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F. Andre Hollings: The failure of Liberalism in California and beyond

Right Here, Right Now

Posted: June 11, 2009 6:51 p.m.
Updated: June 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Amidst wallowing in the nirvana granted by the all but divine investiture of Barack Obama, liberals have seemingly abandoned a key element of democracy: dissent.

Rather than fashioning an intellectually honest and respectful bipartisan relationship with President Obama, Republicans have been instructed to disregard our philosophical differences and glib-fully submit to the victor's ("I won") will.

Be it from the leftist talking-heads of MSNBC, Barney Frank and the like, the epithets of "obstructionist," "out-of-step" and the triumphant liberal gaze that assumes that - as a Republican - you "don't get it" have been the rods muffling dissent since the Age of Obama dawned upon humanity.

This ideology presumes that America's economic downturn is so uniquely grave that to oppose the agenda of this president is to disregard the will and judgment of the American people.

Accordingly, dissent - or "the spirit of resistance to government" that Jefferson thought "so valuable" - is not welcomed.

Yet as with personality-based ideologies, disregard of the facts is at the heart of this "Washington knows best" culture.

Only a blatant negligence toward truth would allow President Obama to pursue his unprecedented fiscal giveaway while the world's eighth largest economy - California - is being suffocated by the same type of far-left fiscal policies that he is pushing for the rest of America.

Getting down to brass tacks, California Democrats and Republicans alike are burdened by the highest corporate tax rate in the West, the nation's second-highest individual income tax rate, one of the nation's most severe tax rates on small businesses and the nation's highest sales tax rate.

From there, California stands as arguably the most taxed state in the Union. So sans a revenue problem, how could Sacramento create the financial crisis that is killing us?

Sketching it roughly, Sacramento has infinitely enlarged government beyond critical functions, thereby, necessitating spending far beyond what its vast treasury allows.

Measuring spending increases vis-a-vis the rate of population plus inflation growth, since 1999, spending has outpaced population plus inflation growth by nearly 2 percent, according to Reason Foundation policy analyst Adam Summers.

That percentage is reflected in the near doubling of state spending since 1999, follows Summers.

That increase necessitated the creation of a ballooning bureaucracy that employs 356,000 people.

Similarly, the last decade has seen federal spending outpace inflation by an annual average of 3 percent, according to Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl.

That outpacing is set to skyrocket given that President Obama's 2010 budget will deepen the federal deficit by $2.3 trillion more over 10 years than he has claimed, say analysts at the CBO.

That 3-percent difference also reflects a doubling of federal spending in the last 10 years despite the decade's precarious ebb and flow in federal-tax revenue, by Heritage Foundation calculations.

All of that helped to spawn our $1.3 trillion deficit.

From that deficit, the president printed and borrowed his way to conjuring up a $787 billion "stimulus" package.

Remember that 46 cents of every federal dollar spent is borrowed.

Without thinking twice, President Obama is now pushing to fund a radical overhaul of health care, finance a massive revamping of U.S. energy policy, bankroll a spent auto industry and more, backed by decreased federal revenue in 2009.

For California, the prevailing fiscal policy has been one of blind spending, wide-eyed borrowing and exhausting taxation.

And despite evidence that liberal fiscal addiction has crippled California, President Obama has quickened Washington's sprint down that path.

With that said, my fellow Republicans - and those Democrats and Independents seeking a better future - it is time to wrest our state's future from Sacramento's far left agenda.

Let the May 19 ballot victories be a lesson to us: California's recovery will occur when the movement that elevated Reagan to victory in '80 wrests our state from this suffocating liberal hegemony.

That demands electing politicians who will force fiscal restraint upon Sacramento.

From there, with representatives and senators who understand that for Californians government has not been the solution but has been the problem, we can bring fiscal maturity to Washington and stand athwart the liberal, bankrupt history that Obama wants to create.

F. Andre Hollings is a Newhall resident and on the board of the Santa Clarita Valley Republican Assembly. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right Here, Right Now" appears Fridays in The Signal and rotates among local Republican writers.


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