One might thing that having a $50 billion shortfall for 2009 might have convinced California legislators to adopt more fiscal responsibility during an economic downturn. Instead, they continue to spend money in a fashion that insults drunken sailors everywhere and makes Imelda Marcos look like Ebenezer Scrooge. The Sacramento Bee reports that legislators faced with the additional, unplanned $8 billion deficit will do their best to widen it:
California’s recession has not stopped lawmakers from proposing nearly two dozen bills that would dip into taxpayers’ pocketbooks for causes from trauma care to domestic violence.
The measures would affect millions of Californians in ways ranging from legalizing and regulating marijuana to charging for shopper carry-out bags or requiring sterilization of pet cats that roam.
Before you accuse the legislators of piggish thoughtlessness, they have a reason for this spending. They want to do some social engineering:
Most of the Democrat-driven proposals target specific groups of people, such as millionaires, pornography buyers, teenage drivers, motorcycle owners, cigarette smokers or liquor drinkers.
The goal typically is to alter risky behavior, reduce pollution or to raise money for education, roads, shelters, emergency services or other vital services in a cash-strapped state.
“It’s other people’s money and they can dream up every single good cause in the world to justify the further rape of the California taxpayer,” said Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
What happens when they run out of behaviors they want to modify? After attacking millionaires, porn customers, teens, motorcyclists, smokers, and drinkers … who’s left? Teetotaling, childless Prius drivers?
California has enormous fiscal problems precisely because of this kind of legislative overreach over the past few decades. Government pulls more and more capital out of the pockets of its residents, which makes it more and more difficult to keep the economy in motion. Instead of lowering taxes in a recession and living within its means, the state of California wants to take even more money out of Californians’ pockets to fund more and more pet projects. They’re trying to divide the electorate by issuing punitive taxes on people who won’t get as much sympathy, such as smokers, motorcyclists, and millionaires, as a means of confusing people long enough to make a clean getaway with their money.
The Golden State is rapidly becoming the most dysfunctional state in the Union. If a “going Galt” movement starts anywhere, look West, young man.