Texas, Hasan gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers, including private Francheska Velez, 21, who was pregnant, and wounded more than 30 others.

When senator Joseph Lieberman sought to make the Hasan-Awlaki emails public, the FBI blocked their release. During Hasan’s trial, reporters asked Robert Mueller, FBI boss from 2001-2013, if the bureau had dropped the ball by failing to act. Mueller responded that the agents “took appropriate steps,” and expressed no regrets.

Relatives of the Florida victims can be forgiven for thinking that Lasky and Wray’s regrets were more about the publicity of FBI failures than the violent deaths those failures had abetted. The default response of bureaucrats is always to defend the bureau. In the case of the FBI, bureaucratic indifference leads to deadly consequences.

Inside President Trump’s 2019 Budget Proposal


Monday February 19th, 2018   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 8:19pm PST   •  

When President Trump released his budget proposal for the U.S. government’s upcoming 2019 fiscal year last week, my first impression is that it was ugly. Having taken more time to review the proposed spending details included within it, I’d like to up the ante in describing it to “really ugly”.

To see why, here’s a chart that ranks the major changes in the U.S. federal government’s proposed spending from FY 2017 to FY 2019, which reflects the abandonment of the hard won spending constraints that had been imposed to restore some fiscal discipline following the excessive and wasteful spending of President Obama’s early years in office in favor of something that might be described as President Trump’s attempt to re-create the spending heydays of both the New Deal and the Great Society in the 21st century.

Proposed Changes in U.S. Government Spending from FY2017 to FY2019

What makes these spending increases ugly is that President Trump has simply gone along with increasing the spending of the federal government’s New Deal and Great Society spending programs, without any meaningful effort to reform them to either put them onto a sustainable fiscal path or to mitigate against the growing risk of failures associated with these massive mandatory spending programs of bygone eras.

Social Security alone will become the federal government’s first trillion dollar spending program. Meanwhile, the combined spending for Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act will exceed that benchmark, adding another $1.2 trillion to the U.S. taxpayer’s tab.

In terms of discretionary spending, the Defense department will see the biggest boost, with spending rising by nearly $90 billion to over $688 billion. Meanwhile, President Trump’s focus on new infrastructure spending will significantly hike the amount of spending under the “Community and Regional Development” banner, which is set to rise from near $25 billion in 2017 to over $70 billion in 2019.

At the same time, the spending cuts that President Trump has proposed, such as indicated for Education programs, and more precisely, for higher education programs, can be considered to be virtually dead already, where President Trump has effectively retracted the proposed cuts in having signed the Bipartisan Budget Deal.

That latter action means that the annual deficits projected in President Trump’s FY2019 budget proposal will be much larger than advertised.

But what makes President Trump’s budget proposal “really ugly” is what happens to the net interest that the U.S. government must pay on its total public debt outstanding.

A massive increase in spending combined with an economic environment in which interest rates are rising is a recipe for spiking the rate of growth of this component of the U.S. government’s mandatory spending. Even with all the optimistic assumptions of proposed spending cuts actually happening and exceptionally robust GDP growth contained within President Trump’s budget, the amount of interest that the U.S. government will have to pay to its creditors is set to increase by over 38%, or more than $100 billion, over two years from FY 2017 to FY 2019.

In doing so, net interest on the national debt will grow from being the sixth-largest major spending category in the U.S. government’s annual budget in 2017 to being the fifth-largest in 2019 with $363 billion devoted to it, surpassing all of the U.S. government’s welfare programs, such as SNAP, unemployment benefits, housing assistance, etc., which will themselves total nearly $348 billion. Even if everything goes as perfectly as what President Trump has proposed.

“Really ugly” is really the only way to describe it.

Tax System Remains Punitive


Friday February 16th, 2018   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:28am PST   •  

As we noted, the Republicans’ tax bill lowers the corporate rate from 35 to 21 percent and according to the New York Times it will cut taxes for about 75 percent of filers in 2018. That is good news for taxpayers, who would do well to consider realities that have not changed, such as the essentially punitive nature of the system.

The more work a person performs, and the more she achieves, the more she will be taxed for her efforts and success. For the ruling class this is “progressive,” and accurate only in the sense that the rates progress to higher levels. True to form, the new tax system retains, count ‘em, seven tax brackets, so it’s not any kind of a flat tax. Neither was the “flatter” tax Missouri Democrat Richard Gephardt proposed back in the nineties, which featured five brackets with rates from 10 to 36 percent. Gephardt thought a true flat tax, a single rate for all, was unfair.

Ruling-class bagmen assume that any taxpayer’s success has been due to some sort of exploitation or malfeasance, and that government is better equipped to redistribute the proceeds of workers’ labor. Actually, it isn’t, and as this writer has often noted, the government gets workers’ money before they do in the form of withholding. That exploitive practice dates from World War II and was supposed to be temporary. It remains as perhaps the most effective enabler of government greed, and the Republicans’ tax bill did nothing to change it. Neither did it change the rates of taxation in the states.

