Saturday, May 30, 2009

California, government as good as its people, part 2

At one time I though a Southern state like Mississippi or Alabama was the stupidest state in the USA. Then I was sure Texas was. Now I'm convinced California is.
Before this state’s May 19 vote on five initiatives intended to solve the state’s chronic fiscal difficulties, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — in person on the stump and via TV ad blitzes up and down the state — told voters that if the measures did not pass, the resulting budget cuts would be “draconian.”

In the days after the measures went down in flames, the announcements have come rapid fire, and various constituencies are reeling — calling the cuts “beyond draconian.”

Some 235,000 state workers will have to take a 5 percent pay cut. Of the state’s 279 state parks, 200 will be closed. Schwarzenegger’s plan to dismantle the Cal Grant program — considered one of the nation’s best programs to help poorer students cover full fees or tuition at public colleges — would make California the first US state to eliminate student financial aid while raising tuition.
Christian Science Monitor, May 30, 2009

There's more. Reports the LA Times:
Schools would be hit by $680 million in new cuts to classrooms and by $315 million in cuts for transportation. The state's social safety net would lose $1 billion more in funding for the poor, disabled and aged. Cities and counties would lose an additional $242 million in transportation funding.

Schwarzenegger would save $100 million by suspending laws requiring the state to pay for a variety of local government services, including offering absentee ballots before elections, resolving child custody problems, investigating deaths at mental hospitals, posting safety signs on beaches, collecting DNA samples from bodies, caring for abandoned pets and many more.

State workers, already under orders to take two unpaid days off each month, would also receive a 5% wage cut, saving the state an additional $470 million, as part of Schwarzenegger's new plan.

Mirroring that proposal, the University of California, long besieged by controversy over its high executive salaries, announced 5% pay cuts for about 30 top administrators in the wake of the governor's plans to slash higher education funding. Many of them earn more than $300,000 a year., May 30, 2009

So, O.K., being a smug Iowan I didn't follow this story very closely. I've been led to believe, though, turn out for the May 19 special election was low leaving the field open for the heirs of anti-tax demigod Howard Jarvis.

To be honest no one with half a brain willingly raises a tax on himself*...that's why you elect politicians, so you have some one to blame for raising your tax. But, given the nature of our "free market" economy and it's built-in inflationary tendencies, if one wishes to enjoy the services that only an organized political entity can provide it is necessary to raise taxes once in awhile. And the only way to keep that equitable is through a progressive tax system. Well ever since the 16th Amendment went into effect reactionaries have been, successfully I might add, rolling back the only fair system of public taxation ever invented by man.

So what we witness in California is the end result of years and years of anti-tax propaganda whereby the good citizens of the "seventh largest economy in the world"** have just fucked themselves royally.

*The "smart" citizens of the State of Iowa now have the privilege, through the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) , to raise the regressive sales tax a penny, "only for a limited number of years (lol)," on themselves.

**According to the California Department of Finance as of 2003

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