California ushers in a new age of bipartisan plunder

The problem isn’t that political parties fight with each other. The problem is that one party in particular is in control of the Legislature and statewide constitutional offices, and that this party is controlled by the public-sector unions. Note how infrequently these moderate reformers point to the union problem. They figure we can reform the state without taking on the main obstacle to reform.

In a typical newspaper editorial in favor of Proposition 14, which in 2010 created the top-two primary system, the Marin Independent Journal opined: “Proposition 14 could help bring cooperation and collaborative problem solving back to Sacramento.” As silly as partisan displays can be, I much prefer a world of political debate, where two parties hold each other accountable than a world where few of the political actors have any governing principles, and instead work together in a cooperative way to divvy up the spoils provided by taxpayers. The idea that Sacramento will be overtaken by a bipartisan reform spirit is too funny for words.

The ostensible goal of these reforms sound sounds sincere, but I suspect that most of their advocates have a darker agenda. They know the proposals will help Democrats pick up either enough seats or enough wobbly Republicans to raise taxes. Once that big battle over taxes is over, there will no longer be a stumbling block to the infrastructure-spending and other programs these business interests support.

The joke will be on them, of course. They envision a world where they are in the backrooms, diverting tax loot toward the infrastructure projects they desperately want. But instead the unions will control those backrooms just as they do now.