Multiple choice question…
Given a choice, I’ll take the toads.
You’ve read here about the budget mess in California, and I’ve made no secret of my total disdain for California’s elected officials or the morons who keep electing them.
One of the fundamental concepts about the formation of the U.S. and the original structure of its government was this simple and effective concept:
Government OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people.
It’s a darn good thing for our elected officials that Washington, Jefferson, Adams, etal are long dead and buried because I’m pretty sure we’d be looking at a second revolutionary war. The crux of the problem we’re facing today with our government is that the concept above seems to have been replaced with this:
Government OF the ruling class, BY the ruling class and FOR the ruling class.
That seems to be true at both the federal and state levels, and depending on the size of the city you live in, it’s likely true there as well. Elected officials and government employees have completely lost the idea of “public service”, or maybe they’ve just changed to definition from “serving the public” to “being served by the public”.
The most insidious tool used by the ruling class is language and process. They’ve captured both and designed both to serve their needs. Let’s take a look at the goings on in California for a painful example of just how this works, from an article in the Fresno Bee.
When Gov. Jerry Brown called the state budget “a pretzel palace of incredible complexity” last week, he was stating, in his inimitable way, the obvious.
During Brown’s governorship three decades ago, the budget was a relatively simple and understandable document. Revenues were relatively easy to calculate and spending obligations were clearly delineated.
But today’s budget is complex almost beyond comprehension, and Brown wants to make it more so.
The complexity is a “feature” not a “bug”. It’s proven fact that if instructions are simple, they will be followed, and they will be followed because they’re easy to understand and, right or wrong, they’re perceived as “reasonable”. Ratchet up the complexity and people simply stop paying attention, and when people stop paying attention the ruling class takes over and they take it upon themselves to explain “the facts” those of us lesser beings who dare to ask questions.
The real objective of complexity is that because it makes understanding next to impossible it also makes accountability next to impossible. If you’re scratching your head over this idea, just look at Barack’s latest effort to convince we lesser beings that he’s actually a fiscal conservative. His minions are actually making the effort with a straight face.
One of the benefits of complexity, if you’re a member of the ruling class, is that it gives you the ability to do about anything you want along with cover because nobody can really figure out why you shouldn’t be able to do it. For example, there’s K-12 education in California. It’s a money pit and California’s school system has been getting progressively (and I’m using that word on purpose) worse for 30+ years and here’s why:
The budget’s largest, most complex and most contentious piece is K-12 education, for which the state assumed primary responsibility after Proposition 13 was enacted in 1978.
Proposition 98, passed by voters in 1988 and modified two years later, supposedly dictates the aid schools should receive. But its formulae are so dense that only a tiny handful of people profess to understand it and they often disagree on its meaning.
John Mockler, the education consultant who wrote Proposition 98 for the California Teachers Association and other education groups, has quipped that he made it so complex because interest groups would be compelled to hire him to interpret its provisions and allow him to send his children to Stanford University.
First of all, the law was written by the California Teachers Association, one of the most powerful unions in the country and as a group, students and parents are not on their priority list. The CTA – and the NEA – have done more to destroy education, and state and local budgets, in the U.S. than any group in the country. They’re a significantly bigger danger to the nation and our way of life than al Qaeda will ever be.
Here’s the bottom line for California:
It’s not only a fiscal and legal exercise but a very political one as well, since Brown is counting on public support for education to gain approval of his tax package.
Voters will be receiving a barrage of conflicting claims and counterclaims and will have absolutely no way of understanding them.
Brown and California Democrats have a “temporary” tax increase on the ballot in November to plug a $9B hole in their budget and he’s using the threat of making “major” cuts in K-12 ed as leverage to get people to vote for the tax increase. Due to the built in complexity of the law and the fact that most voters can’t think beyond a sound byte, there’s a good chance the tax increase will pass.
It’s time to be able to hold our elected officials accountable and to demand that laws – and regulations – be written in plain English. It’s also time to cut off the money and force the ruling class to start dismantling the edifice they’ve built for themselves at our expense and with our kids future.
What do you think? Have you seen this going on in your city or state? Let us know about it in the comments.