WASHINGTON MONUMENT STRATEGY
by Virginia Postrel • Jul 8, 2003 at 11:53 am
The Long Beach Press-Telegram is spitting mad about the spreading meme that Californians must choose between higher taxes and no basic services:
Read the whole thing.
Riffing off an LAT article, CalPundit illustrates the mentality that led to this mess. Every feel-good idea becomes politically untouchable, and every program is assumed to a) achieve its goals and b) be the only way to achieve its goals. His favorite, and mine, is the $50/month payment to blind people for dog food: "[Republicans are] proposing to eliminate dog food for blind people? I can see the TV ads already." Now think about that. Sure, blind people may need dog food. But they need shampoo, deodorant, electricity, and computer equipment too. Does every need require a special--and untouchable--appropriation? Isn't that what disability payments are for?
This attitude doesn't just protect nice-sounding programs to support dogs and blind people. It also protects the powerful prison-guard lobby. Deny them anything and you'll see crime running rampant. Who could be against more money for prison guards?
The Reason Public Policy Institute has a special website section devoted to the California budget crisis here.
I'm now going home to Texas, where there's no income tax and they still build roads to handle the traffic.
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