Free Markets, Free People

An Open Letter to California

We have a special election here in California on Tuesday the 19th.  We all have to go to our polling places, and decide whether Propositions 1A-1F–which were put on the ballot by the legislature–will be accepted.  Of those propositions, 1F, which denies pay increases for elected officials if the state’s budget is all higgeldy-piggeldy–is the only one worth passing.

The rest of them amount to nothing more than allowing the legislature to loot the revenues from things like the lottery or child health programs, that the current law prevents them from touching.  But the legislature wants to loot those programs, so that it can use the money in the general fund, instead.  And, the general fund certainly needs something.  At this rate, there is an excellent chance that California will be out of money by July.   That means no money for teachers.  No money for the DMV.  Or the CHP, or CDF.  The state will be, well, broke.

So, who do we blame for this, California?

Some people, Like Tom McClintock, the former Republican state senator and now Congressman, blame Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Indeed, McClintock says that Schwarzenegger lied to the people of California when he ran against Gray Davis in the now-famous recall election.  “He promised to stop the crazy deficit spending, cut up the credit cards, live within our means. And he did exactly the opposite. Schwarzenegger increased spending faster than we saw under Gray Davis.”  McClintock, of course, was one of the people who ran against Schwarzenegger during that election.

(By the way, a side note to Rep. McClintock:  Barring an act of divine providence, the sun will set in a blazing red sky to the east of Casablanca before you ever become governor.  You may be a great guy, for all I know, and truly committed to reducing the size and scope of government.  You may be popular in little the red-state enclave that makes up your Congressional district.  But the electorate at large is not going to send someone with your crazy, helter-skelter eyes to the governor’s mansion.)

But should we blame Arnold for this mess?  After all, he promised to reform the budget process, and ensure that California would never, ever be in the position that Gray Davis left us in, with a massive budget shortfall.  And yet, he did.  In fact, the animating issue of that recall election was Davis’ proposed increase to the car registration fee, which would  make the annual regiatration fee average something like $600.  Now, Schwarzenegger is supporting pretty much the same thing.  So, it’s certain that the Governator has been a failure.

But, you know what?  I don’t blame him, California.  I blame you.  Not every individual one of you, of course.  By “you”, I mean the electorate as a whole.  We aren’t in this position because Arnold changed his mind about reforming the budget process.  He did, in fact, put sweeping changes to the process before you for approval  in a series of ballot propositions in a special election.

And you told him to go f*ck himself.

Not only did you kill his reform plans by sizeable majorities, you then proceed to approve nearly every state bond issue that reared its ugly head.  More money for schools?  No problem.  More money for the CDF? Let’s borrow it. More money for a shelter for developmentally challenged kittens?  Might as well slap that on the card, too.

You listened when the Service Employees Union, the California Teachers Association, and the AFSCME union for government workers told you that if we attempted to reform the budget, disaster would ensue.  We’d have to slash thousands of jobs for teachers, firemen and cops.  Those of us who weren’t lucky enough to be murdered in our beds or die shrieking in horrific pain as our bodies were engulfed by flame would be able to look forward only to a life shameful unemployment due to our abject ignorance, cowering under the heel of our new Chinese overlords. You believed them they told you, “education spending  is being cut, and our children are suffering,” despite the fact that, while the school age population has been declining, education spending since 2003 has risen from $45 billion to $54 billion.   That’s a 20% increase, at a time when school enrollment was falling.

So, when the special interests or politicians asked to spend or borrow more money via ballot propositions, you told them to go right ahead.  “Spend away, Sunshine!  Let the good times roll!” And that’s exactly what we did.  It seems never to have occured to you that the only way the government can spend money is to take it from the economy–that is to say, you.

So, now, the state’s got nothing left to spend.  But, by your votes to increase spending, and to reject any reform of the budget process, that’s apparently what you wanted to happen.And since the state has no other way to get money, Sacramento is reaching onto your pocket yet again. So, when you get that $600 bill for vehicle registration renewal, see the prices of goods get higher as the sales tax goes up, and watch your state income tax bill rise, you need to just smile, suck it up, and be a man.  After all, that’s exactly what you asked for.

Now you’re getting it.

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19 Responses to An Open Letter to California

  • F**king BRAVO sir.

    Same principle when the people whine and wail about how bad congress and our political class in general is. We keep re-electing them! Or standing by for it when Senators basically leave their seats to family members like some inherited aristocracy title.

    We get what we asked for.

  • You may be popular in little the red-state enclave that makes up your Congressional district.

    It’s only small in regard to its relative population density. In terms of geography, it covers quite a big area.

  • … and Tom only lost the Lt. Gov. race 49%-45%, after running neck-and-neck up to election day and facing an avalanche of union money, and getting no support whatsoever from Schwarzenegger.

