California Dreamin' Over?

Includes: CMF, CXA, PWZ
by: Matthew Rafat

The Guardian has a somber story on California's decline here. Read it and weep. And then do something about it. Here's a short "To-Do" list:

1. Do not pass any more propositions that require taxpayer funds. In the alternative, make sure you read the actual text of any proposed laws/propositions before you vote in favor of them. If you can't understand a proposition's actual language, vote against it. Force legislators to use plain language statutes.

2. Do not allow the state government to get bigger--it's big enough already. If you don't believe me, look here and here.

3. Whenever someone starts talking about California's so-called education crisis, remind them about Proposition 98. Prop 98 requires California to use a large portion of the growth in General Fund revenues for K-14 education. Basically, Prop 98 forces California to use at least a certain percentage of its revenue for education, even if California needs funding for other projects, and even if it constrains funding for other portions of the state's budget. Prop 98 passed (barely) with a 50.7% vote and amended the state Constitution, Article 16, Section 8. Here's subsection (a):

From all state revenues there shall first be set apart the moneys [sic] to be applied by the State for support of the public school system and public institutions of higher education.

Read that Constitutional provision carefully, and don't ever let anyone whine about California education--not only are the kids set, the Constitution puts them first in line for money. And if any government employee--including a teacher--starts whining about pay, remind him/her that state employees' pensions and health care benefits are helping bankrupt the California.

Side note: it's not like government workers, including teachers, are going to be destitute if we cut their medical benefits and reduce their pensions--CalPERS already has almost $200 billion for state workers' pensions. Yes, that's "billion" with a "b." Guess who paid all that money? If you work in the private sector and paid taxes, you did. Do you have a pension, a relatively safe job, and the possibility of lifetime medical benefits? I'm just sayin'.

4. Stop trying to divide the state by race or immigration status. We're all in this together. No one's going to be happy if we try to deport millions of people, because mass deportation would require us to separate mothers from their American-born kids. It won't happen anyway, so what's the point of bad-mouthing your neighbors? Turn your attention to helping everyone assimilate, regardless of race.

5. Spend your money on local businesses. Use to separate the wheat from the chaff.

6. If you're really brave, consider a Treasury Note or a California bond. These investments will hurt you if inflation hits, but some of the bonds are yielding more than average money market rates.

That's all for now. Vaya con dios. We may need divine intervention to help get us out of this mess, but we'll get through it.