Rolling Stone on Jerry Brown: Best Governor or Bestest Governor Ever?

Gov. Brown's autobiography just found a ghost-writerCredit: Neon Tommy / Foter / CC BY-SARolling Stone writer Tim Dickinson appears to have recently been embedded in California Gov. Jerry Brown’s public affairs office and returned to tell us all how absolutely awesome he is and how all Democrats should learn from his lessons and California’s “miracle” recovery.

If the subject sounds familiar, it is. Dickinson’s piece is awfully similar to David Dayen’s New Republic piece back in January. I hit Dayen hard at the time for assuming the Golden State’s recovery based on its own projections of future revenue, not on reality.

So how did reality turn out? Here’s how Dickinson describes Brown’s management of the state’s economic crisis:

Just two years ago, the idea that California could be a global model for anything was laughable. When Brown took office, the state was staggered by double-digit unemployment, a $26 billion deficit and an accumulated "wall of debt" topping $35 billion. California was a punch line for Republican politicos – a cautionary tale, they said, of the fate that awaits the nation should it embrace Left Coast-style economic, social and environmental liberalism. On the campaign trail in 2012, Mitt Romney joked that "America is going to become like Greece, or like Spain, or Italy, or like . . . California."

But in astonishingly short order, America's shrewdest elder statesmen blazed a best-worst way out of California's economic morass. With a stiff cocktail of budget cuts and hard-won new taxes, Brown has not only zeroed out the deficit, he's also begun paying down the debt. "Jerry Brown's leadership is a rebuttal to the failed policies of Republicans in Washington," says Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. "California is proving you can have sane tax systems, raise revenues, eliminate structural deficits and have economic growth."

Fed up with the state's own obstructionist Republicans, California voters have even given Brown a Democratic supermajority in the state legislature. As a result, the Golden State is now reasserting itself as a proving ground for the kind of bold ideas that Republicans have roadblocked in Washington – including a cap-and-trade carbon market, high-speed rail and education-funding reform.

Some of the highest taxes in the country apparently counts as “sane taxes” -- and yes, at one point the story blames Proposition 13 on California’s problems, as required by every progressively-leaning piece on the state’s finances.

We’ll give Dickinson (and Brown, of course) credit for waiting until there are actual numbers to support the claims of California’s improvement. But note that I’m using the words “improvement” not “recovery.” When you’re living on the street, a move into a homeless shelter is an improvement. It’s not a recovery.

The governor’s tactics have brought some short-term fiscal stability to California. As the governor himself has pointed out, the state will need to maintain discipline to pay down that massive debt. Dickinson notes an unexpected boost in state revenue in the spring from capital gains taxes. But it’s a mistake to look at that small set of numbers and declare a trend. The latest numbers from the state controller’s office (pdf) show the state bringing in $270 million dollars less income tax than they projected and budgeted for in July, largely because of folks accelerating their capital gains last year to avoid those tax increases that are supposed to save the state.

Dickinson completely glosses over the serious troubles with the rail program, vaguely referring to the court battle but not even bothering to analyze the claims that the program voters approved is not the project Brown and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are putting forward. Presumably Dickinson wrote the piece before the recent judge’s ruling casting doubt on the project’s future, but he spares little more than a glance at the train’s very serious problems.

Similarly, Dickinson fails to provide any sort of critical analysis when praising Brown for embracing the Affordable Care Act:

California also made headlines this spring when it unveiled sample rates for individuals in its new insurance exchange, which will serve up to another 5 million residents. Many had predicted sticker shock as premiums adjusted to cover Obamacare's expanded benefits. Instead, the increases were modest and plans affordable. Even before federal subsidies, 25-year-olds can get coverage for $141 a month; 40-year-olds for $219. The system is working, health advocates say, because California used its bargaining power to force insurers to offer uniform products and compete on price. "We held insurers' feet to the fire," bragged Peter Lee, the governor's executive director for California's insurance exchange.

Great! Wait, how much does it cost now for those insurance plans? Ah, see, there’s the rub. These are, indeed, price increases, as was noted back in May by those who don’t simply accept what they’re told.

There’s more to criticize in Dickinson’s piece, but I’ll settle for noting one glaring omission – the same sin committed by the New Republic and many progressives declaring California has recovered: absolutely no mention of California’s pension debts and obligations This money, billions of it, is separate from the “wall of debt” Brown is referring to. Government employee pensions threaten to consume the tax increase supporters all claim is going to be used for schools.  The word “pension” is not uttered in Dickinson’s report at all. No comprehensive state fiscal analysis – not just California, but any state – should be treated seriously if it doesn’t at least touch on the state’s pension obligations. Doing so might poke a great big hole not only in any claims of California’s recovery, but also in the entire progressive defense of the state, as it involves taking aim at the state’s powerful, entrenched union interests and massive, uncontrolled, unaccountable bureaucracy – beyond just the police and prison unions.

Back in April, Steven Greenhut explained how big government and more taxes most assuredly have not “saved” California.

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  • Rich||

    absolutely no mention of California’s pension debts and obligations

    "Annnnnnnd it's gone."

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's like saying a pitcher is great and has led a turnaround without noting that he's been on the DL all season.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Yep. And per Moody's new standards, the UAAL has more than doubled to $329 billion.

    Two choices - Inflation or bankruptcy. What's it going to be people?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Bailout.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I think it will be bailout in the form of inflation as the feds are in the same boat.

  • Pro Libertate||

    My tummy doesn't feel so good.

  • JW||

    Too venal to fail!

  • Raston Bot||

    Moody's has new standards that managed to increase California's UAAL? Then they should expect a federal lawsuit soon for colluding with banks to sell over-valued MBS to pension funds.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Don't hold your breath.

  • Slammer||

    Dammit, I went to the Rolling Stones comments. Why do I do that to myself?

