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Economist Kelly Cunningham of the National University System Institute for Policy Research sees San Diego County growing only 1.5% this year, adjusted for inflation, versus 1.6% for California and 2% for the nation. He assumes Congress will come to some resolutions without huge spending cuts, "but it is difficult to foresee a scenario where defense spending overall is not reduced in upcoming years," he says. This will dent San Diego. The local defense economy will tread water at best this year, he says. The natural increase in population (births minus deaths) will decline 1.7%, although international migration will rise 5%. People and businesses will continue to leave San Diego and the state as a result of high taxes, regulations, high real estate prices, costly electricity, union power and high labor costs. Inflation will rise 2.4% as food and energy prices go up.

The county will add 21,000 jobs, up from a gain of 18,000 last year, as the unemployment rate drops moderately. But Cunningham points out that between 2007 and 2010, San Diego lost 103,300 jobs, and since then, has only gained 51,000 back. Inflation-adjusted taxable sales will inch up 1.1%. Taxable sales have rebounded since the 2008-2009 lows, but "annual sales nevertheless are lower when adjusted for inflation than recorded every year since 1999." One in seven business outlets closed during the Great Recession, and then bounced back, but the number of business outlets is still 8% lower than it was in 2006.

Home prices appear to have bottomed last year, but further gains will likely be mixed because of the weak economy and foreclosures working their way through the system. Residential construction should rise 13%, but this was way down in the recession.

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Anon92107 Jan. 18, 2013 @ 6:46 a.m.

Don, the most important fact to realize is that our military servicemen/women are the finest citizens that America has, especially because they risk their lives to protect America and the world from tyranny, terrorism and dictatorship.

But I also remember that General of the Army/President Eisenhower cut back on the military and even warned us about the military-industrial complex one more time in his 1961 Farewell Address. We have paid a high price for the marginalization of Ike's grave warnings, especially when the Bush administration sent our military into Iraq without proper training, leadership, equipment and justification for going there in the first place.

The military deserves the very best we can give them, and we must never allow to be misused again.


Don Bauder Jan. 18, 2013 @ 7:31 a.m.

Anon: Yes, the military deserves the best we can give them. In particular, returning injured veterans must be cared for -- often, for life. We have fallen down on that job. However, in the current budget squeeze, the one area that can be slashed is military spending. We are overcommitted around the globe. We can save hundreds of billions through military cutbacks. This will hurt San Diego, but it's necessary. Best, Don Bauder


Anon92107 Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:23 p.m.

It's great to read that Wal-Mart is doing the right thing by committing to hiring 100,000 war veterans, this is an example that all other American corporations must implement immediately because we owe everything to veterans for risking their lives to protect America .

Capitalists keep saying this is the greatest economic system in history so it is way past due time they proved it again by returning America to prosperity in 2013 instead of continuing to spend billions buying and controlling politicians and judges to make only themselves richer at the expense of the American way of life and economy.

Wal-Mart can set another important example by returning to its founder's "Made In America" motto that Sam Walton built his corporation with instead of indenturing their employees and exporting manufacturing to Asia that his destructively greedy descendants have been outrageously enriching themselves with using their new motto of "Selling Out America."


Visduh Jan. 18, 2013 @ 4:18 p.m.

Let's see if Wally's World walks the talk. This all could be some sort of tokenism.


Don Bauder Jan. 18, 2013 @ 4:41 p.m.

Visduh: That's what I fear -- that this is a PR stunt to keep people's eyes off Wal-Mart transgressions such as paying employees a pittance, selling products produced abroad by slave labor, driving home-grown merchants out of towns, etc. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 18, 2013 @ 4:38 p.m.

Anon: If Wal-Mart will actually follow-through with its plan to hire American vets, it will be positive. However, Wal-Mart made this commitment because it is under the public relations gun on so many other issues: possible bribes in Mexico, mistreatment of underpaid employees, being China's outlet in the U.S., etc. Best, Don Bauder


Ponzi Jan. 19, 2013 @ 9:30 p.m.

I hope they enjoy making minimum wage with no benefits.

This video is clearly what they will experience:


Visduh Jan. 18, 2013 @ 4:26 p.m.

It needs to be noted that Cunningham is quoted as saying that people and businesses will continue to leave due to high taxes and regulation, in addition to other factors. Prop. 30 is doing nothing to keep people here, and many who can leave will do just that. (I'm not one of those who is threatening do to that, but I know some who are, and they are serious. And they are people who pay taxes now.) When the taxpayers bail out, that leaves those who remain to finance the bloated state government, meaning another round of taxes, and so it goes.


Don Bauder Jan. 18, 2013 @ 4:43 p.m.

Visduh: People do vote with their feet. California has been losing people for several years now. Best, Don Bauder


Fred Williams Jan. 20, 2013 @ 12:04 a.m.

I was one of the fortunate ones, working in software in San Diego.

But like so many of my colleagues, I got tired of the "sunshine tax", and even more importantly, like most of my colleagues, I actually appreciate culture, music, society, art and challenging intellectual conversations. These are all in short supply in San Diego.

Living and working in central europe nowadays, I have more interesting experiences in a week that I would get in a year in San Diego. With the exception of Balboa Park, there's not much in the way of cultural institutions in San Diego that interest me and my friends...and Irwin Jacobs, the guy who used goverment funded research to start his company, and now abuses H1B visas to impoverish his workers, is doing his best to destroy the park.

Nope. I don't think I'll ever want to work in San Diego again...though I do come back from time to time to work on political campaigns (though mostly I advise them online nowadays).


Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2013 @ 7:25 p.m.

