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May 20, 2009

Media Unhappy At California Results; Blame Voters

Today the voters had a temper tantrum... Angry White Men etc.

The LA Times is right about this, though:

Californians are well known for periodic voter revolts, but on Tuesday they did more than just lash out at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature over the state's fiscal debacle.

By rejecting five budget measures, Californians also brought into stark relief the fact that they, too, share blame for the political dysfunction that has brought California to the brink of insolvency.

They do bear the blame. Because they vote for Democratic control.

The priority of the Republican Party is to not raise taxes (and cut them, if possible). The priority of the Democrat Party is to not cut government spending and public-sector employees' salaries and numbers (and increase them, if possible).

By electing a (nominally) Republican Governor and a truly Democratic state legislature, the voters ensured that both parties' priorities -- don't raise taxes, don't cut spending -- would be honored. That trick was managed by the timeworn method of borrowing and deficit spending. Both parties claim to be against borrowing, but at best its a second-order priority for both. When push comes to shove, they will borrow rather than violate their first priorities.

But this situation can, obviously, continue for only so long. Yesterday came "so long."

It turns out that voters do not view both parties' priorities as equally important. They seem to favor the Republicans' priority of not increasing (or cutting) taxes over the Democrats' priority of ever-growing spending (although they do seem to like the latter, too, make no mistake).

But by failing to actually vote the Republicans a working majority to achieve their priority without deficit spending, they've driven California's finances over a cliff.

California is now undertaking emergency layoffs -- something that could have been avoided had Republicans had enough power to keep the public service unions from growing in numbers and salaries paid for years and years. And had Californian voters dropped their "let's be nice to everyone" attitude and helped fight the unions' ever-growing demands before the state's budget was bleeding crimson.

The public avoided making this decision, but now appears to making it, after years and years of procrastination, and letting finances get into terrible shape. It turns out "let's be nice to everyone" only goes so far, and at the end of the day, they don't mind massive layoffs in the state workforce all that much.

California will probably go bankrupt now, and the voters -- collectively -- bear much of the blame, for failing so long to realistically confront the dilemma they were offered, choosing instead to borrow and delay any sort of prioritization of wants.

If California doesn't go bankrupt, it will be, most likely, due to the political class conspiring together to raise taxes no matter what the laws might say -- claiming an "emergency situation," courts will allow "emergency revenue enhancements" and the like.

And the voters will only have themselves to blame for that too -- those who don't exercise their right to vote prudently may find it taken away from them by a self-aggrandizing political class which has figured out that many Americans have simply become bored with democracy, and don't prize their right of self-determination very highly.

It's Going to be Bad: Define bad? Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

Total protonic reversal.

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posted by Ace at 01:02 PM

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