  • Brandon||

    MK • 2 days ago −
    California's been down a few times. They've been writing the obituary for as long as I can remember. You wanna live here? Do business here? You got to pay for the privilege, and you got to respect it. That's the way it should be everywhere -- if you cant do that... bounce. Texas? Low taxes, no regulations. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I trust Jerry Brown -- I could care less what the haters say.

    But it's totally not a cult of personality at all.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's weird that a cult of personality would form around Moonbeam, since he doesn't seem to have a personality that I can discern.

  • tarran||

    That's the best kind of cult-leader!

    The followers are given a blank slate upon which to project their innermost desires. Every member of the cult sees something different.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Yeah, but it doesn't take much to start a cult in California.

  • anon||

    Ahahahahaha, some of you fuckers actually live in Cali. Sucks to be you!

  • ||

    I trust Jerry Brown

    This shit is, I swear, some form of Stockholm Syndrome. The sheep have thrown their lot in with the parasites, and now have only one psychological choice: total acceptance. Anything else will break their brains, what little they have.

  • anon||

    When you have absolutely no concept of basic economics, it's really easy to be a TEAM player.

  • Irish||

    California's been down a few times. They've been writing the obituary for as long as I can remember. You wanna live here? Do business here? You got to pay for the privilege, and you got to respect it. That's the way it should be everywhere -- if you cant do that... bounce. Texas? Low taxes, no regulations. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I trust Jerry Brown -- I could care less what the haters say.

    Yeah. Why would anyone prefer to live in Texas over California?

  • Slammer||

    This clown is the absolute worst, almost Shriek-like:

    George Schmitt krinks • 3 days ago −
    Well you've got it an entirely new lie from the cristo- facist right. Schools go broke because you don't want to pay your fair share to educate our kids, no matter what race or religion they are. The hospitals are going broke because of the broken health care system that Obama is about to fix. You are against anything that would help. Go to your fundie meeting and tell them that they may want social security some day and medicare too..Oh No!! Your rich enough to buy your own Cadillac health care and private schools for your kids, and a big trust fund to retire in luxury? Am I close? By the way the workers produce wealth, the businessmen spend it.

  • Raston Bot||

    It's everyone else's fault.

    Pathetic.

  • John||

    They have to have a scapegoat. The ideology is never wrong. It only fails because of wreckers, saboteurs and not having the right people in charge.

  • AlexInCT||

    Sounds like the shit the marxists say to excuse the failure of all collectivist systems...

  • Killazontherun||

    Do business here? You got to pay for the privilege, and you got to respect it.

    Someone needs to check their privilege with a strong dose of this:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Doesn't sound like he cares much for the protection of the law to apply equally to me if I have to 'pay to play' to do business there.

  • wareagle||

    wasn't there an article earlier on Reason about the state of journalism? Perhaps Dickinson is one more example of the industry's self-inflicted collapse.

  • Hyperion||

    OT, but more important. Has anyone got that intersteallar ship, the Libertopia 1, ready for flight yet?

    40 light years to establish Libertaria

  • Hyperion||

    Maybe it will cool a little by the time we arrive, or we can take a big AC.

  • anon||

    When we can provide enough energy to power a warp drive, we'll easily be able to control global temperatures.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Fold space? I saw that movie and it didn't turn out well.

  • Aloysious||

    Did you sew your eyes shut?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I didn't need them where I was going.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's obvious the space libertarians from another planet landed there 100 years ago and heated it up with carbon emissions.

  • Hyperion||

    It's obviously too close to it's sun. We'll have to back it off a little.

    The other issue is the mass, not sure how we deal with the increased gravity...

  • KDN||

    More squats, obviously. I'm sure dunphy could handle it.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Japanese astronomers used the Subaru telescope

    At last, an all wheel drive telescope.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Jerry Brown's leadership is a rebuttal to the failed policies of Republicans in Washington," says Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress.

    Well, if the CAP says it, that's good enough for me.

  • ||

    The word “pension” is not uttered in Dickinson’s report at all.

    Does...does this surprise you somehow? Reality is irrelevant. The only thing that matters are words. And Moonbeam said soothing words to the reporter, who then says soothing words to Rolling Stone's readers. And now everything is fine. Don't you understand how TEAM BLUE works?

  • John||

    Go back and read what they were saying about Detroit ten or 20 years ago. It was the same shit. Detroit was going to come back. This new mayor really saved the place. "Recovering" to these people means staving off inevitable bankruptcy for another year or two.

    California is going to go bankrupt. It is not a question of if but when. And these people are going to lie to themselves and the world about it right up until the moment it happens. Think about it, just last summer Mitt Romney was an out of touch idiot for even suggesting that Obama hadn't saved Detroit. The same thing will play out with California.

  • Irish||

    Mitt Romney was also an out of touch idiot for saying Russia was a geopolitical rival and that extreme Islamists were taking control of northern Mali.

    God, that guy was such a rube. Thank God we reelected the Light Bringer and the Middle East was saved.

  • John||

    And he also put out that lie that terrorists killed the Ambassador in Bengazi. Good thing Candy Crowley was there to debase him of that idea.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think when Romney and Obama were arguing over 'Detroit' they meant the Big Three Automakers.

  • John||

    They meant "Detroit" as in the city as well as the automakers.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I do not think many people took it that way. Look at Romney's column that generated much of the controversy, it was clearly about the automakers. It is common parlance to refer to 'Detroit' when talking about the Big Three.

  • John||

    Sure they didn't. That is why Detroit going bankrupt didn't surprise anyone. Ah, no. They were talking about the city. And the city is just as dead today as it was then.

  • AlexInCT||

    ",iI do not think many people took it that way"

    Progressives sure as hell wouldn't like to look at it that way. That is, they would prefer you think they were not pretending Detroit was imploding but that they were talking about car manufacturers instead, because having egg on your face, and then so soon after they huffed and puffed about Detroit being on the way back, kind of sucks.