California governor Jerry Brown once described himself as a “born-again tax cutter.” In the 1992 presidential primary, Brown proposed a flat tax of 13 percent for all Americans. That went nowhere and California now deploys a top marginal income tax rate of 13.3 percent, highest of the 50 states, and a base sales tax rate of 7.5 percent.

The tax system will be “fair” when all Americans pay the same tax rate. When that happens, and when workers are the first to get their own earnings, true tax reform could be at hand.

Trump’s Troubling, Truthful Budget Director


Wednesday February 14th, 2018   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:28am PST   •  

Even though he oversaw the production of President Trump’s ugly first budget proposal, there appears to be quite a lot to like about Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and also the legitimate interim director of the constitutionallyquestionable Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

Specifically, the thing to like most is his truthfulness, which may very well get him in trouble in the swamp that is Washington D.C. There was a fantastic illustration of his character yesterday, when he was testifying about President Trump’s budget proposal on Capitol Hill, as reported by Reuters‘ Katanga Johnson and Susan Cornwell:

The White House budget chief said on Tuesday that, if he were still a member of Congress, he “probably” would vote against a deficit-financed budget plan he and Trump are proposing.

At a U.S. Senate panel hearing where he defended the administration’s new $4.4-trillion, fiscal 2019 spending plan, Mick Mulvaney was asked if he would vote for it, if he were still a lawmaker, which he was before Trump hired him.

“I probably would have found enough shortcomings in this to vote against it,” said Mulvaney, director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in reply to a senator’s question.

The frank admission by Mulvaney, formerly a Republican member of the House of Representatives and noted deficit hawk, underscores not only his new job at OMB, but also a rapid retreat from fiscal conservatism by Republicans since Trump signed a major tax cut bill in December.

Mulvaney’s comments drew rare praise from across the political aisle, as later tweeted by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who had asked the question that prompted his response:

It was nice to hear an honest answer from OMB Dir. Mulvaney in the budget hearing today. I asked if he would vote for President Trump’s budget if he were in Congress, and he said that he wouldn’t. That’s one thing we agree on! –PM

In his comments, Mulvaney went on to recognize that his role as President Trump’s OMB Director requires him to “try and fund the president’s priorities,” which is why the President’s first budget proposal doesn’t look like something that he would have voted for while he served in Congress, but at least we now have confidence that President Trump is hearing solid fiscal advice before he sets his policies. He might choose to disregard the advice he receives, but at least he’s hearing it when it matters.

As for what other troubling truths Mulvaney may have passed on to President Trump before speaking publicly, The Hill‘s Sylvan Lane has an interesting anecdote from last Sunday’s talking head news shows:

White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that rising federal deficits could force interest rates to spike after President Trump signed a bipartisan budget deal with $300 billion in new spending.

Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace that the spending boost could drive up interest rates, but that the economic growth unleashed would eventually pay down the debt.

“If we can keep the economy humming and generate more money for you and me and for everybody else, the government takes in more money, and that’s how we hope to be able to keep the debt under control,” said Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

That might be a big “IF” in the years ahead. It would be a different story if we had a President with a stronger commitment to restraining the growth of the government’s spending, but that’s not the President we have. Nor is it something that we’ve had since the turn of the century.

An Ugly Budget Proposal


Tuesday February 13th, 2018   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:16am PST   •  

President Trump released his first budget proposal yesterday. At first glance, it looks pretty ugly where the concept of fiscal responsibility is concerned.

The following chart shows the amount of the U.S. government’s tax collections and spending that President Trump has proposed for the fiscal years of 2018 through 2023, where we’ve provided historical data going back to 2001, covering the presidential tenures of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, to provide some additional context.

U.S. Government Tax Collections and Spending, 2001 - 2017, with Projections for 2018 - 2023

With federal spending continuing at an unsustainable pace, the U.S. government’s annual budget deficits will grow, even though the government’s tax collections are not projected to fall in any year in President Trump’s first budget proposal.

Assuming the future plays out as he proposes, President Trump’s tenure in office would appear set to add the second-most amount of debt to the nation’s total public debt outstanding of any U.S. President, following only Barack Obama’s dubious achievement.

California Straw Man Runs in the Family


Monday February 12th, 2018   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 11:14am PST   •  

American River Parkway Photo by K. Lloyd Billingsley

California assemblyman Ian Calderon has proposed a bill that would make it illegal for restaurant staff to give customers a plastic straw unless they ask for one. Unrequested straws would draw a fine of $1,000 or even jail time. This measure has led some to wonder about those little plastic umbrellas in drinks, or those who foul the environment by giving patrons too many napkins. If the assemblyman is open to a counterargument he might get on a bike and ride the American River Parkway, which starts in Discovery Park, not far from the capitol.

The parkway hosts a bicycle trail, one of the finest in the country, that runs all the way to Folsom. On any given day riders, runners and walkers can see egrets, herons, otters, deer and countless wild turkeys. Trouble is, the first stretch of the parkway has been occupied by the “indigent community,” whose “campers” generate tons of trash, including plastic materials. This poses environmental and public health problems but with this crowd, an accredited victim group, politicians basically do nothing. (Homeowners and renters might try dumping their trash on public property and see what happens.) Such squalid encampments are fouling the environment statewide but assemblyman Ian Calderon prefers to look the other way and grasp at straws. Who is this guy anyway?