Fred: San Diego Opera is one of the nation's 10 top opera companies. The Globe is respected nationally. The symphony is good. The chamber music is excellent. Yes, there are some holes, but the art scene is still good, in my opinion. Best, Don Bauder


Burwell Jan. 18, 2013 @ 9:11 p.m.

Veterans are considered disadvantaged for purposes of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit that retailers use to wipe out their federal taxes. If Walmart hires a veteran who has been unemployed six months or more, the company is entitled to a $5,600 tax credit. Do the math. Walmart is hiring veterans for tax bennies. Walmart creates economic conditions that prevent veterans from obtaining good paying jobs, and then receives a $560 million tax credit from the government for providing veterans with minimum wage jobs with no health insurance. You can't make this stuff up.


SurfPuppy619 Jan. 18, 2013 @ 10:15 p.m.

Are you serious B??? That is the bottom of the barrel............

In the 1960's General Motors was the largest employer in America, factory jobs that paid more than cop and FF jobs. Today Walmart is the largest employer in America and like B said, low wages and minimal benefits. Oh, and they have a RULE against giving employees overtime. I found that out the hard way last year when the automotive department could not finish my tires and I told them too bad you have to work some OT today-and they said Walmart does NOT ALLOW any overtime.


Visduh Jan. 19, 2013 @ 10:17 a.m.

I've run into some really absurd conclusions that people have about overtime. A blanket prohibition against keeping an employee on the clock for an extra quarter hour is just stupid. Around three decades ago I was in a management position at an employer that I will not name, and one of the first-line supervisors came to me with terrible worry on his face. Seems there was a job to do that was estimated to take about twelve hours. The "overtime" to get that far was authorized. (You know, of course, that meant eight hours at straight time and four hours at time-and-one-half.) Well, seems that they ran over the twelve hour limit by a quarter or half hour. He was having a fit because that meant double-time. To cut to the chase, he thought that when they went past twelve hours it subjected the WHOLE twelve-plus hours to being paid at the double rate. (It also meant he figured that working beyond eight hours meant time-and-a-half for the entire shift, which wasn't the case.) Blanket prohibitions against a few minutes of overtime end up costing more, not less, if it means more staff has to be hired or if customer goodwill suffers. As to whether you heard the straight skinny or not, we can't be sure. That prohibition could have come from the manager of that store, or a district manager. It may not be a corporate-wide thing at all. (But in some ways, I would not be surprised if it were.)


Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2013 @ 11:15 a.m.

Visduh: Your story epitomizes the mentality of many retail chains, and many businesses of all kinds. No wonder the failure rate is as high as it is. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2013 @ 11:12 a.m.

SurfPup: There are many stories like that of Wal-Mart's treatment of employees. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2013 @ 11:11 a.m.

Burwell: Leave it to you to figure this out. It never occurred to me. Congratulations. Best, Don Bauder


Burwell Jan. 19, 2013 @ 11:29 a.m.

Congress keeps the Work Opportunity Work Credit (WOTC) on a short leash and renews the WOTC for only a year or two at a time. The WOTC expired on 1/1/2013. Corporations that hire large numbers of unskilled workers are seized with a terrible panic when the WOTC expires and lobbyists immediately descend upon Congress with loads of campaign cash. After the campaign coffers are filled with corporate money, Congress deigns to extend the WOTC for another year or two. I think veterans would be a lot better off if Walmart paid the $560 million in taxes and Congress put the money in the VA's budget.



Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2013 @ 9:30 p.m.

Burwell: Good points. If anybody has clout in Congress, it is Wal-Mart. And you are right: if the money went into the tax kitty and out to veterans, they would be better off. Best, Don Bauder


Ponzi Jan. 19, 2013 @ 9:44 p.m.

It's been a while, but I worked as a consultant for John Walton when he owned and ran Corsair Marine in Chula Vista. He was a down to earth guy. Just liked flying planes and racing boats. He lived in National City. He'd come to the office driiving an older model Ford Bronco, dressed in jeans. Walmart is much different now than in 1993, but I can't forget how John was so down to earth. It wasn't the Waltons that got greedy, it was the executives that ran with the ball. John died years ago in a plane accident. Doing what he loved, flying planes. I am a cynical person, but I see things differently through my experiences. The founders and innovators create great things and then the MBA's and Wall Street monsters come along and....


Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2013 @ 7:28 p.m.

Ponzi: I don't know if John Walton was ever active in Wal-Mart. He did live humbly for someone with all that money. Best, Don Bauder


Fred Williams Jan. 20, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.

Ponzi, you are so right.

"The founders and innovators create great things and then the MBA's and Wall Street monsters come along and...."

I work with the creative engineers who made our modern world work, and they are almost universally filled with utter contempt for the frat boy MBAs who backslap their way into the executive suites and destroy what we have made.

I've seen it so many times, I could write a manual on all the steps involved in the process.


Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2013 @ 7:31 p.m.

Fred: I have interviewed, written about, and exposed many crooks and crackpots with Harvard MBAs. Best, Don Bauder


Twister Jan. 20, 2013 @ 10:33 p.m.

Y'all have been validating what I've said for years in terms of The Big Picture: The Golden Goose is the consumer. That's why Henry Ford gave his employees a raise to 5 bucks a day. So they could afford his cars.

We are very close to the precipice. The concentration of power and money saps the vigor from any economy, and many of us will come to envy the skills of so-called "primitives" as the slope gets slipperier.


Don Bauder Jan. 21, 2013 @ 7:44 a.m.

Twister: The Sunday New York Times had an excellent piece by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on how income inequality can wallop this economy -- and is already doing so. More than 70% of the economy is consumption; with almost all the income gains of the last many years going to the richest Americans, while middle class incomes have remained flat or declined, the economy is on dangerous ground. Best, Don Bauder


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