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Sheriffs and police will be highly motivated for arrests when they discover the cause of devastating budget cuts to vital infrastructure, including their own departments (and here), is the crime of major officials lying to hide literal billions and trillions of tax surplus dollars. These slashed budgets have terminated the jobs of friends, made their jobs more dangerous, and reduced their pay.
The crimes are “emperor has no clothes” obvious, and exposed by Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) showing cash and investment funds in the billions and collective trillions while both parties’ “leadership” issue constant official statements that their agencies have no money and no option than austerity for essential public services.
These “leaders” have legal fiduciary responsibility for honest and complete communication regarding that money. The crime is fraud and non-disclosure when taxpayers have the right to be fully informed. This is similar to saying a budget/checking account has insufficient funds and therefore we must fire teachers, increase classroom sizes, and eliminate school programs while the cash and investment/savings account has 35 times the claimed shortfall.
Hiding the information in typical 300-page documents while publicly claiming there are no options than austerity is criminal fraud.
Here are three examples of CAFR data from public documents:
- The state of California has $600 billion in cash and investments. This makes Governor Brown’s statements (and this 2-minute filmed statement) that the state must massively cut programs because of a $16 billion budget account shortfall a criminal lie. Indeed, the state’s investment fund grew by $67 billion last year alone. Californians have options the governor has legal responsibility to communicate in good faith honesty, and to submit data for public and independent consideration.
- The even-more astounding amount is $8 trillion in surplus taxes from sampled data of California’s various ~14,000 government entities’ CAFRs.
- When I looked through the CAFR for Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles, I quickly found $88 billion in just their investment accounts.
Officials never mention these cash and investment accounts that are taxpayers’ surpluses. When pressed, they resort to three known lies to deflect questioning:
- The funds are “designated” and can’t be used. This is a lie because the legislators also have the authority to “undesignate,” and responsibility to honestly communicate to the taxpayers the status of their investment and cash accounts.
- The funds are needed to pay for retirement benefits. This is a lie because $600 billion is not “needed” to pay an account that in a healthy economy has current member contributions roughly equal to retirement payouts (assuming Californians would want their tax money involved). It is a lie because responsible leadership would announce the $600 billion and $8 trillion, then honestly submit the data to independent analyses and public consideration (these would confirm the “emperor has no clothes” obvious that $600 billion as an “overtax” is tragic-comic looting that tremendously harms taxpayers).
- The funds are needed for “rainy days.” This is a lie because a state-owned bank could provide at-cost credit for budget shortfalls. Indeed, a state-owned bank providing public credit rather than private for-profit credit could have 2% mortgages that would cover all of California’s tax revenue. The only state with a state-owned bank is North Dakata; also the only state with continuing and increasing budget surpluses.
Here’s another massive crime: Clint Richardson documents on page 107 of California’s CAFR that the $6 billion annual interest cost and $164 billion in state debt are also cover-ups when contrasted with taxpayers’ investments. A sharp irony is that many of California’s “investments” are in other government debt securities. This means a net loss to taxpayers as one group pays another interest minus the cost of creating and managing the debt.
How big are these crimes?
If the $600 billion were returned to California’s 12 million households, each would receive $50,000. Or, if you prefer the money returned per average household income of $50,000, each household could receive a proportional amount (if your household earns $150,000/year, you would receive $150,000).
If the $8 trillion were returned, then each California household has been overtaxed by a present-day value of over half a million dollars ($500,000). And if we take our example of $150,000/year income, well, you’ll be happy to understand you’re owed a credit of ~$1.5 million ($1,5000,000). Of course, these colossal investments should be considered by multiple and independent cost-benefit analyses to discover our options; we can’t simply all cash them in.
Californians do not know about this data revealed in the CAFR. If they did, would they choose the state’s management of austerity while losing money in debt, and Wall Street’s scraps from corporate dividends? Or would they demand to know their other options and criminal prosecution of those who overtaxed them by trillions without telling them?
I’m in process of communicating with my local law enforcement to file a criminal complaint against appropriate parties. I’ll write to inform you of all official responses.
I invite you to contact law enforcement with criminal complaints of officials overtaxing by billions and trillions, and then never reminding us of our money while damning our communities to austerity.