Ryan Chartrand

It seems in this season of presidential politics that little else matters other than talking points, campaign contributions and attack ads. One thing forgotten about, though, is the home front. Unless you are an astute political observer, you may not have noticed California is facing a $16 billion budget deficit. For those of you out there from the Soviet States of Southern California and the People’s Republic of San Francisco, this means the state is spending more than it is taking in, and I blame you.

If you or someone you know supported Proposition 98 in 1988 without also supporting Proposition 76 in 2005 to suspend and decrease education spending in times of budgetary hardship, I blame you.

If you are a Republican who compromised your values to elect Arnold Schwarzenegger in the recall of 2003 just because he was electable, I blame you.

If you are a state politician who only provides lip service to the people you represent and has done nothing to solve the problem, I blame you.

If you are a lemming who votes for elected officials because you like the promises they make to you, despite the fact that they have consistently broken those promises, I blame you.

If you voted against Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77 in 2005 because you are easily swayed by the propaganda of unions and bureaucrats, you are an idiot and I once again blame you.

Finally, if you are not outraged by the current state budget woes then I blame you.

For several years now, the state budget has been a problem and little has been done to solve it. The problem is largely structural in nature. This is largely due to constitutional requirements for spending in areas such as education.

These requirements force the state to increase spending when times are good, when more people use the services, and for changes in inflation. This is all fine and good, except when you pause for a moment to consider that there are no considerations of decreasing revenue in these requirements.

In cases such as these, the state has been forced to divert funding from other spending categories like transportation and levy protection to “the almighty classroom.” Don’t get me wrong, I love education and think it is an important priority.

However, if we look at the results of the increased spending, California has gone from the top 5 percent of schools to the bottom 5 percent of schools. Is throwing more money at the problem really helping? But I digress.

It is this type of budgetary problem that contributed to the recall of Governor Gray Davis. Many heralded Arnold as the savior of the state (for the record, I voted for McClintock).

They said he was going to come in and “terminate” all the problems. While he started strong, he let his ego get in the way and became more “moderate” after he failed to gain substantial reforms.

The state needed the reforms of Propositions 76 (state budget spending limits) and 77 (redistricting). Had either of these passed, the state would not be hurting as much, if at all.

Why might you ask? Politics, plain and simple. The politicians in power like to keep their power. They are not going to make spending cuts even if they are necessary because they don’t want to be seen as the “bad guy” when it comes to school, medical, police, fire, and prison spending.

The bottom line is our elected representatives are not beholden to “we the people.” They are beholden to the California Teachers Association, who went bankrupt fighting the governor in 2005’s reform efforts, just as they are beholden to the police and fire unions, the nurses’ unions, and the prison guards’ union.

These groups and others spend millions on the elections, seeing to it that they get more of the budget pie. When there isn’t enough to go around, they spend millions more seeing to it that their share is protected.

I can’t tell you what the solution is. I doubt a long-term solution will be found in the future, if at all.

Yes, I am cynical. Politicians will continue to spend like drunken sailors, unions will continue to fight for more money, and Californians will continue to be raped by the system.

It is a vicious circle that will continue to extend to the multiple sectors of California’s economy from housing, to agriculture and technology.

Until we, as citizens of California, stand up and say “no more,” Sacramento will continue to take more and more.

Who knows, maybe it is time for another recall. This time, though, could we kill the beast instead of just chopping off one head only to have three more sprout up?

Ian Nachreiner is an agriculture science senior and a Mustang Daily conservative columnist.

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