Bring on the Browndoggle!
By John Seiler
I’m enjoying the fight over the California High-Speed Rail boondoggle. It’s also called the Browndoggle because it’s Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to surpass the public-works projects, such as the California State Water Project and the state higher brainwashing system (the universities), of his father, Gov. Pat Brown. I’ll leave it to the Freudians to figure that one out.
The funding could sap about $1 billion a year from the state budget at a time when Gov. Jerry is pushing an $8.5 billion tax increase.
Which means there’ll be a fun fight against the tax increase leading up to November.
Brown and the other tax supporters don’t recognize that the state already has reached its spending limit. Raising taxes rates, assuming that happens, only would slam the economy, reduce the tax base, and so reduce actual tax revenues. Workers and businesses already are leaving the state in droves. Higher taxes would club them out even faster.
So there could be this scenario. The tax increases pass, paradoxically reducing tax revenues. The Browndoggle lasts at least for a couple of years, until voters repeal it with an initiative in November 2014. Meanwhile, the pension crisis worsens. Currently, $2 billion from the general fund goes to pension payments; that rises to $4 billion. All of these things mean that other spending must be cut, beginning with K-14 schools and universities, followed by welfare.
Well, great. Government should get out of the brainwashing — er, schooling — business. And taking care of the poor should be done by families and charities.
Eventually, we’ll have a state government in which spending is diverted to the pensions of those no longer working, interest payments on the state debt and the high salaries of the few remaining state workers.
Bottom line: a reduction in the “multitude of New Offices…sent hither” with “swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance,” to quote a famous document.
May 25, 2013