How to destroy an economy and waste tax dollars: Vote Yes on Props. 30 and 38

Oct. 22, 2012

By Mark Landsbaum

If you wanted to destroy an economy, what would be a good way to go about it?

You might take money from those who earn it. Can there be a more perverse disincentive than to take money from people on a progressive scale, such as California’s stair-stepped income tax rates? The more one earns, not only more is taken, but proportionately more. At some point, the earner will say, “Enough is enough” and conclude it’s not worth the effort to earn more.

Next, you might divert money from those who earned it to enrich others. The harder one works, the more one enriches someone else.

Welcome to California, where perverse disincentives abound, and where private-sector workers labor to enrich public-sector employees.

On the November ballot, Propositions 30 and 38 urge Californians to double down on this economy-killing formula by increasing their taxes, which already are among the nation’s highest and most progressive, in order to further enrich public sector workers.

If you wanted to concoct an excuse for such redistribution of wealth, from people who produce it to people who desire it, you might argue that it’s for a good cause. You might say that it’s “for the children.”

On the November ballot, Californians are told that, if they just inflict more of this economy-killing pain on themselves, they can improve public schools. Sure, turning over more of your hard-earned money is painful, but after all, it’s “for the children.” Buck up, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer. Your sacrifice will be for a good cause.

Money is fungible

If you wanted to bamboozle voters and taxpayers into buying this swindle, you definitely wouldn’t mention that money is fungible. Pouring more taxes into the pot is no guarantee it will benefit “the children,” despite disingenuous ballot arguments to the contrary. What is certain is that the benefit will go to California public-school teachers, who already are among the highest paid in the nation. And, of course, it will benefit their top-heavy school administrations, which teach nothing.

While bamboozling voters and taxpayers, you wouldn’t want to mention that no amount of money, short of paying for individual tutors for each of California’s 6 million public school children, will substantially improve what emerges at public high school graduations. Los Angeles public schools spent $25,208 per year per public school student, according to an analysis of all school spending conducted by Cato Center for Educational Freedom in 2010, even though the district reported spending only $10,053. Washington, D.C.’s public schools spent $28,170 per student.

(The fact that public schools grossly under-report how much of your tax money they spend per pupil ought to be a red flag to signal something’s amiss. As Cato author Adam Schaeffer explained in his study, school officials “believe certain expenditure categories should not count,” even though things like health and retirement benefits and debt service “are expenses borne by the taxpayer that are used to support the K-12 education system.”)

D.C. schools

If there exists a correlation between how much money is spent and educational outcome, District of Columbia kids ought to be far more accomplished than California kids. Instead, as economist Walter Williams points out, despite spending more money per student than any state, the District of Columbia “comes in dead last in terms of student achievement.”

While persuading voters and taxpayers to act against their own economic well being, you wouldn’t want to mention that the surest guarantee of a quality education is for a kid to come from a home where Mom and Dad read, and encourage junior and sis to do the same. You wouldn’t want to remind taxpayers and voters that no amount of tax increases will change home life for kids whose parents can’t speak English, or where parents don’t bother to instill a work ethic in their children because Mom and Dad didn’t develop one of their own.

It’s painful to admit that the greatest determiner of how kids do in school is their home life. At least it’s painful for public school employees to admit. But isn’t that what every grownup knows in his heart from personal experience and from the experience of public schools?

Californians could double or triple their tax burden and effectively grind the state’s economy to a halt, and pour every dime of it into public schools, and what would the outcome be? Kids still would resemble their parents.

It is no secret that the best public schools are located in the best neighborhoods. Sure, someone will object to this generalization by pointing out an exception here and there. But the fact that the exceptions are exceptions makes the point best of all.

Prop.s 30 and 38

What Props. 30 and 38 on the November ballot will do, if voters buy the spiel, is enrich public workers, most of them public school teachers and administrators. What the propositions won’t materially change is what emerges at high school graduation.

Indeed, these tax increases are extremely unlikely to measurably change the lives of children on path to drop out of school because they are acting out values they learn at home. Parents, and most tragically the lack of parents, particularly the lack of a father in the home, are the greatest determiners of kids’ educational success or failure. Not tax money.

Public school teachers will resist admitting this out loud, even though they are the first to protest that they shouldn’t be held accountable for kids who come to school unprepared to learn. Nevertheless, in the same breath they will insist they can do what the obscenely funded Washington, D.C., schools fail to do year in and year out — if only they can have more taxpayers’ money to do it with.

Don’t believe them.

Voters and taxpayers can take another step in November to dismantle California’s economy by voting to divert yet more of the private sector’s money to feed public schools’ insatiable appetite. Or they can reject the fatuous argument that it’s “for the children,” and say, “Enough is enough.”

Providing more money to a system that consistently fails to do what it is paid to do is unwise. Well-off communities don’t need more money for their well-off children to do well. And economically disadvantaged communities’ children won’t do well simply by pouring more money into their public schools.

