It was a beautiful Wednesday morning waking up to the news that California voters rejected the five ballot measures that would have raised our taxes to fund a massive budget deficit created by spending-addicted Democrats and an incompetent Governor. The propositions were overwhelmingly defeated; over 60% percent of Californians refused to pay for our legislatures’ failures, and in a splendid bonus, 76% want legislators punished if they don’t balance a budget by having their salary increases halted.
Californians sent a clear message to Sacramento: it’s not our fault that we are in this mess, and if you broke it, you should fix it. Sounds reasonable. The unemployment rate is nearing 11%, homes are being foreclosed, business are failing, and people are flocking away from the Golden State’s heavy taxation.
Not everyone thinks that our irresponsible and power-hungry government in Sacramento deserves the blame, however. According to Michael Finnegan at the Los Angeles Times, we the voters are the reasons that California is so dysfunctional. You see, because we refused to allow more of our taxes to be stolen and wasted by our elected officials, we are part of the problem:
“Rightly or wrongly, voters in the special election refused either to extend new tax hikes or to cap state spending. They also declined to unlock funds that they had voted in better financial times to set aside for special purposes.
Nearly a century after the Progressive-era birth of the state’s ballot-measure system, it is clear that voters’ fickle commands, one proposition at a time, are a top contributor to paralysis in Sacramento. And that, in turn, has helped cripple the capacity of the governor and Legislature to provide effective leadership to a state of more than 38 million people.”
The voters’ fickle commands? According to Finnegan, demanding that our representatives stop wasting our money, be fiscally responsible, and not take pay raises when they fail to do these things is somehow fickle. Is it too much to ask that the people we trust with our laws and public policy act like, well, us ordinary citizens when we have budget problems: save, work harder, and make sacrifices? Plenty here in California, and in the rest of the country, are feeling the sting of their governments’ obsession with borrowing, taxing, and spending, while our mayor Gavin Newsom plans to buy a $3 million dollar home. How exactly are we responsible for this mess again?
Our Governor, who occasionally shows signs of prudent and sane public policy, is trying to scare us into giving him more of our money. Schools will lose money! Police and firefighters too! We could easily cut 50% of our budget and still leave our schools and civil servants adequately funded. What should be cut are the gangs of unions and government workers that are unproductive, wasteful, excessive, and very expensive. They provide the votes to the Democratic Party, however, and so the cycle continues.
In a time when it’s politics-as-usual in Sacramento, it’s nice to see the citizens of California tell their “leaders” that they’re sick of it.