Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Who has had enough of legislating by voting?

Yesterday afternoon, California's new (old) governor, Jerry Brown, gave his first (or ninth?) State of the State Address to a joint session of the California legislature. Last year, I was live blogging from the Assembly chamber gallery, but I was not able to obtain a ticket this time around, so I had to hear the soundbites on the radio and read the transcript along with the rest of the little people out there.

Since he was elected in November, and took office last month, Jerry Brown has been a bit of a wild card as far as indicating what his plans were as our new-old governor. Would he use his status as a grizzled politician to be his own man and do what he wanted to do - and special interests be damned - or was he going to stay true to form and continue to be the left-wing zealot he has always shown himself to be?

We apparently have our answer. Jerry Brown wants to raise our taxes, or at the very least, leave our tax rates at the extraordinarily high level they currently are. And the best part is that rather than being a man and taking a stand, he has punted his responsibility as Governor and has put the decision of raising taxes in the hands of the California electorate. That way, if, after the June special election, the people of California vote to keep our taxes high, Brown can shift the blame to us. "Hey, I didn't raise your taxes, you voted for it yourselves!"

Here is how Brown actually couched it in his speech yesterday:
My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly I believe it would be irresponsible for us to exclude the people from this process. They have a right to vote on this plan. This state belongs to all of us, not just those of us in this chamber. Given the unique nature of the crisis and the serious impact our decisions will have on millions of Californians, the voters deserve to be heard.
That is sweet of you and all, Jerry, but these voters are the same ones who voted in favor of flushing billions of our tax dollars down the money-losing rat hole that is high-speed rail. We are no longer made up of the kind of voters who passed Prop 13 in 1978 (which Brown opposed by the way). California is now populated by way too many members of the moocher class who want to live at the expense of someone else. There is a reason that direct democracies are doomed to fail, and the people's knowledge that they can vote themselves goodies from the treasury is the ultimate reason for a democracy's downfall.

And what if the people vote against the tax hikes in the special election? That is why Brown is making subtle and not-so-subtle threats about loss of government services, in an effort to scare people away from voting against his tax increases in the first place.

How anyone can think that raising our taxes, or even keeping them at the rate they currently are, is what will fix our budgetary problems is sheer madness. Apparently, Illinois is in an uproar right now because their top income tax rate was just raised from 3% to 5%. Meanwhile, the top rate in California hovers around 10%! We are not broke for a lack of revenue. We simply spend more than we bring in. The problem is that no one wants the spending cut for their pet program, be it welfare, education, public pensions, or subsidizing so-called "green energy."

Right now, California's office of governor and both houses of the state legislature are dominated by the Democrats. They can easily pass and sign legislation with absolutely no roadblocks by the Republicans. Make Jerry Brown and the Democrats in the Assembly and Senate own whatever strategy they have to get us out of this mess, and don't let them have an out by blaming their failure on us, the voters, when their tax-and-spend ways inevitably fail.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson


Anonymous said...

Interesting take, but flawed. As a registered Republican, I have two choices: Let the Dems run things without my input, or have the Republican party take a position as yours and continue to fall into CA political obscurity. I'll take the first of the two evils.

The entire US electorate turned red last election - except for CA. Now the Republicans have even LESS political pull than they did before the election. Obviously, even moderate CAs are tired of their message. If the Repubs continue to act as roadblocks, it is easy to envision a few more lost seats. Then, not only will the Dems be able to pass a budget without Rep votes, but they will be able to raise our taxes with NO ONE to stop them.

The CA "right" has been politically inept during the last few decades. Continuing the same strategy will only push them further into irrelevance. Let the vote happen, I have faith that CA voters will not pass it. Otherwise, get your checkbook out - things will get much worse. Sometimes you need to take one step back to go two steps forward.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of Californians legislating by voting mainly because they keep putting unconstitutional measures on the ballot that attempt to discriminate against minority groups, wasting no end of time and money as they go through the courts to be overturned.

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