The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
That may be the most (genuinely) optimistic sentence of the year. Read the whole thing
That ugliness has made the California budget, like those in most of the other 49 states, less efficient and more bloated. Government spending, unlike spending in the private economy, is a zero-sum game—especially on the state level, since governors can’t print money. Every dollar spent gilding a pension is a dollar not spent funding an orphanage. Naturally, the same elite outlets that were busy blaming voters after the election spent even more time detailing the horrors of the “annihilating cuts,” as the Los Angeles Times called them in a news article, that were coming down the pike. (In early June, the paper invited readers to be shocked that a high school with 3,200 students would have to make do with just three guidance counselors.) Bloated pension costs and the increasingly inefficient provision of state services received a fraction of the coverage.
The federal government is now run by a president and Congress more responsive to union concerns than any in at least two decades. The same bloat currently bogging down statehouses and city halls is being duplicated in boomtown Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama even brought Andy Stern in to help warn Schwarzenegger that federal stimulus money would not be disbursed to California unless the governor rescinded some proposed state job cuts. Though that threat was later withdrawn, Schwarzenegger at press time was pushing for a measly work force reduction of 2 percent.
But there’s another interpretation of California’s rebellion, one with far sunnier implications for those of us who prefer our governments constrained. Faced with a political class that ignored bureaucratic inefficiency, that demanded higher taxes, that filled the newspapers with scare stories about people who will literally die as a result of budget cuts, the citizens of one of the bluest states in the nation collectively said we just don’t believe you anymore. If even California’s famous fruits and nuts can call the statists’ bluff, there may be hope for the rest of the country.