  • FYTW||

    Tiresome pedant is tiresome.

  • Hyperion||

    I don't believe that 'sooner of later you run out of other peoples money' has ever been, or ever will be, proven wrong.

  • Hyperion||

    or

  • Killazontherun||

    Detroit is alive a ghost town, Osama is dead a martyr in a religion that strongly values martyrdom.

  • Invisible Finger||

    And these people are going to lie to themselves and the world about it right up until the moment it happens.

    And like Detroit they'll keep up with the same lie afterwards, too.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I love how Californians think not collapsing yet is proof that everything is groovy and will be forever. The same flawed logic is used for the country as a whole, of course, but the looming cliff is much closer for California in particular.

    Do you think the California government is banking on a federal bailout of some sort? I get that feeling.

  • John||

    Staving off bankruptcy now counts as an economic and political miracle.

  • ||

    Of course they're hoping for a bailout. They're California, and therefore too big to fail, right?

    It's all irrelevant, though. The politicians will continue to do anything and everything possible to kick this can down the road. You'll be stunned by how long they will be able to draw this out.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm already stunned. Where's Lex Luthor when you need him?

  • John||

    At the federal level they will draw it out a very long time since they can print their own money and have a few thousand nuclear weapons backing up their ability to borrow. California doesn't have that luxury.

    I honestly can't understand how the credit markets haven't turned on California. What kind of a nut would buy a California bond without some kind of premium interest rate? It makes me wonder if the Fed isn't doing some kind of under the radar bailout by buying the bonds.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It makes me wonder if the Fed isn't doing some kind of under the radar bailout by buying the bonds.

    Of course they are, what debt haven't they bought? All the more reason for an audit.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Yep, the Fed will start buying state and muni bonds. Then the states will start issuing bonds like crazy.

    And it won't change a thing other than the velocity.

  • Robert||

    Nuclear weapons? As in, lend us money or we'll blow you up?

  • John||

    Yes. That is about what we are reduced to these days.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The problem - the pseudo-recovery - is described most often by the elites or by the poor (or more often the "advocates" for the poor). So you get a biased and totally inaccurate description.

    NEITHER of these sides hangs with the working class. They are either academia, politicians/TOP MEN, or wanna-be-in-those-groups.

    It's been a long time since I've been to SF, but I don't think there is a working-class in the city proper, maybe some Chinese but they are ignored. Yes, there are 20 and 30-somethings making working-class wages, but they are usually single and all of them are looking for jobs in academia or in the public sector.

    The FORMER 20-and 30-somthings that were stuck in menial jobs making middle-class wages moved out of the city and are never heard from again for these articles. And they're 40+ now and unhip.

  • Gray Ghost||

    What is their biggest line item, ProL? Isn't it legacy health care costs? And aren't those exactly those sorts of things states are supposed to be off-loading to the Feds in the new O'Care exchanges? I think they'll get a bailout, but it'll be stealthy and federal.

  • anon||

    The only thing that matters are words.

    "And those only matter when my other words say they matter! And even then, only sometimes, when it sounds like really good, you know?"

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Fed up with the state's own obstructionist Republicans, California voters have even given Brown a Democratic supermajority in the state legislature. As a result, the Golden State is now reasserting itself as a proving ground for the kind of bold ideas that Republicans have roadblocked in Washington – including a cap-and-trade carbon market, high-speed rail and education-funding reform.

    The road to Hell is paved with the bleached skulls of obstructionist Republicans!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Bold ideas? Fuck, "bold ideas" aren't solutions. It's just some phrase: "bold ideas." Hitler had "bold ideas." How did that work out for him and Germany?

    If the left would just accept that reality exists and has to be accounted for, it would be a tremendous improvement.

  • John||

    Progs haven't come up with a new idea in 80 years. They peddle the same shit and the same solutions now that they did in the 1930s. That is bad enough. But what is worse is that they do so while forever claiming to be the party of the new and the bold. Nothing says cutting edge like the ideas of Woodrow Wilson.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's older than that. Roman politicians used to throw similar populist shit at the population. That resulted in a mob that had to be placated and had no small role in the collapse of the republican system. But, by all means, let's prove that we're different.

  • John||

    The same thing happened in France. The terror was nothing but the government stepping in to assert control over the mob by conducting the mob's violence for it.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Bear in mind that Bastiat already had socialists' number in 1850.

  • ||

    So instead of learning that this is the automatic and perpetual result of government, you still keep pipe dreaming that "if we could just do it right!" will work.

    You sorta sound like a progressive, ProL. If we just had the right TOP MEN to write our rules and give us a Censor, everything would work great! It just hasn't been done right yet!

  • Pro Libertate||

    No.

  • ||

    Actually, it's exactly what you sound like.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Do not.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Naw Epi you're just fucking stupid.

    There is no alternative to government.

  • Pro Libertate||

    For the time being, my beef is with the statists, not the anarchists. Except for Episiarch, of course, but that's because he tasks me, not because of any disagreements.

  • ||

    My beef is with you, ProL.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, that simplifies things somewhat.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Careful, Epi has killed before, he could kill again.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I do not like many progressive ideas, but I do not think they have stopped advancing any new or bold ones. Gay marriage for one.

  • Irish||

    I do not like many progressive ideas, but I do not think they have stopped advancing any new or bold ones. Gay marriage for one.

    You mean the idea that the Libertarian Party was espousing in 1974? Yeah, really impressive that the left came around to that idea 30 years after the libertarians did. Right around the time public opinion changed and it became politically expedient.

  • wareagle||

    40 years. Well, 39 if you prefer non round numbers.

    /math pedant

  • Irish||

    I was actually going off of 2004. Mid-2000s is when the left really began agitating for this.

