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Vote 'no' on narcissistic propositions

Posted: April 26, 2009 10:52 p.m.
Updated: April 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.
In ancient Roman mythology, a beautiful youth named Narcissus spurned the love of a nymph named Echo, who consoled herself by pining away in barren glens until only her voice remained. Sounds rather like a Republican in Sacramento.

Anyway, Narcissus is cursed by a god who hears Echo's pain. Narcissus sees his reflection in a pool and becomes instantly enamored with the image. He eventually realizes that he is in love with a mere image of himself and he can never find true happiness. Sort of like a Democrat in Sacramento.

Of course, the myth of Narcissus is where we get the modern term "narcissist," meaning an individual who is incredibly self-absorbed. And, of course, this self-centered view of the world can lead ultimately to destruction.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, belief that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by others of lofty stature, a lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, and selfishness by taking advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

And then it hit me. Our state and, specifically, our elected representatives, are suffering from NPD. That can be the only explanation for the insane propositions that have emerged from the capital's hallowed halls.

Let's start with Proposition 1A. According to the ballot description, 1A would "limit future deficits and spending by increasing of the state ‘rainy day fund' and requiring above-average revenues to be deposited into it." Proponents say this will control spending in Sacramento and bring order out of chaos. Sounds like "preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success."

One thing the proponents don't mention is that the cap increases with increased revenues. If the Legislature increases taxes, the spending cap goes up. How is that a cap?

Also, recent tax increases enacted by the Legislature will remain in place for two more years if 1A passes. This is a tax increase, something our governor and many representatives said they would never support. I guess little people like us simply can't understand how great people like them make these types of decisions.

Proposition 1B takes $9 billion out of the rainy-day fund and gives it to education. Wait a minute. Wasn't the rainy-day fund supposed to be used somehow to control spending? Why is it being immediately spent?

There can only be one reason - 1B is a payoff to the teacher's unions by the Legislature to get the unions to support this terrible package. 1B takes advantage of the relative weakness of the people of California to stop a public employee union from achieving its own selfish ends.

Narcissism wins again.

Propositions 1C, 1D and 1E all funnel money away from programs that were voted into place by other propositions voted into place by the voters of California.

Proposition 1C will borrow money from future lottery sales and put it into the general fund. Wasn't that money supposed to go to schools? Does this make sense in light of the $9 billion that 1B is giving back to education? Apparently, it does to Sacramento in some twisted way that is far above our common understanding.

Proposition 1D diverts money from the tobacco tax for children's health care. Proposition 1E diverts money from the special tax on the wealthy to fund better mental health care. I guess Sacto does not care much for the health of children nor the mentally ill.
But here is the kicker - as the election gets closer and it becomes apparent that these propositions are going down to defeat, television ads will declare that these props are "for the children" and opposing them is "mean-spirited" and hateful. You watch. It will happen.

This lack of empathy for kids and the mentally ill is astounding. All for the sake of avoiding their fiscal responsibility and delivering a truly balanced budget, the legislature is willing to sacrifice the weak and "less significant."

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass recently proposed a $500,000 pay increase for legislative staff members. This may have been understandable if the staffers were secretaries making $22K per year. Unfortunately, a majority of the target recipients were making $150-170K per year. Apparently Ms. Bass felt that she was entitled to give your tax money away to already well-compensated Sacramento hacks. NPD rears its ugly head once again.

Hopefully, our legislators will soon stop looking in the mirror and find solutions that are correct for the state of California. As voters, we have a simple solution to narcissism. Vote NO on Propositions 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right About Now" runs Mondays in The Signal.


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