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Andre Hollings: There is a better way for California

Right Here, Right Now

Posted: November 12, 2009 8:28 p.m.
Updated: November 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.
This past Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger estimated that on top of the existing $7.4 billion budget shortfall projected for fiscal year 2010-11, California will suffer a budget gap of $5 billion to $7 billion this fiscal year.

If accurate, California would then be burdened with a minimum of a $12.4 billion to $14.4 billion budget deficit when the governor unveils his budget this January, according to the Sacramento Bee.

These forecasts are partially fueled by a $1 billion budget lag in state tax revenues for the first three months of the current fiscal year, the Bee reports.  

From every perspective, the gradual, painful decline that is eclipsing the California dream for so many shows no quick abatement.
Yet, there is certain future hope. A hope amidst hard, sometimes agonizing, choices but one within reach. However, before that future hope is realized we must first understand what that hope is not.

Summarily, it is not continuing with Hubert Humphrey’s ideology that boasts: “emancipation — emancipation from one’s fears, his inadequacies, from prejudice, from discrimination ... from poverty.” Put differently, our hope is in breaking the ideological grip, which ideology vice president Humphrey called liberalism, that has pushed California to the tipping point.  

Objectively speaking, the costs of nearly four decades of Hubert Humphrey’s ideological hold on Sacramento are undeniable: State pension funds among the world’s largest (namely CalPERS and CalSTRS); state spending growing twice as fast as inflation and population growth since 2005, according to the Washington Post; a more than 25 percent increase in the state’s workforce since 1997 and the like.

All of which are fueled by the nation’s highest state sales tax, the second highest personal income tax and the highest corporate tax rate in the West, despite California having a private sector job growth rate since 2000 that is nearly 20 percent below the national average.

Amid boasting that government can be all things to all men, liberalism has actually proven otherwise — and in the process — harmed those that it sought to redeem.  

Despite the damage to the California dream — best exemplified by California trailing only “liberal New York in the number of outward-bound moving vans” observes George F. Will — restoration is within reach.

This alternative path aims not for “streamlining government or in making it more efficient” but to “reduce its size.” Not to “inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones ... that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden.”

For those Democrats and Independents seeking a better future, Barry Goldwater’s words show forth that alternative path.  
A path that understands that the more you tax something, the less you get of it. Note California’s private sector job growth rate and the near top rate of “outward-bound moving vans” as proof.

A path that understands that bigger government is not better government. Note California’s bloated state workforce and budget, and then eye its dwindling and transient private sector.

A path that understands that erecting a “safety net” for some on the backs of many will eventually hurt all. Note CalPERS and CalSTRS pension demands that inevitably impose excessive financial burdens on the state; which, it then shifts to us in the form of ever-higher taxes.  

Fundamentally, this alternative path — center-right Republicanism — understands that freedom still underlies any progress and prosperity of man.

There is no economic freedom for man, or even economic efficiency, if his pursuits are bound by political or state demands.

Furthermore, all men, for the maximizing of their individual good and societal good, are rightly responsible for their own development. Be it personal, economic, spiritual or otherwise, man’s good cannot be dictated to by outside forces that are foreign to his individual and inmost needs.    

With liberalism’s costs evident to all, rationality and hope demand new Republican majorities in the assembly and state senate in 2010.

I have failed to meet a liberal who can give me an honest and rational reason for not affixing guilt to liberalism for California’s condition. Like you, not being blind to the effects, I cannot help but see the cause that only rabid partisanship could ignore.

The bottom line for me is that being a California Republican has cemented President Ronald Reagan’s credibility.

And California Democrats and Independents alike must too admit that: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”  

Andre Hollings is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Right Here Right Now appears Friday in The Signal and rotates among local Republicans.


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