Can public schools be improved? Not with more money. But perhaps kids’ education can be improved by letting parents use that money to shop for a better, private school. When vouchers are offered anywhere in the nation, the list of applicants far outstrips the available cash. If the product public schools sell must compete against private schools that can and do provide more for less, the competition will improve both.

The fact that so many parents intuitively recognize that they can improve their children’s lot by escaping the grip of public education speaks volumes. The fact that so many public schools refuse to free the children from their grip speaks volumes about what public schools really are all about.  And it’s not “for the children.”

22 comments

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  1. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 October, 2012, 10:03

    30 and 38 are going down, trust me on this one 😉

    Reply this comment
  2. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 22 October, 2012, 11:02

    Why can’t reality come to CWD shiners?

    California is purported by bunker gloomers as a failed state run by unions and welfare queens and those awful, awful dreaded aliens!

    The feedbag will be replenished…like Patton’s relief of our brave guys at the Battle of the Bulge….

    The only difference your beloved leader Govenor Buzzard is relieving the bulge in your wallet and your Euro shoulder bag…..

    Long long over due!

    Go #30….No #32….be submissive…..better for digesting your baloney on days old Wonder Bread.

    Reply this comment
  3. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 22 October, 2012, 11:30

    In case you are growing weary of the myths from the Regressives, here’s a reality check:

    Although conservatives say union money is corrupting the political process, a new study by the nonpartisan group California Common Sense shows that business has ponied up far more cash in recent years to influence elections in the state.

    In all, business interests have pumped $1.7 billion into California campaigns since 2000, outspending labor by more than 3 to 1, the group says.

    More than $1 billion of the business money has gone into initiative campaigns, such as the successful effort to defeat a ballot measure last year that would have increased the cigarette tax by a buck a pack. The rest has gone to candidates for office.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Business-outspending-labor-on-campaigns-3969840.php#ixzz2A3OdWrWK

    Reply this comment
  4. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 22 October, 2012, 13:12

    Regressives? The only true “regressives” I can find are those who propose statist solutions for every ill, as if we live in a colorized, big-screen-TV version of 1936.

    Reply this comment
  5. Queeg
    Queeg 22 October, 2012, 13:50

    People in unions are little people….lay off them….the globalists would have you like Apple’s workforce in China….long hours, low pay, living in cramped concentration-style dorms, eating slop, poor medical care, no normal human socialization,relaxation…and some diving off buildings to end the pain, the suffering, the family seperation anxiety, the hopelessness..

    And nobody cares.

    CWD posters have no clue where we are headed with globalists…no idea!

    Reply this comment
  6. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 22 October, 2012, 14:25

    Steve,

    Businesses produce something and employ millions of people. Unions take from the people who produce, and tax the employees.

    Businesses are fighting to survive.

    There is no economic comparison.

    Katy

    Reply this comment
  7. Bob
    Bob 22 October, 2012, 14:49

    Steveo,

    Colliefornia (as Ahnode calls it) has the highest state sales tax of any state in the country.

    Colliefornia also has a 9.3% marginal tax rate that kicks in at $48,200. Name one other state that has such a high income tax at such a low level.

    If Mollie Mongrell’s tax increase goes through it will be nearly 11% at $48,200.

    You can sugar coat it anyway you want but Colliefornia IS a very high tax state.

    If high taxes and DemoNcrat control were the answers to our problems Colliefornia should be tops in education and every other category and we should not have chronic bugdget problems. But none of that is the case.

    Reply this comment
  8. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 22 October, 2012, 14:52

    Vote YES ON 30!!!! The TRUTH is all of the new revenues go into a special fund that the Legislature can’t touch and contains strict accountability measures.It’s the only initiative on the November ballot that prevents deeper budget cuts to schools and colleges. It provides billions in new funding for smaller class sizes, up-to-date textbooks, rehiring educators and preventing tuition hikes!! What other choice is there? VOTE YES!! You want more devastating cuts, then vote no, or we can ask the wealthiest Californians to temporarily pay a little more in income taxes. No couple making less than $500,000 a year will see an income tax hike. The quarter-cent sales tax increase expires in four years.

    Reply this comment
  9. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 October, 2012, 15:15

    StevefromSacto says:

    October 22, 2012 at 11:30 am

    In case you are growing weary of the myths from the Regressives, here’s a reality check:

    Although conservatives say union money is corrupting the political process, a new study by the nonpartisan group California Common Sense shows that business has ponied up far more cash in recent years to influence elections in the state.
    ==
    Steve-o you’re full of it. Public unions are 70% of the top 10 contributors of money in CA, wiht the CTA #1, go home. That spin wont work here.

