CA Politicians Gorging On Taxpayers

MAR. 13, 2012

Like a fat tick feasting on an unsuspecting dog, California government just grows and grows.

While governments across the country are trimming budgets and tightening fiscal policies, California is doing exactly what Greece did and is borrowing money to continue paying for all of its welfare and entitlement programs.  Because of the borrowing, credit agencies have rated California’s debt as just above “junk” status.

Despite politicians’ attempts to use clever language for entitlement and welfare programs, the borrowing and spending cannot continue ad infinitum.

The dangerous result is that too many voters don’t have to care anymore. The less they care about, the more the government steps in to take care of them.

Thirty million Americans, one-third of whom are Californians, receive government-paid housing, rent, food, transportation, employment, education, contraception, healthcare, drugs and childcare. And because welfare recipients shouldn’t have to be embarrassed when using food stamps at the grocery store, VISA cards have replaced the paper food stamps, which has led to even more welfare fraud and pleasure expenditures.

Thirty-two percent of all welfare cases in the United States are in California, even though the state represents only 12 percent of the total U.S. population.  And since there is no longer shame associated with being on the government dole, people in record numbers are joining the welfare team.

Welfare Euphemisms

Some of Calfornia’s welfare programs sound downright appealing: “CalFresh program” is formerly known as the food stamp program. “CalWORKs” is a welfare program that gives cash aid and offers other services, but rarely follows up with making sure that people actually work. The “California Employment Development Department” is formerly known as the Unemployment Office — how much employment development they are doing is debatable.

Welfare wears many other disguises too: 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, stimulus money, mortgage-refinance deals and numerous other shocking government subsidies. It’s all “free money” to those willing recipients, rich or poor, middle or working class.

According to California Gov. Jerry Brown, as well as billionaire Warren Buffett, wealthy San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Barack President Obama, the rich are not paying their “fair share.” And in order to make this “fair share” calculation work, Democrats have lowered the bar. Now anyone or any business making $250,000 annually is rich.

What this means is that more of our taxes will go to welfare spending and entitlement programs.

But where the government steps in to take care of its citizens, a loss of liberties is automatic. As even children know, there are strings attached to nearly everything that is given.

Bass-Ackward Politics

Not content with tax increases, nor satisfied with being the most backwardly “progressive” state in the country, California is actively forging ahead on government-growing policies and legislation. And politicians are doing this with the help of a complicit media.

The state Legislature has opined or passed controversial laws on every controversial issue — gays in the military, immigration, global warming, guns, and abortion — all designed to restrict constitutional rights, while at the same time expanding government’s involvement, control and size.

Not contented being just anti-business, activist-level environmentalists and global warming eco-chondriacs, California’s liberals have pushed and successfully changed the state’s ballot initiative laws, manipulated redistricting maps, and continue to pass unworkable regulations sure to put even more small business owners underwater or on a U-Haul truck to any other state.

California has so many levels of regulations and anti-business laws that, at any given moment, any business in the state could be cited and fined for anything. This is what 120 full-time politicians does for a state.

Educating Children Is a Byproduct Of School System

It is liberal policies, which have destroyed public education in California. Thanks to labor unions and liberal policies, the state’s public education system, which used to be one of the best in the nation, is now fighting for last place.

After the last round of results were published by the National Assessment of Education Progress, California students scored at nearly the bottom of the country in reading and math. In reading, California performed worse than all other states and only outscored Washington, D.C. In math, state fourth-graders ranked above only D.C. and Mississippi; eighth-graders did a notch better, also outscoring Alabama.

California schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson, an easy tool of the liberal left and the state’s labor unions, always blames the dismal results on funding. “Asked to do more with less, students, teachers, school employees and administrators have delivered. Imagine how much more they could accomplish with the resources they deserve,” he said in a press release.

How is it that children who are home-schooled, or attend underfunded charter schools in lousy storefronts, blow the doors off of the state’s public-school test results?

While the entire California educational structure is designed to keep the gravy train of ever-increasing salaries and overly generous, unsustainable benefit and pension packages the priority, educating kids has become merely a byproduct.

California Gorging On Taxpayers

California spends more on everything, but taxpayers get less in return. In every area of government, California spends more money, but it’s going to government salaries, benefits, pensions and growing welfare and entitlement programs.

I have a friend who has worked for PERS for three decades. She recently accepted another position within the organization. When I asked how she liked his new position, her response was shocking. She told me that she has only a couple of more years before retirement. She said nothing about the job, or about her responsibilities, nothing about taking on new challenges, but only spoke about how much longer she works until she can retire. The new position is nothing more than part of a retirement calculation for a likely throw away job.

This is California.

California liberals insist that the state’s spending is not out of line. “It’s what voters wanted, and some programs grow faster than the rate of inflation,” reported Jean Ross, outgoing executive director of the nonprofit California Budget Project, and one of the most liberal apologists masquerading as an economic authority.

California’s bureaucracy has grown exponentially and in power, as well as size. Government salaries are higher than any commensurate job in the private sector. State and local government employees are never fired for poor performance or criminal activity; and rarely if they are not needed. Government layoffs usually result in shifting employees around on paper, or filling already “approved” positions.

The tick is still feasting in California, but one day will explode after gorging.

— Katy Grimes

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