  • wareagle||

    fair enough

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The libertarian party espoused gay marriage in 1974? Interesting, I have learned something today.

    Still, I can't fault one of the 'Big Two' parties for adopting something from the LP even decades later. That is still pretty bold for them.

  • Irish||

    Actually, 1971.

    The Libertarian Party applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today to strike the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that discriminates against non-heterosexual marriages.

    The Libertarian Party has supported marriage equality since its founding in 1971.

  • Robert||

    They're reinterpreting the hx of the party to look "ahead of their time". If the party platform (or program, later) had supported same sex marriage in the 1970s, they wouldn't've been debating inclusion of it in the platform in the late 1990s.

  • Robert||

    No such provision in the 1972 platform. The temporary platform preceding it ha a provision against federal income tax discrimination against single persons. The 1974 platform called "for the elimination of special tax burdens of single people and couples with few or no children." Sorry, but that's as close as they came to the issue for at least a long time in any official pronouncement. In 1982 they put in a women's rights plank that called "for repeal of all laws discriminating against women, such as...marriage or divorce laws which deny the full rights of men and women." In 1984, "We support a change in rape laws so that cohabitation will no longer be a defense against a charge of rape."

    So they're revising history here regarding same sex marriage to make it look like they were on the winning side. They were on the winning side of the rape defense item, but climbed on board just about when that change was taking place anyway.

  • Robert||

    BTW, the effort to adopt a "marriage equality" plank in 1998 failed.

  • ||

    That reminds me, I still need to get around to confirming that agreeing with Obama's "pre-evolved" stance on gay marriage was bannable for bigotry at Democratic Underground.

  • ||

    Gay marriage for one.

    And that's probably an exhaustive list.

    Ironic too, considering the progressive movement until after WWII was rabidly pro-eugenics to rid the gene pool of teh homosex (amongst other things).

    Good on ya though. You got us. Aside from economic policy, taxation, war, police power and prohibition, progressives are bursting with new and bold ideas... like opening up a 260 year old civil institution to a few more privileged people.

  • pmains||

    Well, Cap and Trade. Is there an early 20th century analogue to that? I can't think of one.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Actually the rearmament program did a lot for the morale and economy. The wars and death camps, not so much.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What is this, a Star Trek episode?

  • tarran||

    I often find myself frustrated with the anti-intellectualism that dominates AMerican culture, when I should really be thankfull.

    No critical mass of shmos wake up one morning and say "hey, I need to send my neighbor up the chimney to improve my lot". They make ends meet, earn enough to have a little fun and live their lives.

    The big changes in society are always driven by the pseudo-intellectuals who champion some intellectuals' ideas to their absurd conclusion. In many ways anti-intellectualism has proved to be the bulwark that saved us and our forefathers from a huge number of fads that have swept the rest of the world.

  • John||

    IT is the old joke about how the dark night of fascism is always falling on America and landing on Europe. At least in the last 300 years it has rarely been the pitchfork carrying mobs intellectuals are always yapping about who have done the greatest evil. Rwanda is one of the very few examples of that. Much more often the real evil and killing has been done by right thinking intellectuals, the best and the brightest out to change the world. Intellectuals have an ocean of blood on their hands.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    When one idolizes anything, one will have certain tendencies, both good and bad, based upon their focus.

    For intellectuals - they believe strongly that they idolize logic above all else.

    Once your faith is built on logic alone, then it becomes easy to logically explain all kinds of evil crap.

    I mean really - if you are one who believes owning pets is the same as slavery - the logic to go from there to "violence is an acceptable answer" is short.

    Note - I don't think people should trade idolizing logic with religion - just sayin' a that a possible outcome of idolizing logic is being easily susceptible to evil, yet logical decisions/actions.

  • Hyperion||

    If the left would just accept that reality exists and has to be accounted for

    I suppose that next, you want them to accept that every idea they have ever had has failed in reality.

    Why are you such a meany?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    That mentality is strong in California. I don't get it at all. It requires complete and total suspension of disbelief. It's like they've lost their damn minds.

  • Slammer||

    They can never get the idea that mistrust of government is the least worst position for humans to be in. They don't even consider it, let alone listen to the position.

  • ||

    Being TEAM means being about TEAM, and hate of the other TEAM. TEAM BLUE has determined that TEAM RED is against government. Therefore, TEAM BLUE is for government, absolutely, without reservation, because it is the opposite of what they think TEAM RED is. It's not that they can't get mistrust of government. It's that it doesn't fucking matter; they base their policies on being the opposite of those they hate, no matter how moronic or self-destructive those policies might be.

  • wareagle||

    it's like the writer set out to purposely find the three least defensible ideas and pretend that chickenshit is chicken salad. Seriously, carbon trading and rail?

  • FYTW||

    I loved that part. This douche makes it sound as if the state's voters made a conscious choice to hand over complete control of the state to the Democrats. Reality: Team Blue managed to hijack an ostensibly-nonpartisan redistricting process, enabled them to gerrymander out of existence the two or three Team Red-leaning Senate and Assembly districts standing between them and a supermajority.

    And, incidentally, the only reason that supermajority is important is because it enables them to raise taxes without a single Republican vote. That's it. Beyond that they already enjoyed complete control of the political branches of the state government, and have for years. The only effect of the much-complained-about "Republican obstructionism" in the state has been that the Democratic Senate and Assembly leadership had to bribe a handful of moderate Rs in order to secure their votes for tax hikes.

  • John||

    They other thing that is not mentioned in the article is the over 25% unemployment in the Central Valley. The white and Hispanic working class in the central valley have seen their livelihoods destroyed by environmental and economic policies made to please billionaires living in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. But remember, the Democrats are all about looking after the little guy.

