Budget Deficit

L.A. Times Multiple Choice: A) Raise Taxes B) Raise Taxes C) Raise Taxes


Tired of democracy? Looking for old media experts with six-figure salaries to tell you what the grownups have decided? 

Trying to figure out what could possibly be left to cut in a state that is down to the bare bones of $1,000 Fogo de Chão dinners for government employees, 278 state parks, fully staffed boards of chiropractic services and horse racing, a government-operated lottery [pdf], free rides to Dodgers games, and half a trillion dollars in unfunded pension liabilities? 

Fear not. The L.A. Times shows the full breadth of opinion – from judiciously pro-taxation to passionately pro-taxation to sneeringly pro-taxation. Today, we learn from the paper's three weightiest columnists – literally: these aging white males collectively weigh in at north of a quarter-ton shortweight (source: Celebrity Sleuth) – that the state needs to raise taxes, that the people of California want their taxes raised, and that even if the people (who have in fact not voted to approve any tax in nearly 20 years) don't want their taxes raised, this just proves they're ignorant. 

Sadly, Lopez and Hiltzik really look like that. Mercifully, Rutten is not pictured.

First up: sanctimonious endomorph Tim Rutten, in a column titled "Enough of 'we the people'

The facts cited by the [Economist] magazine's Andreas Kluth are well known to even casual students of state government, but the context and perspective are bracing — and suggest both a short- and long-term way out of the morass. The former ought to begin with Gov. Jerry Brown walking away from his campaign promise to submit any tax increase to a popular vote.

Next: Don't-confuse-me-with-your-math populist Steve Lopez, with "Save our teachers – please

How about an oil excise tax, with the proceeds going to education? How about some of the other things I've talked about, like tinkering with Proposition 13, particularly on the commercial side? How about a relatively fair balance of spending cuts and temporary extension of existing tax increases, so we don't have to destroy our K-12 schools with an extra $4 billion to $5 billion in cuts?

Last and least: Pulitzer-winning sockpuppet Michael Hiltzik, "A more rational view on budget fix

On the positive side, it looks as though Californians are moving toward a more rational approach to closing the budget deficit with tax increases as well as spending cuts. A Times/USC Dornsife poll released last weekend found that 60% of those surveyed backed the idea of voting on the tax increases — a majority of both Democrats and Republicans. 


[B]ut so far [Gov. Jerry Brown] hasn't turned his attention to other sources of revenue that other states exploit but California ignores, such as an oil severance tax and a fairer approach to assessing commercial and industrial property. 

This is why I read the L.A. Times: for that instinctive sense of what Californians want, or least what Californians would want if we knew what was best for us. 

NEXT: Ron Paul Explains His Anti-Abortion Position

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  1. Philosophers call it fully-informed preferences: what we would want if we had infallible access to all of the relevant factors.

    The problem is that if we were all fully-informed, we would all want to be LA Times columnists.

    1. This is way OT, but let’s all pay attention to LoneWacko’s dismissal of the longform birth certificate: http://24ahead.com/who-was-oba…..west-snope

      1. This Obama-was-born-in-Kenya shit never fails to make me laugh. Especially at Chris Matthews getting so stupidly hysterical about it on MSNBC.

        I don’t think anyone can prove the Obamamama ever set one foot on the African continent much less secreted Uncle Sugar there.

        Besides, everyone knows Barry was born on Neptune. Who are they fooling?

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tim Rutten needs to be introduced to Bas Rutten.

    1. Bas Rutten is not God.

      But he’s pretty damn close.


  3. Three people with a combined weight a quarter ton have an average individual weight of 167 lbs. That’s not very heavy, particularly for a male adult.

    1. 187, but your point still stands.

      1. US tons, not metric tonnes.

        1. literally: these aging white males collectively weigh in at north of a quarter-ton shortweight

          Boom. I win at the internet.

        2. It’s confusing, but while a short ton is 2,000 lbs., a ton shortweight is 2,240 lbs, the same as a long ton. (A ton longweight is 2,400 lbs., while a metric ton is 2,205 lbs.)

          So, three people weighing over a quarter-ton could average:
          167 lbs. (short ton)
          184 lbs. (metric ton)
          187 lbs. (long ton, ton shortweight)
          200 lbs. (ton longweight)

          1. Use metric, you imperial fools.

            1. You don’t know the power of the dark side. You too shall join the empire.

  4. You’re the better man, Tim. We couldn’t bring ourselves to finish any of those pieces.

    1. Did you know the comments don’t work on your blog?

      1. They work on mine 😉

        1. Did you know that we don’t care?

        2. Too bad no one will use them, right, rectal? Boo hoo.

          1. Referrer Views
            reason.com 3,038

            1. Clicking on your own handle 3038 times doth not a popular blog make, Froggy McSkank.

            2. One day people will figure out why all their web crawlers keep committing suicide, and then where will you be?

      2. Really? Other people have been able to comment. But I’ll check it out.

  5. Can you imagine being at a cocktail party or dinner with these people? I’d have a hard time not laughing out loud, and that would make me angry, which would lead to me insulting them.

    1. I’ve found that when liberals or bible thumpers start running their mouths at a dinner or a sporting event or something -that has nothing to do with politics or God- it’s usually less than three minutes before I hear something that just makes me laugh hysterically.

      Then I take another shot and change the subject. The whole “teach a pig to sing” lesson, as it were.

      1. My main technique is to avoid being at dinners or parties with idiots. It doesn’t work that well, though, so I extend it to figuring out who the idiots are and not talking to them.

        1. There are a lot of stupid people out there though, and I don’t like avoiding places because of them. They can go find somewhere else to be stupid.