    Reply this comment
  10. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 22 October, 2012, 15:18

    Look people,in southern california alone we have more millionaires than just about anywhere else in the nation, with L.A. coming in at No. 1, Orange County at No. 4, and San Diego ranking No. 6 in cities with the most seven-figure-plus households in 2010!! Many,many,actually most millionaires and billionaires don’t pay taxes like the majority of us do. In fact, many don’t pay taxes at all!!!! According to a recently released IRS report, 1,470 millionaires and billionaires paid zero taxes in 2010. The Mack-truck sized loopholes written into the tax code has resulted in a legit, $0-tax bill for these high rollers. So stop these hogs from raping the people of california and VOTE YES ON 30!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 October, 2012, 15:20

    Look people,in southern california alone we have more millionaires than just about anywhere else in the nation, with L.A. coming in at No. 1, Orange County at No. 4, and San Diego ranking No. 6 in cities with the most seven-figure-plus households in 2010
    ==
    And MOST of those are hte homes of FF’s, cops and prison Guards!

    Reply this comment
  12. BobA
    BobA 22 October, 2012, 16:43

    Vote yes on 30 & 38. In fact, vote yes for every tax increase coming down the pike because taxes are to low in California and our state politicians are doing their best to tax& spend our state into prosperity. They need every nickel and dime they can squeeze out of us. It would be unpatriotic and downright selfish of us to object to our state government taking what they want from us and taxing the rest.

    Our public employees are underpaid, college tuition costs are to low, gasoline is under-taxed, sales tax are to low, businesses are under-taxed and under-regulated and welfare recipients are entitled to a middle-class income.

    Just because the old Soviet Union failed in building their utopia; just because European socialism is collapsing under its own weight because they’ve finally run out of other people’s money to spend doesn’t necessarily mean California’s trek down the same path will also end in failure.

    Misery and poverty is a good thing(?) if everyone one is equally miserable and equally poor.

    Reply this comment
  13. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 22 October, 2012, 16:55

    BobA says,
    Misery and poverty is a good thing(?) if everyone one is equally miserable and equally poor.
    ============
    That’s better than having a top 1% and the rest of the 99% getting screwed!!

    Reply this comment
  14. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 22 October, 2012, 17:01

    BobA says,
    They need every nickel and dime they can squeeze out of us. It would be unpatriotic and downright selfish of us to object to our state government taking what they want from us and taxing the rest.
    =========================
    Well Bob, the people of california demand,demand,and demand everything from the state gov’t, and all these things have to be paid for Bob. The way of life Californians enjoy and the top notch services they expect at the snap of their fingers just doesn’t come for free.YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!

    Reply this comment
  15. Bob
    Bob 22 October, 2012, 19:05

    Yup, vote yes on tax increases. Why?

    Well, someones gotta pay for a bullet train to nowhere.

    Someone’s gotta pay for the tuition and other expenses for illegal aliens attending college here.

    Someone’s gotta pay for public employee pensions that those in the private sector can only dream of.

    Someone’s gotta pay for all those useless commissions and boards whose members get paid 6 figure salaries plus benefits for meeting a few times a year.

    Sure Colliefornia (as Ahnode sez) already has the highest state sales tax in the country and no other state has a 9.3% marginal income tax rate that kicks in at only $48,200. And all the other taxes are in the stratosphere as well.

    But vote to increase them more.

    Why? Well someone’s gotta pay so it might as well be you.

    And besides you need to get used to higher taxes.

    You’re going to even be paying much higher taxes in the future.

    Just wait until cap-n-tax kicks in and the DemoNcrats get a two-thirds majority in the legislature.

    You think your taxes are high now? Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    Reply this comment
  16. SoHum Kids
    SoHum Kids 22 October, 2012, 19:53

    A yes vote for prop 30 ends cuts to the current public education funding. A yes vote for prop 38 brings in much needed additional funding for public education. A yes/yes vote for these propositions tells politicians that we intend to turn our failing public education system around and we are demanding logical, sufficient, and stable funding for public education. A yes/yes vote says that we are demanding real, systematic change in support of high quality K-12 Public Education. A yes/yes vote says that fundraising for everything from teachers to toilet paper in not the answer to fixing our Public Education in California.
    For more information and to join our united California voice for better education please visit http://www.educateourstate.org/

    Reply this comment
  17. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 22 October, 2012, 20:15

    Bob. Keep up the questions…

    Reply this comment
  18. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 October, 2012, 20:39

    Bob brings the smack down…..and the sad part-everything you listed is 100% true-I think if those ssues were cleared up we wouldn’t need a tax increase, and if we did it wouldn’t be much….

    Reply this comment
  19. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 22 October, 2012, 21:49

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    1 for 14 ™ ?

    Nah!

    Reply this comment
  20. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 October, 2012, 23:27

    198-0 BABY!

    Reply this comment
  21. BobA
    BobA 23 October, 2012, 08:20

    NTHEOC:

    I hope you realize that I was being sarcastic. I’ve met many liberals who actually believe every word of that diatribe and think socialism is superior to capitalism despite the overwhelming and indisputable fact that socialism is an abject failure everywhere it has been tried or currently in effect.

    People who think that way will never be happy until life in America is no different than life in Somalia or Bangladesh or some other godforsaken place on earth (i.e., North Korea). That’s their idea of equality and social justice.

    Reply this comment
  22. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 23 October, 2012, 08:58

    Bob we know your under belly is not on the rightie side….time to end your struggle….come out of the closet!

    Reply this comment

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