  • RBS||

    That shit gets me everytime. Then I remember that my ultra progressive ex girlfriend who went to Brown and then UCLA law on her parents dime considers herself some sort of charity case.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    She went to Brown? Red flag dude.

  • ||

    Totally.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

  • Irish||

    This is how the Republicans managed to win a California state senate seat recently in a district that is 60% Hispanic and voted for Obama by 30 points. They pointed out that the environmentalists had destroyed the livelihood of the farmers in that community by shutting off water in order to protect a single endangered fish.

    The goals of rich white liberals are 180 degrees at odds with the needs of the poor people they claim to be helping. This is most obvious in the totally negative impact that environmental laws have on the poor. If the Republicans weren't the stupid party they could actually take better advantage of things like this.

  • John||

    Amazingly, Hispanics like to have jobs too. The Democratic coalition is completely unsustainable absent unbelievable amounts of mendacity, self deception and low information voters. The last person an Hispanic farm worker in California should be voting for is a party owned by the Greens the way the California Dems are.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You can think Pete Wilson for delivering Hispanic voters to the Dems in California. Yes, like everyone Hispanics prefer to have a good economy, but a party that treats them like 'the brown peril' is not going to get far with them.

  • John||

    That is exactly what I am talking about. If they are voting on some culture war bullshit from 25 years ago, they are voting against their own interests for totally irrelevant reasons. As I said, the whole thing depends on mendacity and low information voters.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is not easy to dismiss 'culture war' when it is being waged directly at you. The GOP regularly insults Hispanics, they are not 'low information' to notice it.

  • John||

    The GOP regularly insults Hispanics, they are not 'low information' to notice it.

    And the Democrats put them out of work. Which do you think is more important? And beyond that, they don't regularly insult Hispanics. They just say they don't support Amnesty, which a good number of Hispanics don't either.

    Jesus Christ Bo, you are providing me with an example of the kind of voter I am talking about.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    John, you sound like a reverse Tom Frank: What's the matter with Hispanics? Their economic interests lie with the GOP, but they keep voting Democrat just because the GOP treats them like a brown peril!

  • ||

    I dunno, I seem to recall the attempting lynching and harassment of a so-called "'white' hispanic" that came from top down pretty recently.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -"'white' hispanic"

    This invented term answers your point, no?

  • Irish||

    When does the GOP insult Hispanics? There are certainly examples, like that moron in Iowa who talked about how they're all cantaloupe legged drug mules, but the national GOP does not have an anti-Hispanic platform.

    They're opposed to amnesty, sure, but that doesn't mean they're insulting them.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Your post reads like 'when does the GOP insult Hispanics? Well there are those instances where they do, but other than that?'

  • Irish||

    There are examples where some fucker in Iowa does. The national party does not, Romney did not, none of the leadership does.

    Why is it that when one Republican says something ludicrous it is symptomatic of all Republican thought but the rash of Democrat politicians mistreating women, from Filner to Clinton to Weiner, is somehow not a sign that Democrats hate women? It's a ridiculous double standard, and King's statements about Hispanics are not mainstream GOP thought.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Yes, King is the only Republican or conservative to cast their opposition to immigration in a light negative to Hispanics. Come on my friend, you know better than that. This goes back to Pete Wilson and extends to Jan Brewer to Steve King to more.

  • ||

    The particular Hispanics the Republicans ostensibly hate generally aren't legally eligible to vote anyway (wink wink).

    It could just be that Hispanics, like the rest of California, have been bamboozled by the Free Shit bandwagon.

  • FYTW||

    "The GOP" and "some fucker in Iowa" are two distinct entities, dumbass.

  • Raston Bot||

    Whoa, where was that?

  • Rhywun||

    over 25% unemployment in the Central Valley

    Maybe they could be put to work building a train or something.

  • Hyperion||

    Nah, they can just trade carbon credits, that's the ticket.

  • ||

    When you're trying to sell a line of bullshit and your pitch is "Mmm Mmm, California!"... I mean, you can't count on the rubes being as self-deluded as you are.

    And seriously, what the fuck is it with leftys and their choo choos?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think it is a combination of environmentalism and this need to collectivize or communitarianism that they embrace. The idea that someone may not want to have to travel with their neighbors riding with them eludes them.

  • Redmanfms||

    It's likely even more simplistic and idiotic than adherence to ideology. Lefties view Europe as the utopia they want to create, Europe has choo-choos, therefore, for utopia to be possible we must also have choo-choos.

    They are totemists. Reference federal college funding and gun control debates for really obvious examples of it.

  • Robert||

    No, I don't think that's it. RRs aren't associated particularly with Europe as opposed to Asia or anywhere else, and they have plenty of hx here. It really is the collectivism thing, dependency on an engineer driving you the few places rails are laid. Plus, they're still in the mindset of air travel's being the extravagance it used to be before deregul'n, rich people's mode of travel. And a little extra boost is the idea of long-haul truck drivers as on the other side of the culture war, with their c&w music, and they haven't forgiven the Teamsters for supporting Nixon.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Do you think the California government is banking on a federal bailout of some sort?

    To be honest, I think they are so delusional they really believe they can fix the problem with higher taxes and more regulations.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    They just need to purge the Rethuglicans.

  • ||

    I know a number of Californians (and my own brother, sigh) who are absolutely convinced that a high-speed rail line between LA and SF is just what CA needs for a huge immediate economic boost. Said brother is also gung-ho for a high-speed rail line between Phoenix and Tucson.

    Fucking trainiacs. Cost/benefit analysis and questions of "who's actually going to ride and pay for the damned thing" are immaterial. If we don't do it for ourselves, we should do it for Gaia.

  • Virginian||

    I actually think a high speed rail shuttling people to Vegas would work, if it were constructed with nonunion labor, ignoring all the environmental bullshit, operating at real high speed rates of say 300MPH, and if the TSA were kept well out of it.