  • It’s almost enough to make one lose faith in democracy.  What’s even more disgusting is that the rest of the country is running hell-bent for election down the same path as that taken by CA.

  • I’ve seen it written time after time, the people get the government they deserve.  So true.

  • Begs the question, should people have to reach certain standards to be eligible to vote?  

  • The sad thing is that after all you described, it is republicans and conservatism that will be blamed.  All because their liberal governor has an R by his name.  Just watch.

    That is why I hate liberal republicans with a white hot heat.  Far more than I could ever despise even the worse democrat.

  • Look i agree with you about arnold vs the special interests. But i blame him alot for it, just as i blame Bush for alot of the anti republican issues during his terms. If they want, they can get on TV and take these people to task. Tell them what is happening, tell people how they are being controld by voting blocks of special interests, in Bush’s case, call out congress, tell your side of the story for pete’s sake! Stand up for what youbelieve in and tell the people how the lberals/special interests are spiraling them into oblivion! If you don;t explain yourself, i have no sympathy if you get blamed. So many people in this country believe the president makes laws and runs things. The congress in hidden behind a curtain of obfusciation to what they do. They push the pres out every chance they get so he is given the spotlight, when he has very little actual powers. That is why these dopes keep getting reelected, people only care about the president.

  • Dale, do you think it’s going to all stay in California so they will learn, or are the rest of us going to bail out California and shield it from its lesson? Is there a containment strategy that states with non-communist tendencies can use?

    • Barack Obama is the President.  What do you think?

    • California is too big to fail!  Bailout! Bailout!

      New York took the Big Apple  to heart as their symbol during their first pass on near bankruptcy.

      – nominations are open for which fruit California will use.

  • Well said, Dale.  I was pulling for McClintock (or Mary Carey) for governor back in the day, the former because he’d have made a decent one or the latter ‘cuz it’d be funny as hell…

    But I think you did well to highlight the ballot measures that Arnold tried to get passed which were voted down by the populace, turning him essentially into a lame duck ever since.  It’s not that he’s just changed his tune, he tried to reform and was shot down.

    I think the real nature of this state showed last November.  A state that was already seeing tax revenues decline, was already in disarray in the housing market, and with little sign of improvement on the horizon.  So what do they do?  Vote for a $9B down payment on what is expected to be at least $40-50B (gov’t numbers) or $100B (real estimate) for high-speed rail between LA and SF. 

    This is why democracy doesn’t work.

    • Arnold attempted reform, was shot down, and essentially converted to the Democratic Party in all but name. I guess being governor is more important than free market principles.

  • I voted for Arnold during the recall, although I preferred Tom.

    I pretty much agree with Dale’s open letter. Arnold started out decently enough. Then he got his a** kicked with the referendoms, then he became the Democrats b*tch.

    Arnold failed at integrity and backbone, but he really just went the way CA voters wanted.

  • On;y taxpayers should be allowed to vote. And the more taxes you pay, the more votes you can cast.

  • >>But the electorate at large is not going to send someone with your crazy, helter-skelter eyes to the governor’s mansion.>>

    Is that a comment on McClintock or the voters?

    Agreed with the commenters on Schwarzenegger…he started out fine and got beat by the unions.  He then defected – because effectively, that’s what the voters signaled that they wanted.  And don’t forget – he’s married to a Kennedy.  He sleeps with the enemy.

  • >>Only taxpayers should be allowed to vote. And the more taxes you pay, the more votes you can cast.>>

    I like that!  Not only filing, but paying.  I’d even let illegals vote – if they were paying taxes!  Have the IRS issue a voting card after  tax forms were filed as long as the net result was $$ paid to the Feds over the year covered. 

    Good one.

    • I’ve advocated something similar for years:  a non-binding advisory election where each dollar you pay in taxes gets you one vote.  Sort of like a vote of shareholders in government.

      This could also help people who own property in a state/county/city where they don’t live, and thus have no voice in what’s done with the taxes they pay.

      But it would be very interesting to see how the people who have to pay for it vote vs. the people who don’t pay.

  • Arnold is a slimeball liar, that’s all there is to it.  Yes it’s true Californians reelect a liberal legislature every time, and pass stupid ballot propositions, but that does not change the fact that Arnold is not a fiscal conservative and is most concerned with being popular among his fellow elite.  Hence his advocacy of global warming legislation in the midst of an economic and fiscal disaster.

    I’m convinced the ballot proposition process needs to be eliminated or at least overhauled.  It is ridiculous that a simple majority is all that’s needed to pass bonds.  Voters are too stupid to realize that bond = tax, and therefore every bond for “schools,” “children,” “firemen,” “hospitals,” etc. gets passed every single time.  It should require a 2/3 majority to pass bonds by proposition, and the text of the proposition should say “bonds are paid with future taxes in the amount of the bond, plus interest.”

    Recall every liberal liar Republican in California.  Total Recall 2009.