Monday, February 14, 2011


False Economy

On the editorial pages of today's (February 14) Los Angeles Times a pundit weighs in with a criticism of Governor Brown.  The criticism concerns Brown's proposal to place a tax increase referendum on the ballot so that voters can choose whether to increase the State's revenue.  The pundit points out that Candidate Brown did not campaign on a plan to increase taxes.  In addition, the public voted two years ago against a proposed tax increase.

Candidate Brown did not campaign on a plan to increase taxes!  Well, duh!  In the entire history of this republic, there was not one candidate who ever got elected by promising to increase taxes.  Brown knows that and I know that and I suspect the pundit knows that, also.  It is also widely recognized, even by Republicans, that the State of California can not provide services at the present levels with the income available.  Either taxes will have to be raised or services will have to be curtailed.  The voting public wants neither alternative.  We are faced with a failure of representative government.  One way or another, the public will have to take its medicine.

One solution to the problem of representative government being unable to make a necessary but unpopular decision is to replace the government with a dictatorship.  The dictator then makes the decision and suppresses all criticism of it.  We have seen this method of solving the problem put into effect in many countries during our lifetimes.  Governor Brown has pointed out another way out of the dilemma: let the public decide in a fair and open election what medicine to take.  The legislature should agree to placing the proposal on the ballot.  There should then be a lively, open, and extensive discussion of the measure and the consequences of adopting it or rejecting it.  We've had enough talk about how to provide services that the public wants by getting rid of waste and corruption, of creative bookkeeping, etc., etc., etc.
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