Soapbox on Cali

I posted this to Kottke’s thread on Ahhhhnold.

An interesting discussion. Amutch noted:

“I’ve heard several CA politicians say the biggest budget problem in CA is that California residents want top-dollar State services but don’t want to pay for them. Until CA residents come to grips with that contradiction, to many of us out here in the heartland, the recall just looks like a big temper-tantrum by people who want everything but aren’t willing to pay for it.”

That’s pretty much everyone. We’ve taken a consumer mentality to government as well–we want as much as we can get for as little as we can get it. That governments can afford to spend at a deficit in volumes that no ordinary consumer [or business entity] can do makes things quite interesting in this regard.

Both sides in Washington have been applying the screws to the states for the last 15 years, a story that’s really not getting enough play. The Feds have been cutting back how much they contribute into state/federal combined projects, leaving the states holding the bag. Why? It allows them to keep overall spending and taxes down while allowing each side to do their short-sighted political things [the Republicans cutting taxes, the Democrats shifting spending from some areas to others] to keep getting elected while passing the buck to the states.

This came during good times for the general economy in a post-Cold War time when social spending could afford to increase as it has; when the business cycle went the other way, the state folks–who’d been happy to dole out money just like their idols in Washington, because it keeps them in office, too–got left holding the bag.

The problem is in not holding governmental officials accountable for their actions. As amutch said on the state level, so also happens on the level below that–screw the guys in the next county, get as much money as we can right here in my backyard. When everyone gets selfish, well, it goes to hell in a handbasket, now doesn’t it?

The ol’ Preamble sez: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The union? Probably as perfect as we can make it today, and we’ll work on it for tomorrow.

Justice? Whew. Questionable, but it’s always been questionable … it just gets more press now.

Tranquility? No rioting in the streets. Crime’s down on the whole.

Common defense? The one part the GOP always gets right.

General welfare? Whoa, who threw that banana peel out there?