    So like, if every hour, you could pay cash in LA and be in Vegas an hour later, that could work.

    It will never happen that way of course.

  • Slammer||

    Taggart Railways!

  • Virginian||

    I mean yeah, seriously. I think tons of people would pay 50 bucks for the convenience. You could probably get the casinos to chip in a certain amount per head, to subsidize the cost.

    Actually, if it were possible at all with the regulatory and environmental bullshit, I think a casino consortium would have already done it.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I actually think a high speed rail shuttling people to Vegas would work, if it were constructed with nonunion labor, ignoring all the environmental bullshit, operating at real high speed rates of say 300MPH, and if the TSA were kept well out of it

    Ironically, the train fetishists don't grasp that the reason their 19th-century commuter fantasy hasn't taken hold is rooted in large part to all the land-use regulations in place now. Building a transcontinental railroad and urban trolley systems was easy in a low-population, low-scale time in the country's past, when densities were a lot lower and things like zoning laws and EISs didn't exist.

    Now the leftists want to pencil-whip something that, on paper at least, would constitute a significant transformation to the nation's transportation system. But because they have to worry about things like rights-of-way, expanded population centers, and things like Preble's Three-Dicked Swimming Mouse, the cost/time projections to build these things are never even close to what is predicted.

  • wareagle||

    has he ever bothered to ask what happens once you get to LA. It's not like the train will stop door to door. So you get off at the downtown station but your final destination is Santa Monica. You walking?

  • ||

    Oh, he wouldn't actually ride the thing with the proles. He's almost a doctor and he's going to drive to everything himself because his time is valuable, thank you very much. See also him voting for the local light rail while riding it once in his lifetime.

  • Hyperion||

    If the cost of riding that thing is anyway near Amtrak prices, they better have one hell of a good paying job to ride it. Let's put it this way, you aren't going to be seeing any poor migrants riding on it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    In many ways anti-intellectualism has proved to be the bulwark that saved us and our forefathers from a huge number of fads that have swept the rest of the world.

    Exhibit A: The League of Nations.

  • Paul.||

    Some of the highest taxes in the country apparently counts as “sane taxes” -- and yes, at one point the story blames Proposition 13 on California’s problem

    Repeating "proposition 13" is the equivalent of repeating "Reagan!" for my generation, or "Bush" for the Kos Kidz. It's like Johnny's Seasoning... it makes everything better!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    BOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

  • Irish||

    That's one of my favorite California memes. California is in the top five on every single tax, including sales, gas, income taxes. Because of prop 13, they're like 14th in the country in property taxes.

    Somehow they've deluded themselves into thinking that the problem is the only tax where they aren't currently in the top 10.

  • John||

    I was reading in one of these rags not too long ago that the problem with California was that it wanted government like liberals but to be taxed like Libertarians. They actually said that with a straight face.

  • Irish||

    Didn't you know that the libertarians have always been in favor of a 71 cent per gallon gasoline tax?

    According to the article, the recent 3.5 cent increase is calculated to cost $26.25 for a driver who gets 20 miles per gallon and drives 15,000 miles. By my calculations, the entire 71 cent tax must cost that person like $600 a year. That's madness.

  • Virginian||

    So that means the CA government makes probably three times what the oil company makes per gallon.

  • Irish||

    They make ten times what the oil company makes.

    Based on a 2011 figure, oil companies make about 7-cents per gallon on every gallon of gasoline sold in the United States.

    It's fucking theft. They steal primarily from the poor and then tell people who have been poorly educated by government schools that it's all the oil company's fault. It is pure government malfeasance.

  • Hyperion||

    It can't be. Because big oil and profits are bad and government is good.

  • Virginian||

    When does the rebellion start?

  • Paul.||

    That's madness.

    This... is... CALIFORNIA!

    *kicks taxpayers into pit*

  • Hyperion||

    It's because the politicians are willing to work for free and slash the hell out of their wasteful budgets to get this done.

    I made a funny!

  • ||

    Even as a non-CA resident I'm familiar with Prop. 13 from hearing people bitch and moan about it as a decades-ago "minority Republican power seizure" responsible for all ills that apparently the poor widdle Democrats are just totally unable to repeal.

  • ||

    The funny thing is that Prop 13 fucks new homeowners (i.e. young people and people who have to move), because the localities crank up the assessment on newly sold houses, because that's the only time they can do it under Prop 13. So you'll see a neighborhood where you'll have newly sold houses with insane property taxes right next to comparable houses with capped assessments and significantly lower property taxes. Which is why all California homeowners should appeal their property taxes if they bought their house recently.

  • John||

    I didn't know that. So it is like rent control for property taxes. Great if you are some old fuck who can benefit from it. A real screw job if you are anyone else.

  • ||

    Yes, that is a good way to put it, John. However, don't knock it too much, because it is the only thing stopping everyone's property taxes from being obscene. And luckily, if they assess you way too high, there should be plenty of comparable properties with capped assessments that you can use when you appeal your property taxes.

    Because without Prop 13, they'd just all be sky-high and you wouldn't have any comps to make your case with.

  • John||

    Rent control fucks landlords. Pro 13 fucks the government. So I am okay with that

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Rent control also harms potential tenants.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    As I recall, the property tax valuation was equivalent to the sale price and remained fixed until another transaction occurred.

  • ||

    They will generally set the assessment at around the sale price, and then it can only go up a certain percentage (3 or 4%?) each year (which of course it does in most cases). However, you can appeal and if you have good comps you can get it lowered, and then it can still only go up the percentage each year until sold.

    So Ma and Pa Brown, who bought their house 15 years ago, could only have their assessment go up a little bit each year, even as the market value skyrocketed. But Jo and Bobby Sue Peckerwood, who bought their house at the height of the housing bubble, will have their assessment set at the booming market price. Fun for everyone!

