CRP Blog

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is This What You Really Wanted?

Dear Californians: Is this what you wanted when you put the Democrats in power? Really?

There’s no arguing that California is a blue state. Most Californians embrace what Democrats like to sell. Even though they typically deliver a lot more sizzle than steak, Democrats talk the good talk when it comes to good schools, environmental protections, and helping the poor.

All those are laudable goals. But while talking the talk about what Californians want to hear, Democrats have been successfully implementing a very different agenda during the four decades they’ve been in charge of government in Sacramento. In the name of producing good schools, they’ve created a top heavy education bureaucracy with some of the highest paid, but least accountable teachers in the world. While touting environmental protection, they’ve created an unresponsive, red-tape wielding maze of agencies and permits and regulations that kill jobs and needlessly cost consumers. In the name of helping those who can’t help themselves, they’ve built a service-delivery army that now perseveres even while those who depend on those services go wanting.

This didn’t happen overnight. It’s been creeping up on us for more than 40 years, not coincidentally, the same period the Democrats have enjoyed a nearly uninterrupted streak of legislative dominance. It’s time for some perspective on how far California’s state government has wandered off track while Democrats have been running the show.

Traditionally, state governments are pretty much the boring, stable relatives of the high-falutin’ federal government with its civil rights laws and national defense and stick-it-to-the-man environmental protections. Local governments can have their own flash too, and it’s not that big a deal when they announce they’re going to be a sanctuary city or impose a living wage laws, as long as the buses run fairly regularly and the cops show up when your house is broken into.

State government isn’t what most people think of when it comes to the in-your-face issues of our daily lives. State government is about highways, and water projects and weights and measures. Stuff we count on, but kind of take for granted.
Taking care of the basics is what state government does best. You know, the boring stuff we rightfully pay people to take care of so we don’t have to bother with it. It’s even forgivable when state government politicians can’t help themselves and start to dabble in social issues, as long as they also take care of the basics.

Which brings us up to date here in California. Governors come and Governors go, and they do what they can, but in California, the real power of state government resides in the legislature. And even in the days before Willie Brown appointed himself the Ayatollah of the Assembly, the state legislature has been dominated by Democrats. And it’s during that last 40 years or so that California’s state government has veered wildly off track, regulating, or attempting to regulate, more and more of how society operates, while conveniently ignoring the mess they’ve made handling their basic responsibilities.

Four decades of Democrats dominating state government, and we have:
A dysfunctional education system so broken that a Stanford University study five years ago declared so bad it would be pointless to give it more money until fundamental reforms are put in place.

An insufficient water supply for food, industry, or our growing population
Crumbling roadways, and mass transit programs statewide shutting down or limiting routes and schedules.

A bloated state government bureaucracy filled with redundant and inefficient systems.
An unsustainable pension system that’s soon going to require more money for ex-workers than those employees actually on the job.

California voters, is this really what you wanted when you voted for that politician with the D next to his name? Do you really agree with Democratic Speaker of the Assembly John Perez when says we have to raise taxes, or else government employees will lose their job? Do you really support our Governor Jerry Brown when he cuts billions to schools and support programs and medical care for the elderly and disabled, then gives prison guards a raise? Do these sound like the actions of people who take their job of managing our state government responsibly, or do these seem more the likes of those who focus on political solutions, when they should be fixing our budget solutions.

There’s an old joke about the man whose wife walks in when he’s in bed with his lover. “Who are you going to believe,” he protests? “Me, or your own eyes?” How many more years of abject failure by our Democrat-dominated state government will it take before Californians start believing their own eyes, and demand a responsible alternative to a four decade legacy of failure?

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