Earlier this week, the Governor referred to state legislators who couldn’t come to an agreement on a fix to the out-of-whack state budget as “kindergartens” and summarily gave them a grade of “F” – gee, thanks, Gov.
Unfortunately, the Governor cast a wide net with his slam on the legislature, blasting legislative Republicans (one of his favorite penchants) in addition to the liberal Democrats who bear most (but not all) of the blame for profligate overspending of many years that has taken us to the brink of a state government financial melt-down.
For years and years (and years and years) the liberals who control the state legislature have pursued, with a voracious and unquenchable appetite, a drive make state government bigger and bigger. They have spent years and years coming up with “solutions” for any potential woe facing the state by going to the same jukebox and playing the same songs they always play. You know… Tunes like, “Let’s Create A New Agency,” or “Let’s create more regulations and increase more fees,” and my least favorite tune, “Let’s make the government responsible for that, instead of the stupid people.”
Of course, the left has been aided in their quest to the extent that state budgets past, that massively increased spending during times of seeming “plenty” had to garner a handful of votes from GOP legislators, and of course Governors (this one especially, but many others go back a long time) have also failed to hold the line with their veto pen.
Predictably, the steady increases of spending for program after program, to fund the creation of more agencies, departments, commissions and the like – well it has created a situation that is untenable. State government spending has gone way over the top – and our economy here in California cannot sustain that level of government spending (on top of our over-taxation by the federal government).
The Governor’s tongue-and-cheek rebuke of state legislators being like little children is not that far off the mark when you apply it to the Democrats who literally know no fiscal discipline whatsoever. I am reminded of the kid who goes to the toy store and starts throwing every toy he can grab his hands on into the shopping card until it overflows. Eventually you have to go to the cash register to check out and pay for those toys. In years past, the parents (in this weak analogy that would be Republican Governors and those GOP legislators who, in the past, signed off on budgets that increased spending) would routinely just use their credit card and buy the toys. But now they level of obsessive “I want it all” mentality of the Democrats has reached a crisis point. This time one of the parents (Republican legislators) have said enough is enough – and are insisting that the children go put the toys back on the shelf. And boy are the kids crying. “We can’t live without our toys,” they scream with a tantrum!
Republican legislators have made it clear that what is needed is a very real spending cap, to make sure that this kind of problem doesn’t happen in the future. A cap would say that state government, year by year, can only grow by a fixed percentage (some have said 5% — I would prefer 3% myself). This will enforce fiscal discipline, and require a prioritization of resources by the legislature. Frankly, along with the cap, also placed on the ballot should be a repeal of any and all ballot-box budgeting initiatives (such as Prop. 98) so that along with the cap comes complete authority for the majority to set spending priorities within that limit.
At the end of the day, it really up to the Democrats to come to the table and concede to a spending cap measure for next year’s special election ballot. There isn’t time to waste, and don’t think for a minute that Republican legislators will agree to any increases in revenue that aren’t contingent on the PASSAGE of such a measure, not merely placing it before voters.
If we want to come up with something to call Republican legislators – let’s call them Oompa Loompas. You know, the ones that rolled away poor Varuca Salt in the classic Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She simply couldn’t curb her appetite and had to be taken out and “pressed” – just like we need to do with state spending priorities. See Varuca’s “spitting image” impression of legislative Democrats below!
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