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Brian Baker: We are ‘Greeceifornia’

Posted: May 17, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 17, 2012 1:55 a.m.

If the states are, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis described them, “laboratories of democracy,” then California is the pre-eminent example in this country of the pitfalls and perils of socialism run amok.

It’s no secret that this state has been swirling the financial drain for many years now, spinning in a maelstrom of red ink. Massive deficits, accompanied by soaring taxes and Draconian regulatory burdens, have joined to drive out productive people and the companies that employ them. This state has about 14 percent (about one-seventh) of the nation’s population, and about one-third of its welfare recipients. About 25 percent of the country’s illegal aliens live here.

We have among the highest state and local tax burdens in the country. We rank sixth in state and local tax burden per capita, but bear in mind that large percentage of people on welfare and the illegal aliens. If you factor them out, we’d be even higher on that list.

We rank at No. 48 in state business tax climate, being better than only New York and New Jersey. We have the highest sales taxes in the country; we have the second-highest gasoline taxes, bested only by New York by a mere half-cent per gallon.

The Democrats rule this state with an iron fist, and their GOP opposition is composed for the most part of a bunch of, shall we say, “moderates” (to put it kindly). All you have to do is look to our former Governator to see an embodiment of the problem there.

Those same Democrats are owned by the unions of both government workers and the private sector. The government-worker unions alone have managed to burden this state with wage levels and benefit costs that are bankrupting us, and there’s absolutely no effort among the ruling elites to do anything whatsoever to address that problem.

For years, we’ve had annual deficits that have been in the tens of billions of dollars. Yet, somehow, in spite of that, current Gov. Jerry Brown and his minions have found the money to enact the state Dream Act to fund the educations of illegal immigrants and to proceed with a high-speed train to nowhere that’s going to cost in excess of $100 billion, according to the best estimates.

In what shouldn’t surprise anyone, Brown released a statement May 12 that our budget shortfall this year is $9.2 billion more than projected, for a total of about a $16 billion shortfall.

It seems that “tax collections have not come in as high as expected, and the economy isn’t growing as fast as hoped for,” according to Brown.

I guess that’s what happens when you scare all the productive people out of the state with confiscatory taxes and punitive regulations coupled with insane spending priorities.

So, what’s the latest solution to our problems being proposed by Brown and the rest of the socialists — er, I mean — Democrats? If you guessed “more taxes,” you win a one-way ticket to Athens, Greece — not Georgia. (Well, not really. But you get the point.)

We have two competing ballot propositions coming up that would raise taxes. Brown’s would raise income and sales taxes (and remember, our sales taxes are already the highest in the country); the competing ballot would only raise income taxes.

Brown threatens that failure to enact his proposition will “force severe cuts to schools and public safety.”

Notice how these “failures” to pass tax increases never “force severe cuts” to funding for illegal immigrants or bullet trains to nowhere or pay increases and outrageous benefits to government union workers or anything like that.

No, we’ve got plenty of money for those things, somehow.

The hypocrisy, ineptitude, cynicism and downright turpitude pile up so fast that you need wings to stay above it. This is government failure on a massive scale.

We are Greeceifornia.

Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.


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