Just so you know, Ian Calderon, 32, is son of former assemblyman and state senator Charles Calderon. Charles Calderon is the brother of former state senator Ron Calderon, sentenced in 2016 to 3 1/2 years in prison in a corruption and bribery scandal. Ian’s father Charles is also brother to former state senator Thomas Calderon, sentenced in 2016 to one year in prison for laundering the bribe money through his firm. Those are tough acts to follow but maybe Ian Calderon is off to a good start with his quest to criminalize waiters for handing out plastic straws.

The End of the Tea Party


Monday February 12th, 2018   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:14am PST   •  

83550088 - The end of the tea party The 20th government shutdown since the passage of the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 started and ended early in the morning of Friday, February 9, 2018, when, following a filibuster publicity stunt in the House of Representatives by minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and a more principled filibuster by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 was passed by both the House and Senate, and signed into law by President Trump.

As with the previous government shutdown just three weeks earlier, hardly any ordinary Americans even noticed that it had happened.

More significantly, though, the new bipartisan budget deal marks what might be considered the official end of the Tea Party, the only real grassroots political movement of the past 20 years, which had come into being in 2009 as a response to the government bailouts, out-of-control spending, and the extremely fast growth of the national debt that characterized the last year of President George W. Bush’s tenure in office and the first two years of President Barack H. Obama’s reign.

Although never a majority in either the Congress or even within the Republican Party, the amateur politicians aligned with the Tea Party movement proved to be influential enough to succeed in getting some degree of control over the U.S. government’s spending and the large deficits that would otherwise have resulted from President Obama’s reckless spending proposals. If not for the Tea Party movement, the U.S. national debt today could very well have been over $3 trillion larger than the $20.5 trillion it was at the time of the 2018 bipartisan budget deal.

The Tea Party’s success peaked with the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which established spending caps that limited the amount of money that the U.S. government would be allowed to spend.

After the passage of the Budget Control Act, however, professional politicians in both parties, whose interests had little in common with the Tea Party movement, found that they could get around the spending limits by joining together to approve new spending deals, which they increasingly did by using government shutdown events to orchestrate the new deals.

By the last two years of the Obama administration, the influence of the Tea Party had diminished to the point where the spending caps were little more than numbers on paper. The election of President Donald J. Trump then cemented the end of the Tea Party’s influence, as he specifically campaigned to expand government spending for defense and infrastructure, and to not allow any cuts in Social Security and Medicare, two of the largest and fastest growing federal government spending programs.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 permanently erases those spending limits, while authorizing far more spending than would ever have been considered while the Tea Party movement held sufficient political influence to stop it. As a result, the U.S. government’s budget deficits for 2018 and 2019 appear set to grow the levels that the Congressional Budget Office had projected for its more realistic alternative fiscal scenario following President Obama’s spending proposals back in 2010.

The difference the Tea Party made was in shrinking the size of U.S. government’s spending and budget deficits far below what they would otherwise have been in the years in between. The U.S. government’s future now is being dictated by a bipartisan group of politicians and a president who doesn’t place much priority in exercising fiscal restraint. Or as public-policy economist Daniel Mitchell has described it, the “new budget deal is a victory for Washington over taxpayers.”

Rocket Tax Reveals California’s Tunnel Vision


Thursday February 8th, 2018   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 1:41pm PST   •  

This week Elon Musk launched his Falcon Heavy skyward, with a Tesla roadster along for the ride.

A power pack of 27 Merlin engines boosted the takeoff with five million pounds of thrust, the most by a conventional rocket since the Saturn V moon mission. As USA Today reported, “within a half-hour of the liftoff, SpaceX cameras showed images of a spacesuit-clad ‘Starman’ in the driver’s seat of Musk’s convertible floating above Earth.”

In all the excitement, reporters overlooked one reality: California is the only state to tax commercial rocket launches, and some observers might find that odd.

In his first go-round as governor, Jerry Brown wanted California to have its own space program, which got him tagged “Governor Moonbeam.” Brown did launch three campaigns to become president of the United States and each time he failed. After the 2016 election of Donald Trump, Brown announced that California might launch its own satellites. That didn’t happen, but the state does slap a tax on commercial rocket launches.

If that bothers the governor, he isn’t talking about it. Brown once proclaimed himself a “born again tax cutter” but now backs the nation’s highest income and sales taxes, and he blasts tax protesters as “freeloaders.”

While entrepreneur Elon Musk looks up, politician Jerry Brown looks down. He wanted to dig two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta, at a cost of $16 billion, but has now downgraded that plan to a single tunnel at a cost of $10.7 billion. He also backs the state’s beleaguered “bullet train,” though costs for the first segment alone just rose to $10.6 billion, with no complaint from the outgoing governor.

Brown wants taxes and spending to soar, not the entrepreneurial spirit. This is a governor, and a state, with its head in the ground.

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