Explaining Southern California's economy

Eurozone Crisis: How do you solve a problem like Germany?

Merkozy-Getty

Eric Feferberger/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) give a press conference after a working lunch at the Elysee palace on December 05, 2011 in Paris. France and Germany want summits of leaders of eurozone states to be held 'every month, as long as the crisis lasts,' Sarkozy said.

UPDATE: Well, that was brief! Reuters is reporting that S&P is back in sovereign-credit-downgrade mode. The agency has threatened to pull an America on the six eurozone countries currently in possession of an AAA rating — including France and Germany. We'll see how long this rally holds.

The latest surge in hope the Europe will be able to manage its debt crisis has caused the markets to rally over the past few trading sessions. However, the latest kinda sorta deal also reveals the schizophrenic situation that Germany keeps backing itself into. 

On the one hand, Germany doesn't want to throw its weight behind a plan to make the eurozone work more like the U.S., where the Federal Reserve can function as the (nearly) undisputed central authority on matters monetary. On the other hand, Germany wants to call the shots of fiscal issues, compelling everyone else to act more like...Germany! 

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California budget: If you think this year looks bad, just wait until 2012

California Governor Jerry Brown Unveils State Pension Reform Program

Max Whittaker/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown announces his public employee pension reform plan October 27, 2011 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California. Gov. Brown proposed 12 major reforms for state and local pension systems that he claims would end abuses and reduce taypayer costs by billions of dollars.

It's unclear what sort of unicorns-and-moneybags fairyland that officials in California were living in when they projected a $500-billion surplus in the 2011-12 budget. Against 12-percent unemployment and exposure to the housing crisis that ranks right alongside Nevada and Florida, any surplus at all was political and economic wishful thinking. So now come the trigger cuts — $2 billion of 'em.

Education will bear the brunt of this, if lawmakers can't figure out how to dodge the cuts. Not that education hasn't already been pummeled: according to Education Week, K-12 statewide has endured $18 billion is cuts over the past five years. The University of California and Cal State systems will also take it on the chin. Education Week says that some districts are in better shape than others, based on budget planning. But there are some time bombs out there, such as San Diego Unified.

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The Future of Wealth in LA: How LA stacks up

The above chart is from the a new report, "The Future of Philanthropy in L.A.: A Wealth of Opportunity," which I blogged about yesterday. The red line is LA County's projected transfer of wealth from 2010-2060, plotted against other counties (and cities, such as Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Brooklyn). The growth rate is anticipated to be 8.7 percent yearly. That's a pretty torrid rate and, as you can see, will enable LA to outpace other major metro areas by a wide margin.

Growth always sounds great, but it can create challenges. For example, when countries grow too fast, they can have problems with inflation: too much money becomes available too fast to buy too few goods or services. Governments can get headaches trying to manage this.

In terms of the looming transfer or wealth in the LA region, the challenge is for non-profit organizations to get ready for it to happen. If your philanthropic metabolism is based on the present levels of wealth transfer, it's going to need to evolve to deal with wealth transfers that will be, as the report points out, 1,303 percent higher than Philadelphia, at an extreme.

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GOP's Frank Luntz: The first rule of capitalism is you do not talk about capitalism

Check this out: the Occupy movement is changing the way that GOP strategists are telling people to talk about the protest phenomenon. Or more accurately, not talk about it.

At Yahoo, Chris Moody captures a series of talking/not-talking points dispensed by Frank Luntz at a Republican governors' gathering in Florida. Here are my two favorites (there are 10 total, plus a bonus, which agues that "bonuses" shouldn't be called that):

1. Don't say 'capitalism.'

"I'm trying to get that word removed and we're replacing it with either 'economic freedom' or 'free market,' " Luntz said. "The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we're seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we've got a problem."

[...]

8. Out: 'Entrepreneur.' In: 'Job creator.'

Use the phrases "small business owners" and "job creators" instead of "entrepreneurs" and "innovators."

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November Jobs Report: Not as bad as the California weather

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Unemployed father of two, Michael Lopez waits for work outside a temporary labor office in the Southern Californian town of El Centro, a town of 50,000 people where 30.4 percent of the work-age population are without employment, on October 28, 2010.

As many of you know, our California weather took a zany and destructive turn on Wednesday, with 60-80 mph Santa Ana winds whipping down from the desert and decimating the urban treescape of places like Pasadena. It was the worst wind anyone had seen in years. 

The BLS jobs report, on the other hand, didn't look too terrible for November. The country added 120,000 jobs last month, which was a lot lower than than the 206,000 the ADP report predicted earlier this week. But still, better than the revised October number of 100,000 (up from 80,000). 

The unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, a surprising downward trend (subject to revision, of course) that could bode well for something like a 7-percent unemployment next November. In other words, good news for President Obama's re-election chances, even though the White House isn't predicting 6-percent unemployment rate until 2017.

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