I like to watch the business/news show called Varney & Company. They combine a little political news and a breakdown of the market news that starts each day. Varney brings in knowledgeable people who understand both the market and investment ideas. Varney gives me a head start on the day. But one thing has been bothering me lately. Whenever they talk about the dire straits of the U.S. economy they end it with a comment something like, “If we keep on this course we will end up like the formerly Golden State of California. California is broke and failing to take steps to solve their issues.”
I guess we deserve it. We did elect Jerry Brown governor after having seen him make a mess of the state years ago. When you talk about the problem of Public
Employee Unions, you can thank then-Governor Jerry Brown for their current
power over the elections. There was also a discussion several years ago about what to do with an overflow of cash into the state during the dot-com spike in tax receipts. There was some talk about a onetime refund to the citizens, but it was
quickly disregarded and instead we spent it in such a way so as to increase the
base of the budget going forward. We in California are not new to this idea of letting the government run all over us. So, let’s face it, we have no one to blame
but ourselves for our current financial mess.
Good news. In the coming election we have an opportunity to start the process of regaining control over our state government. Proposition 32 would take power away from two of the major impact players who have contributed to the downturn of our once prosperous state. Prop 32 would place restrictions on both Corporations and Public Sector Unions ability to bring huge sums of cash to the political table.
Here are a couple interesting facts gleaned from the Yes on 32 website:
- 79 percent of campaign donations come from donors outside the legislator’s district according to MapLight.org
- $89 million dollars were contributed in the 2010 elections by Business Associations and Unions to the political process
- More than $35 million was spent by corporate contributions
- AT&T contributed to every state legislator
- BSNF Rail spent $295,000 contributing to 75 percent of the legislators
- PG&E spent $480,000 giving to 72 percent of the races in 2010
When legislators are receiving that kind of money how much impact do you think you make with the $25 to $100 contribution most of us make? It may not be the contribution influencing the legislator, but the thought of all that money being used against them in a reelection campaign. If you are a successful politician you understand the difference money makes.
California is being bought and paid for by groups with interests which don’t necessarily match with its citizens. Maybe there is a reason our schools have not been repaired. Have you wondered why the state would allow the utilities to put remote boxes on our homes so they could cut off the electricity or monitor when you are using the power you pay for? Why are private companies being allowed to build toll roads when we already pay gas taxes which were set up to pay for highways and improvements? Why, when we are next to an ocean are there water shortages in California? Seems to me that it does not make much difference if you are a Liberal or a Conservative; your personal needs are being rejected in favor of special interest needs.
In November, we are going to get a chance to start taking back the State.
How much difference would it make if citizens were the critical difference on who ran for office? What if citizens directed the choices of where our money would be spent? How much better would our state be if a legislator feared the citizens more than they feared the special interest people when deciding how to vote? All these things could happen if the legislators were held accountable by the people in their district. It is not too late for California.
My general rule is to always vote against any proposition since they are usually sponsored by a special interest group. In this case, I’m supporting Proposition 32 with the hope it will make a difference.