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    it can only go up a certain percentage (3 or 4%?) each year

    2%.

  • Paul.||

    And remember kids, "assessment" has zilch to do with value!

  • PapayaSF||

    Complaints about Prop 13 amount to: "If only we had made home ownership more expensive, and forced more retired people to sell, all our fiscal problems would never have happened!"

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the Golden State is now reasserting itself as a proving ground for the kind of bold ideas

    I am not opposed to "bold ideas" I welcome them, but ONLY INSOFAR AS THEY ARE SUBJECT TO FAILURE.

    Failure is essential, and nobody should ever be punished for tossing out an interesting but ultimately unworkable idea. The problem we have now, particularly in politics, is a complete and utter refusal to recognize failure, and specifically to recognizing an obvious and abject failure (like, oh... Obamacare) and pulling the plug. An experiment should be exactly that; you test your hypothesis and carefully examine the results. Not the intentions, but the actual results.

    Now, we have people who will fight to the death to preserve and continue "bold ideas" which are demonstrably wrong.

  • John||

    That is a great point. Have you noticed how every journalist, even ones at Reason like Suderman, say that you can't expect Democrats to vote to defund Obamcare, their biggest accomplishment?

    They say this as just a self evident fact. The fact that Obamacare is a complete fucking disaster doesn't matter. In a sane world, Suderman and company would be writing articles about how the Democrats have gone insane for not wanting to kill Obamacare. In our insane world, Suderman looks at anyone who thinks the Democrats should want Obmaacare defunded or repealed as a self evident fool.

  • wareagle||

    so who are the Dems that actually want Obamacare repealed? Sure, a few have carped about a couple of things but I don't see where Suderman's acceptance of Dem reality is challenged. Team is not going to repeal Team's legislation.

  • John||

    It is not that they want it to stay. It is that Suderman is totally okay with Dems supporting it for the sole reason that it was their bill and thus they could never be expected to admit it was a huge mistake.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Kill and defund are different things, John. Passing a law and then saying "ha, ha, but you can't have any money to enforce it" is asinine. It isn't using the power of the purpose to thwart executive prerogative, it's using the power of the purpose to thwart legislative idiocy.

    Repeal and replace, and publicly try to make the case that third party payer is the problem.

  • John||

    that third party payer is the problem.

    Whatever the problem is, people making the rational decision to insure against risk is not it. Insurance is a perfectly rational solution to an unknown future cost, which is exactly what healthcare is. I don't know what my health care costs are going to be. They could be zero or millions. So, there is no way I can know how much money I need to set aside for them. So I buy insurance that will fix those costs and allow me to plan.

    Why otherwise knowledgeable people can't understand the rationality of health insurance if fucking beyond me.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Whatever the problem is, people making the rational decision to insure against risk is not it

    Except "insurance" in the healthcare field today doesn't even remotely resemble the traditional definition of the term. When "insurance" is used to subsidize/pay for every fucking healthcare service under the sun, it's no longer insurance.

  • Paul.||

    say that you can't expect Democrats to vote to defund Obamcare, their biggest accomplishment?

    Don't confuse "biggest accomplishment" with "success". To most politicians, a big accomplishment = success.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Very good point - the failure though is also on the voter. Politicians are incented by votes and voters, especially in one-party enclaves such as CA, absolutely refuse to acknowledge or punish any failure.

    Likely because acknowledgement would mean their world view is wrong and punishing anyone by voting for someone else would be acknowledgement.

    Irregardless...

    While this doesn't absolve politicians, everyone reacts to their incentives.

    And just like LEO's and prosecutors - if politicians/judges/etc are never punished, where's their incentive to get any better?

  • Virginian||

    My California cousins blame Reagan for the rolling blackouts of the early 2000s. Price controls had nothing to do with it, it was all Reagan and speculators.

    Reagan was so deviously evil he could sabotage the CA electrical market just so he could enjoy it in his dotage.

  • John||

    California is one of the best places on earth. And liberals have been running it for 40+ years. And they have managed to totally fuck it up. There is not one thing in that state that is better today than it was in 1970. But it is always someone else' fault.

    Richest place in the world and they can't manage to keep the lights on.

  • Irish||

    Richest place in the world and they can't manage to keep the lights on.

    They were the richest place in the world. Texas is lapping them in per capita GDP now. Texas still isn't richer in total GDP because they have like 10 million fewer people, but it's only a matter of time.

  • John||

    I meant that more generally. California has a much better climate and a ton of more resources than Texas. Hell, most of Texas is a wasteland. Ever been west of I35? And the rest of it is mostly a humid pine forest or swamp. No one should ever want to move from California to Texas all things being equal. The fact that millions of people are choosing to do just that, shows how amazingly horrible Prog governance is.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

  • Irish||

    That's based on 2010. The 2011 numbers had Texas passing them.

    Here.

    In June, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released new data on state real per capita gross domestic product for 2012. Performance for 2009-2011 was also revised, with California seeing a downward revision of 2.6 percent and while Texas’ performance was revised upward by 0.5 percent. The new figures show that in 2011 Texas surpassed California in real per capita gross domestic product while a separate report showed Texas expanding its lead in real per capita personal income.
  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Interesting, thanks.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -liberals have been running it for 40+ years

    Forty years ago Ronald Reagan was California's governor.

  • John||

    Oh, so 37 years. That makes it so much better Bo. I mean if it had been 40 years, then maybe liberals might be responsible for something. But 37 years, clearly it is all Reagan's fault.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I do not know what to tell you. You said, not even 40 but '40+,' and that is clearly wrong.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    And following Reagan you had two GOP governors who each served two terms.

  • Virginian||

    Did Tulpa change his name again?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    From what I understand Tulpa teaches mathematics. One does not need that background to know that 37=/40+. And of course there are bigger issues for the claim (such as over a dozen years of Republicans in the Governors mansion in that same time period).

