Let The Legislature Sink

Apologies to those readers not from California; this article centers on that state. You may find it interesting nonetheless however, since many states face similar issues right now.

We have two weeks until the special election in California that will decide whether to prop up our wonderful legislature and highly efficient Sate government, and looking at my ballot, I decided that I have to put in a few cents worth of advice.

First off; our “non partisan” office that does the summaries of the propositions seems to think that being “non partisan” means finding the middle road in the California Legislature as far as the measure is concerned, and including one pro and con. I much prefer the CRS, or Congressional Research Service on Capitol Hill, which includes people who actually do research, and which usually includes hard facts and figures into their summaries rather than parsing the speeches of the lawmakers to find a “middle ground”. Perhaps Washington is so old fashioned compared to Sacramento that they still think that some form of objective reality is still discoverable. What a thought!

As for the propositions; 1A is extraordinary. Here we have a naked call for $16 billion dollars in tax increases during the worst recession California has had since the 1970s. This is supposed to be better than a simple tax increase because Governor schwarzenegger has included a gigantic piggy-bank called a “rainy day fund” where the thrifty lawmakers will squirrel away the reapings from our taxes and sales of goods and services, and keep them safe for a future budget shortfall.

This is a legislature that cannot bring itself to cut spending while the state bleeds people into the Midwest through crushing taxes and small business regulations. We have suffered probably worse than any other state due to suddenly falling home prices and while every family in California has to downsize, our government actually increases their spending. These guys have raided funds set up for the retirement of state workers in order to get special projects done, and never once voted to cut any program, and we are supposed to trust them with a big, massive, multi-billion dollar piggy bank? How stupid do they think we are?

Even worse is this idea that it is somehow virtuous for the government to rip out of the productive sector of the economy billions of dollars and then just sit on it while we are in a recession. First of all, if you are a Keynsian (which I am not) you must admit that the idea of the government borrowing in order to stimulate an economy during a recession is exactly the opposite idea. If you are not a Keynsian, you must know that taking dollars out of circulation in the private sector just shrinks the over all size of the economy. Ronald Reagan once said that there is no virtue in a government running a surplus; this just means that they took more of everybody’s paycheck than they really need in order to provide critical services. That is not thrift, because it is not done by a productive business, but by a gigantic leech on productive businesses that, by it’s weight, slows down an already stressed economy.

There is only one responsible solution to running a government during a recession. Schwarzenegger needs to go visit Governor Jindal and ask him about the billions of dollars in services that Louisiana is now cutting because of the recession. You have to cut some of the extravagant programs that have sunk this government if you are going to get through a downturn.

Prop 1B is no better; this is simply a political tool. One faction in Sacramento finally made some minor cuts to some programs, so the protectors of this sacred cow put in a measure to put back any money cut out of the budget. They think that if they label it “education” it will automatically pass, but I would suggest any would be voter to research how much money will go toward “administrative costs” and unions, and how much will actually trickle down to students and classrooms.

1C is just a borrowing measure. As if we can borrow our way out of the yawning chasm of debt that has swallowed our state government. They are effectively mortgaging the California state lottery; using promises of future revenue to get even more money from lenders. If you would run up your credit cards to pay off your home mortgage, then go ahead and vote for this. Seriously; the state legislators remind me of crack addicts when it comes to borrowing. I think they need an intervention. Just as a final note; it doesnt make a lot of sense to go for 1A in order to reduce our borrowing, but go for 1C which increases it. Strangely, the same people are pushing for both.

1D is another sacred cow prop. Refer to my arguments against 1B. In this case, we are talking about “children’s services” -another area where we will fork over infinite dollars just so long as you put a picture of a cute kid on the cover of some government pamphlet to tug our heart strings. Remember that the spending they are trying to bring back with these measures to make up for cuts only brings back spending that did not exist at all in these programs eight years ago. So if you remember all those starved, protruding belly, fly-ridden children with rags wrapped around their feet instead of shoes wandering the streets of California’s cities eight years ago then by all means go ahead…

We then have a third sacred cow that must not be defunded no matter what; mental health services. I repeat; if you remember all those poor mental health patients screaming while writhing on straw covered stone flags, shackled to the walls of California’s health care centers… …yeah, I thought so.

Lastly, a totally aesthetic, less than skin deep measure to not give elected officials a pay increase during deficit years. I am not even going to bother. Any way you vote on this doesnt matter as much as whether you turn on or off your porch light to save a few watts of electricity. Do you know how much money elected officials represent as a proportion of the state budget? It is minuscule. It’s like those movie clips they showed when the first Apollo astronauts were returning to Earth, showing that hitting the atmosphere right was like hitting the thin side of a piece of paper with a bullet. I honestly think we should just pay lawmakers the equivalent of what they would get in the private sector. What would a guy on the board of a corporation the size of California’s government get as a salary anyway? Then there would be a lot less worrying about the impact of “money on politics” wouldn’t there? Know how much their paychecks would represent compared to the entire budget then? Well, remember those old movies about Apollo astronauts…?

So there it is. Democrats refuse to cut any spending in the worst recession this state has had since the 1970s. They now complain that Republicans, who want to cut government services rather than take more money out of a dwindling money supply during a recessionary phase, are irresponsible because they are against “balancing the budget”. I do love irony, but I think that this goes over the line to open hypocrisy.

Let me just say this; the state cannot borrow without mortgaging our lottery because California bonds have been at junk bond status for months. We are in this predicament because the legislature refuses to cut any of the tremendously bloated government programs even while people leave the Golden State to look for work. If you increase taxes during a recession, you pull money out of the economy rather than put it in, which has to worry even Keynsian Democrats -assuming they actually care about economic recovery at all, which I am beginning to doubt. Schwarzenegger has proven himself to be a complete “girly man” by proving unable to make any hard decisions with the state bureaucracies he himself governs. Now they want the people of California to get them out of this mess by approving a lot of new borrowing and a lot of new taxes, when that is exactly what got us here to begin with!

To quote the oddly successful anti-drug program instigated by First Lady Nancy Reagan; “Just say no!”


~ by Jubal Biggs on May 8, 2009.

One Response to “Let The Legislature Sink”

  1. I like that… just say no! I’ll go to the polling booth and just check the “no to all” box. :o)

    There’s way too much goverment in our lives now, we don’t need more.

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