Friday’s Los Angeles Times brings news that the California legislature casting its fiscal eye on the various designated funds in the state. A little fund-raiding in order to keep up with GOP no-new-tax theology. Sure sounds familiar. In fact we could give it a name:
Like other CEOs of the time, Engler and the GOP tapped the funds in our state. Apply a little actuarial grease and legerdemain voilá, free money. Except that as we know, it wasn’t free. In fact, it illustrated the same phenomena we have seen in the mortgage bust — you just go ahead and borrow from the capital side (in housing, that’s your home equity), all to support your spending habit.
And like the mortgage crisis, we now face the bill. The anti-tax theology enshrined by the Engler machine and its high priests in Midland has fueled a decade of budget tricks and gimmicks, and was the prime driver for last year’s budget meltdown. The fund raids of the 90s only set up an expectation of free money, and so eroded the fiscal responsibility that once was the hallmark of both parties.
Our current crop of Republican representatives, and representative wannabes shows them still acolytes of this theology: Linda Steil, Tom Pearce, Dan Tietema, Justin Amash, and of course Dave Hildenbrand. Collectively they are a vote for more of the same gridlock. As long as they worship at the altar of Midland, they will fail to provide the leadership their (Republican) constituents deserve — and the leadership that could be an effective dialogue partner for the Democrats.
So Ahnold? No! This is that first hit of crack. The pain of acting like an adult is real, the penalty for getting addicted is a continued drain on your state. Trust us. We’ve been there.