Every now and then a story comes along that precisely illustrates what would happen to California taxpayers if — when facing budget problems — two-thirds of the Legislature and the governor could take the easy way out and raise taxes instead of cutting and reforming programs, and ending automatic pay raises and unjustifiable retirement benefits that exist solely as a function of union political power. The Sac Bee story about how traffic tickets cost vastly more then their nominal penalty is a perfect example. What? You think it’s your money, not the government’s? Fool. And you think the government will act fairly when it deals with you and your money? Sap.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office is required to pretend as if Sacramento is not a place where public policy debates usually revolve around the question of how to best disguise the fact that just about everything state government does is dedicated to protecting the interests of public employees. That’s why I got such a kick out of the LAO’s earnest exhortation Thursday that the up to $14 billion a year that will be forthcoming from AB 32 cap-and-trade fees be spent in a thoughtful manner. Are you kidding me, LAO? This is California! That is not an option!
Are Kamala Harris’ parents proud of her today? Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, a breast cancer specialist, and Stanford University economics professor Donald Harris had Kamala after emigrating to the U.S. from crypto-democracies in India and Jamaica, respectively. Is this what they hoped for from their daughter? That she’d use her law degree to move up the ranks of the state Democratic Party and help maintain California’s status as a crypto-democracy? That their child, in her role as the state’s attorney general, would betray democracy by writing slanted ballot language that doomed two pension reform measures that polls showed voters loved? The doctor and the prof must be proud. With this act of sabotage, Kamala Harris is now the equivalent of a made man in the mafia that run the Golden State. The sky’s the limit now. Who knows how much more Harris can achieve in her chosen role as union tool masquerading as public servant? She’s a thug in a dress.
When will the media finally figure out that the most powerful groups on the California left — public employees and environmentalists — use poor people as political props to get their way? Deny teachers their raises based on seniority and accumulation of meaningless graduate credits and you’re “punishing the kids” — no matter what the facts are. Get in the way of climate change policies? Then you’re a heartless cad who doesn’t realize that “low-income communities in California are more vulnerable to climate change-related health risks.” But what about the huge likelihood that AB 32′s main effect will be to impoverish poor people? Instead of prompting the rest of the world to follow California’s lead in switching to cleaner but costlier energy, the geniuses in Sacramento are on the brink of punishing the needy — all so rich greens in West L.A. and the Bay Area can feel good about their purity. Great, just great.