Explaining Southern California's economy

Boomer Bubble: How Baby Boomers plan to spend all their money now and wreck the stock market for decades

Ah, Baby Boomers… soon they'll begin retiring in force, straining Medicare and Social Security. And according to recent reports and studies, they'll also be spending every dime they've socked away, forgetting about leaving an inheritance to their children and…dooming the stock market to pitiful returns for years to come as they withdraw their gains. Talk about the Big Chill!

The LA Times checked in on Boomer plans to enjoy their golden years — and enjoy them to the max:

Upending the conventional notion of parents carefully tending their financial estates to be passed down at the reading of their wills, many baby boomers say they instead plan to spend the money on themselves while they're alive....In a survey of millionaire boomers by investment firm U.S. Trust, only 49% said it was important to leave money to their children when they die. The low rate was a big surprise for a company that for decades has advised wealthy people how to leave money to their heirs...."We were like 'wow,'" said Keith Banks, U.S. Trust president.


Vacation now! LA Times employees lose control of their time off

As LA Observed reported last week, Los Angeles Times employees are getting a sort of nasty double-whammy, when it comes to vacation time. According to the LAT memo that Kevin Roderick published

As of October 2, 2011, we will put into action a temporary freeze of vacation accrual and mandate the use of vacation days. Given that many of you have more than two weeks of vacation already accrued and the holiday months are traditionally a season when time off is scheduled, our hope is that this will be manageable and not create undue difficulty. 

Just what you want to see in your email in-box on the Friday before Labor Day weekend! This move is happening in the wake of the LAT's owner, Tribune, asking its bankruptcy court judge to authorize between $16.4 million and $42.5 million in — and unfortunately there's no other word for them — performance bonuses for company management. 


Reportings: Obamanomics in Cali; Carlyle and Calpers; AEG is cocky and carbon neutral

California has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Yet when polled by USC Dornsfire/Los Angeles Times, 49 percent of voters said that cutting government spending is the path to prosperity. "Stimulus is almost a four-letter word here." (LAT)


Major private-equity player the Carlyle Group wants to go public. Competitor Blackstone has a market cap of $13.4 billion. Carlyle wants to be in that league. And the "giant California pension fund Calpers has owned at least a 5.5 percent stake in the firm for several years." Cash-out time? (DealBook)


Environmental backlash to AEG's fast-track, allegedly carbon-neutral NFL stadium legislation. "Well, what would you expect to happen when a bunch of cocky bizjocks from L.A. insist on a bill that would exempt them from many of the legal hurdles that everyone else must go through - including developers looking to build stadiums in other parts of the state?" (Lacter/LA Observed)


Can we afford the jobs that Amazon wants to bring to California?

Gov. Jerry Brown isn't sure. This is from the L.A. Times' Money & Company blog:

Brown on Thursday did not dismiss the Amazon bid out of hand. But, he stressed that he's mostly concerned about losing an estimated $300 million in badly needed state revenues that his budget expected to get once Amazon complies with a new law that took effect on July 1.

"I'm concerned about anything that would reduce revenues going forward because we're in a very uncertain economy," the governor said after attending an awards ceremony for correctional officers in Sacramento. "We need more revenues unless we're going to keep curbing schools, courts, corrections."

Amazon, so far, has refused to collect the tax on purchases made by California customers. Instead, it's contributed more than $5 million to a referendum campaign to repeal the new sales tax collection law.


Freelance Nation: Differing views on the 'gig' economy

Whenever times get tough, you often hear about how laid-off workers took advantage of their involuntary freedom to get entrepreneurial and start businesses. You also hear about folks who lost their jobs but found themselves. The SoCal economy is struggling with joblessness that's much higher than the national rate — 12.4 percent in L.A. County versus 9.1 in the U.S. — so you might expect the entrepreneur story to be running hot here.

But you have to be careful about these things. There are definitely arguments on both sides. At the Atlantic, Sara Horowitz is kicking off a series on the freelance surge and how it could transform work. She's not holding back:

Jobs no longer provide the protections and security that workers used to expect. The basics ­ such as health insurance, protection from unpaid wages, a retirement plan, and unemployment insurance ­ are out of reach for one-third of working Americans. Independent workers are forced to seek them elsewhere, and if they can't find or afford them, then they go without. Our current support system is based on a traditional employment model, where one worker must be tethered to one employer to receive those benefits. Given that fewer and fewer of us are working this way, it's time to build a new support system that allows for the flexible and mobile way that people are working.