  • General Butt Naked||

    The California State Legislature currently has a Democratic supermajority, with the Senate consisting of 28 Democrats and 12 Republicans and the Assembly consisting of 55 Democrats and 25 Republicans. Except for the period from 1995 to 1996, the Assembly has been in Democratic hands since the 1970 election (even while the governor's office has gone back and forth between Republicans and Democrats). The Senate has been in Democratic hands continuously since 1970.

    Factor in city councils and mayors of major population areas and I think John has it about right. Unless you're the type of idiot that thinks the governor of a state rules totally and that other elected, and non-elected, officials are of no consequence.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Governors of a state do not solely rule, but they are one of the three branches that do, right?

  • ||

    Also factor in that California is somewhat analogous to Massachusetts in that what constitutes "liberal" and "conservative" is not exactly the same as it is in the rest of the country. Arnold Schwarzenegger would have a difficult time running as the conservative choice in Utah or even, say, Ohio, but he's construed as the re-embodiment of Murray Rothbard relative to California's political system. Using "Republican" and "Democrat" as stand-ins for "conservative" and "liberal" in California isn't all that useful.

  • Robert||

    Well, except that the Cal. "right wing" (typified in Orange Co.) has long been notoriously as far "right" as it gets.

  • ||

    Well, except that the Cal. "right wing" (typified in Orange Co.) has long been notoriously as far "right" as it gets.

    I can't vouch for that, but if true, I can only guess that isn't typified by the GOP governors California has had since Reagan. So again, using "Republican" and "Democrat" as stand-ins for "conservative" and "liberal" isn't very useful. And more broadly throughout the state I would say the point still stands.

  • Robert||

    It's not typified by anything or anyone else in the state. They're outliers, but well-known ones.

  • FYTW||

    From what I understand you're a hopelessly boring twat who insists on jerking your Pedantry Boner in public by quibbling endlessly over comparatively minor details of claims while utterly ignoring the larger point (i.e., here, the undisputable fact that Democrats have to a greater or lesser extent controlled California politics for roughly four decades).

  • Tony||

    Do you guys even notice when you are swallowing that Republican shaft?

  • ||

    Interestingly, the discussion was originally about "liberal" governance with no party strings attached.

    But, uh, yeah. Those libertarian Republican shills...

  • Robert||

    I don't ignore that point. That point is so obvious, I've nothing to add about it.

    What you think, it's like nobody gets to respond other than to the most important items?

  • FYTW||

    Tiresome pedant is tiresome.

  • Paul.||

    Who was in charge of the legislature when reagan was governor?

  • Killazontherun||

    In another forum site several years ago, I was conversing with a California native who blamed Governor Reagan for gutting funding of the public school system and he claimed that's why they went from being top notch to a failure. This, of course, sounded like sheer fantasy, I looked up the budget numbers on the official California treasury dept. site, and showed him where the spending increased for public instruction in every year of Reagan's administration, and only decreased once in its entire history, under Brown one year during his first time around as governor. All he could say was, 'I was there. I know what happened.'

    Fucking pathetic tools have no ability to reason critically at all. To be honest, when I encounter this, I have a strong desire to grift the saps. For a proglodyte politician musing over his flock that desire must be overwhelming.

  • ||

    Of course it's overwhelming; they grift them every minute of every day. And the stupid fucks fall for it every fucking time. The TEAM BLUE politicians' contempt for the sheep must be incredible.

  • Paul.||

    And people were stunned when Obama won a second term... easily... during high gas prices, high unemployment and a shitty economy.

  • Paul.||

    My California cousins blame Reagan for the rolling blackouts of the early 2000s. Price controls had nothing to do with it, it was all Reagan and speculators.

    I knew a woman who blamed all domestic violence on Reagan. Don't underestimate the power that yelling "Reagan!" had to the 80s era progressive. The "Reagan!" warcry was 10x more powerful than "Booooosh!"

    Even Bloom County's Berkeley Breathed had a strip that I never forgot, with a long-haired Riot Cop yelling, "This is all Reagan's fault!"

  • The Late P Brooks||

    My California cousins blame Reagan for the rolling blackouts of the early 2000s.

    I remember reading an article at the time in some business magazine, and they quoted some guy (from Enron, I think) saying, "Hey, it's not my responsibility to teach those idiot California utilities regulators how the futures markets work."

  • Virginian||

    Yeah leftists and speculators....It's like listening to some snooty asshole tell you that wet streets cause rain.

    It's not the price controls, which are noble government good, it's the doubleplusbad wicked speculators.

  • John||

    How dare those utilities in Texas and Washington not want to sell their power at the people's justice rate in California. They are just wreckers all of them.

  • brec||

    blames Proposition 13 on California’s problems

    Blames California's problems on Proposition 13?

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Some of the highest taxes in the country apparently counts as “sane taxes”

    Where have you been the last few years Shackford? You are talking about the types who think lower spending increases are insane.

  • Tony||

    Mmmm Republican cock. So wrinkled and white.

  • ||

    A gay guy stooping to lazy cis-hetero-normative insults is just precious. CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE TONY!

  • Tony||

    The good thing about not being a redneck fuckstick with a chip on his shoulder is that you've taken the time to learn when being PC is appropriate and when it's OK not to be.

  • ||

    Sounds a lot like FYTW. I'm shocked.

    Also, there's a good chance I was just mocking you since I take your Newspeak about as seriously as American Idol.

    It's good to know you don't have a chip on your shoulder like all of those other redneck fuckstick wrinkled-white-Republican-cock-suckers though. You had me worried for a second there.

    Parody is officially impossible.

  • Paul.||

    Mmmm Republican cock. So wrinkled and white.

    Log cabin Republican cock? Tell us.

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