Governor Jerry Brown recently announced, to the surprise of no rational observer, that California still faces a 16 billion dollar deficit. It’s what inevitably happens when a state is largely run for the benefit of public employee unions, business-averse interest groups, and large voting blocs that support lax border enforcement and demand ever more goodies from Sacramento.
In view of this annual fiscal crisis, one might think the state’s deep-blue politicians would consider pulling the plug on a multi-billion dollar high-speed rail project whose cost estimates have increased as dramatically as questions about its utility. That decision, however, would represent a rational approach, and rationality doesn’t count for much when it comes to legislators enamored with Tinseltown fantasies.
Accordingly, the California Assembly turned down Diane Harkey’s proposed “Lemon Law,” AB 1455, that would have terminated the flow of funds to a super fast choo-choo that’s currently estimated to cost around 100 billion dollars. Instead, the governor’s approach to our fiscal train wreck is higher taxes and a gun-to-head threat of cuts in “essential” services if voters fail to pass the proposed tax increases that will appear on November’s ballot.
Note that it’s always public safety, parks, and education that are tentatively placed on the budgetary chopping block—not an unpopular rail boondoggle or any of the redundant bureaucratic agencies that infect Sacramento and the state’s bloated university system. (Does UCSD really need, as Heather MacDonald noted in a City Journal article last year, a handsomely-compensated vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion—in addition to a massive diversity apparatus that includes more than a dozen different positions and various councils or centers all devoted to this PC obsession?)
In line with Sacramento’s bureaucratic mentality, Proposition 29 not only adds to the existing taxes on tobacco, it also sets up yet another committee with its (doubtless well paid) officials to distribute money for cancer research and anti-smoking education programs. Never mind that the state already funds a plethora of anti-smoking ads.
I suspect the most tangible beneficiaries from passage of this proposition will be those folks who oversee distribution of the estimated $735 million that will be raised from its dollar-a-pack tax. (According to the proposed law, approximately two percent of the funds raised, or about 14.5 million dollars, can go to administrative costs.)
This initiative would have greater appeal to non-smokers like me if all the funds from the new tax were applied to the state’s yawning budget deficit and not to the creation of yet another government commission whose designated pot of gold is exempt from rational budgetary review.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
"Overall, officials said most of the thousands of protesters were nonviolent."
Can you imagine such a forgiving comment being employed by the mainstream media when they covered Tea Party rallies--events where even a few less-than-tasteful signs were evidence enough for reporters to resurrect the "angry (and potentially dangerous) white male" motif that they used to explain the GOP sweep of Congress in 1994?
As the aforementioned LA Times quote suggests, major media outlets (alongside Democrats like Nancy Pelosi) have bent over backward to give the Occupy Wall Street movement better coverage and more significance than it deserves--the exact opposite of the stance they took toward Tea Partiers whom then House Speaker Pelosi dismissed as an "astroturf" concoction. Concerning the OWS movement, ABC's Diane Sawyer breathlessly and cluelessly announced last fall that it had "spread to thousands" of the world's (196) countries.
The mish-mash of government employees, greenies, labor unions, open border advocates, and jobless liberal arts majors that comprise the OWS movement was supposed to spring back to life with a gaggle of worldwide events on May first--piggybacking on the traditional "workers" demonstrations that were also employed with great fanfare in the Soviet Union. Unfortunately for these leftists without a coherent cause, even the largest events in cities like New York and Los Angeles were comparable in size with or smaller than the April 15, 2009 Tea Party rally in Oceanside.
Some protests reduced sympathetic reporters to using terms like "hundreds" or even "dozens" to describe the paltry gatherings that presumed to speak for 99% of the American citizenry.
Given the overhyped nature of these May Day events, it isn't surprising that little has been said about their size and ineffectiveness--or about the violence that accompanied demonstrations like the one in Seattle where a few protesters confused mindless vandalism with meaningful reform.
Imagine the heyday the Democrat media would have had if Tea Partiers had engaged in the disruptions and law-breaking that was hastily reported by network bigs on May second. Indeed, more sustained attention was given to a single alleged spitting incident among Tea Partiers in 2010 than to the numerous acts of violence perpetrated by OWS protesters on May 1.
I'm pleased that there were no reports of violence by OWS Temecula-Menifee--a group that rejects lawbreaking and whose numbers occasionally reach double-digits. I'm also gratified to note that most Oakland Raider fans (like their bay city OWS counterparts) are only irritating and obnoxious, not criminal.
It would be swell if I could also report that OWS now understands the greatest component of corrupt government is precisely its gargantuan size and scope.