When Jerry Brown was elected governor for a third time in 2010, there was widespread hope that he would repair the state’s crumbling and dysfunctional political edifice. But instead of becoming a Californian Mikhail Gorbachev, he has turned out to be something more resembling Konstantin Chernenko or Yuri Andropov, an aged hegemon desperately trying to save a dying system.
As with the old party bosses in Russia, Brown’s distinct lack of courage has only worsened California’s lurch toward fiscal and economic disaster. Yet as the budget woes worsen, other Californians, including some Democrats, are beginning to recognize the need for perestroika in the Golden State. This was most evident in the overwhelming vote last week in two key cities, San Diego and San Jose, to reform public employee pensions, a huge reversal after decades of ever more expansive public union power in the state.
California’s “progressive” approach has been enshrined in what is essentially a one-party state that is almost Soviet in its rigidity and inability to adapt to changing conditions. With conservatives, most businesses and taxpayer advocates marginalized, California politics has become the plaything of three powerful interest groups: public-sector unions, the Bay Area/Silicon Valley elite and the greens. Their agendas, largely unrestrained by serious opposition, have brought this great state to its knees.
California’s ruling troika has been melded by a combination of self-interest and a common ideology. Their ruling tenets center on support for an ever more intrusive, and expensive, state apparatus; the need to turn California into an Ecotopian green state; and a shared belief that the “genius” of Silicon Valley can pay for all of this.
Now this world view is foundering on the rocks of economic reality. The Soviet Union armed itself to the teeth and sent cosmonauts into space while the public waited on line for toothpaste and sausages. Similarly, Californians suffer from a combination of high taxes and intrusive regulation coupled with a miserable education system — the state’s students now rank 47th in science achievement — and a rapidly deteriorating infrastructure.
The current recession has been particularly severe, continuing at a more acute level than in most states, including places like Florida and Arizona, which also suffered greatly from the housing bust. California now has the third highest unemployment rate in the U.S., beating out only its co-dependent evil twin Nevada and Rhode Island. At the same time, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California study, inequality in the devoutly “progressive” state has been growing much faster than in the rest of the country.
The most auspicious sign of grassroots support for perestroika was last week’s smack down of public employee unions in San Jose and San Diego. For the first time in recent memory, the unions suffered a humiliating defeat — the measures passed by a margin greater than two to one — as voters endorsed deep reform of the pension burdens bringing these cities to the brink of bankruptcy. Backed by its Democratic mayor, (more…)
Thursday, June 14th, 2012
This speech was given two years ago.
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I sometimes think that Republicans are genetically compelled to bring water pistols to a gun fight. While I acknowledge that it’s difficult to combat the bully pulpit the Left commands, thanks to a corrupt media, I really am sick and tired of hearing Mitch McConnell referring to “Our friends on the other side of the aisle.” Harry Reid is not your friend. Charles Schumer, Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin, are not your friends. What’s more, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray and Dianne Feinstein, are not going to the prom with you. Get over it.
What I would like to know is why it is that the Democrats get to conduct recall campaigns against Governor Scott Walker and his Republican colleagues in the Wisconsin state legislature, but Republicans never return the favor. When liberal governors and left-wing state legislators push for same-sex marriages, ObamaCare and abortions on demand for 14-year-olds, why aren’t we forcing them to devote their time and money to fighting recall elections?
How is it that when liberal members of state senates and assemblies roll over during negotiations with public service unions, driving their states into inevitable bankruptcy, they do so with impunity? I understand they are not motivated by a commitment to the labor movement, but because they want to be able to count on union volunteers and union funds when they inevitably run for re-election. But why don’t we ever disrupt the honeymoon by recalling their sorry carcasses?
I’d also like to know why no Republican in Congress ever accuses Obama of anything worse than incompetence. When it comes to making repairs around the house, I’m incompetent. When it comes to figuring out why my computer does some of the mischievous things it does, I’m incompetent. However, when, at the very same time that China, North Korea and Iran, are all building up their armies and increasing the stockpile of nuclear bombs in the hands of madmen, Obama is gutting the U.S. military and promising to reduce our nuclear arsenal by 80%, that can’t be explained away as mere incompetence. Let’s face it, if a foreign power had the ability to lower our defense capability that easily, they’d leave us no option but to declare war on them.
For all the nonsense about respecting the Office of the President, when the commander-in-chief insists on surrounding himself with the likes of Eric Holder, Van Jones, Kathleen Sibelius, Valerie Jarrett and Jacob Lew, he deserves about as much respect as George Soros or any of those Occupy Wall Street creeps defecating on the sidewalk.
Last year, Obama came up with a budget that was so odious that even his cronies in the Senate voted it down unanimously. Not one to take “No” for an answer, he came back this year with a budget that raised taxes on people in America who make over a million dollars a year, while not asking a plugged nickel from the 47% who don’t pay a dime in income taxes.
He also proposed raising capital gains taxes by 30% and taxing stock dividends at the same rate as regular income. It’s a one-two punch that would destroy the Stock Market. Even Obama’s good friend Warren Buffet wouldn’t invest under those conditions. What’s more, he would probably fire that secretary he’s always yakking about.
Not satisfied with destroying Wall Street, Obama also wants to destroy Main Street by raising taxes on small businesses.
And lest anyone think that they can evade the grasp of the IRS by simply dying, he wants to raise death taxes from 35% to 45%. Under his tax policy, you not only can’t take it with you, you can’t even leave it behind.
What is so confounding about all this is that Obama owes so much to Wall Street, having been the biggest recipient of campaign donations from banks and lending institutions in the history of American politics. And as an Illinois politician, he knows better than most how indebted the Democrats are to dead people for their loyal support down through the years. This is obviously one dog that believes in biting the hands that feed it.
To top things off, we have to listen to Press Secretary Jay Carney telling us, on behalf of Obama, that we didn’t know how bad the economy was when candidate Obama swore to cut the national debt in half by the end of his first term. And yet, if memory serves, in 2008, it was his boss who declared, “I think we all know that we are in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”
I wasn’t too crazy about Obama’s “Hope and Change” slogan in 2008 and I’m not overly fond of his new one, “Winning the Future.” Still, there’s something to be said for its initials. WTF, indeed!