          1. Dare to be stupid

            1. It’s so easy to do
              We’re all waiting for you

              1. It’s time to put all your eggs in one basket.

                1. It’s time to count your chicks before they hatch

                  1. You better sell some wine before its (it’s?) time/You better find yourself an itch to scratch

            2. You better squeeze all the Charmin you can.

              SQUEEZE IT!!

              1. I’m banking on the cart going before the horse – FOR THE WIN!

            3. I have this strange sensation that I am watching the original Transformers movie. Starring Leonard Nimoy…and I’m Casey Kasem.

              1. I’m just gonna have this cake and eat it, too. You do whatever you want.

    2. Only among libertarians is an inability to control oneself at social gatherings considered a badge of honor.

      Even your own sterile philosophy says that the price of freedom is personal responsibility. But I guess that only applies to adults.

      1. Stop projecting your infantile thumb-sucking mind-set on others.

      2. Don’t be a [ ], Handjob

      3. Why bother?

        “Personal responsibility” also includes “If I talk smack to your face about what an idiot you are, and you decide to hate me as a result, I accept that.”

        I don’t see any evasion of personal responsibility there.

        You are confusing “not having to give a shit about you or your opinions because you are powerless to do anything about it” with “lacking personal responsibility” and those really aren’t the same thing.

      4. I dunno. In my experience progressives tend to be completely lacking in self-control at social occasions. Others holding strong opinions tend to be at least somewhat more circumspect.

        You rarely hear the rampant white supremacist spouting off at a dinner party. Even the bible thumpers tend to hit the mute button in most social situations. But a Prius-driving vegan PETA member will usually be happy to tell you how stupid everyone who doesn’t drive a Prius is. And how all those idiots who drive an SUV are ruining the world because they don’t support Obama. And they want poor people to starve.

      5. haha … LOL …. that’s a good one Hobie. I thought you were serious for a second.

  6. Ichi-wanna chew-baccaa…ho-ho-ho!

  7. Holy fuck. The Times must really go though hankies and snuff boxes at editorial meetings.

  8. “The Three Wise Men!” [::drops to knees, venerates::]

    1. “The Three Wise Men!”

      Where? Behind the three LA Times nitwits? Can you ask them to move aside so I can see the 3 wise men you are venerating?

    2. I guess relative to you.

  9. How about an oil excise tax, with the proceeds going to education feed unionized halfwits?

    More accurate. I should’ve been an editor.

  10. “Save our teachers ? please”

    “Send them to Nevada to find new, fulfilling lives!”

    1. They’re all moving to Texas, Arizona, and Colorado.

      1. Texas sucks. Don’t move here. Especially if you’re from California.

  11. Trying to figure out what could possibly be left to cut in a state that is down to the bare bones of $1,000 Fogo de Ch?o dinners for government employees[…]

    Which reminds me that, in the company I work for, if you dare charge a Fogo de Chao dinner on your T&E card, you are liable to get terminated from your job unless you happen to be the CEO. Yep, that serious.

    1. Only fogo place I ever went to was in Shanghai. Surreal was an apprpriate description. The food was unidentifiable, there was a Chinese band playing Wham hits, and the tables and chairs were straight out of some middle school cafeteria.

  12. I was hoping Bill Plaschke would weigh in on the subject.

    1. I wish those guys were still around. That blog made people look at me like I was crazy.

      1. When they posted that they were done, it felt like a cross between my favorite band breaking up and my favorite uncle dying.

        1. And they finally got their wish. I visited that blog consistently.

  13. A Times/USC Dornsife poll released last weekend found that 60% of those surveyed backed the idea of voting on the tax increases.

    I love how he assumes people wanting a vote on tax increases means that they support tax increases. Hell, even I support a vote — this is a democracy.

    But I have a great tax proposal. Tax all state employees and LA Times columnists 50%.

    From dust to dust, as they say.

  14. “Enough of ‘we the people'”


    Who fed that fat fuck after midnight?

  15. The Jarvis people are just going to read the prison guard contract during the campaign. There is no way we are approving a tax extension let alone any increase above that.

  16. The comments on the Rutten article are glorious. They almost give me hope.

  17. “How about an oil excisenewsprint tax, with the proceeds going to education?”

    Do your fuckin’ part, Steve.

  18. old media experts with six-figure salaries

    Tim, the solution is government control of their over-inflated income, or perhaps a wealth tax

  19. Sadly, Lopez and Hilzick really look like that…

    Tim, the solution is government control of their aesthetics, and free plastic surgery in the health care mandate to meet your preferential taste

  20. the paper’s three weightiest columnists ? literally: these aging white males collectively weigh in at north of a quarter-ton

    Instead of appointing a government agency to take care of the issue, the sliver of libertarianism in me, just would like to see a picture of your naked ass.

  21. these aging white males

    Is a reporter with a last name like Lopez really “white”?


    1. According to Wiki, he’s the son of Spanish and Italian immigrants, so yes, totally.

      By the way, here he is in an obnoxious article about the evils legalized marijuana may inflict on traffic.

      1. I figured that was the only thing. I just did a Google search of “caucasian” and “Spain” and…whoa. Caucasian Iberia vs. Iberian Peninsula. Anyway, I was just wondering if Cavanaugh missed it. I don’t particularly care, but if you’re dismissing someone as a “white male[],” and all that it connotes, you ought to be right.

        And now that I’ve brought it up, let me link to True Romance…


        1. No. To his credit, Lopez (who is the only one of the three I think the LAT does well to keep on staff; the other two should have been put out to pasture 10 years ago) never tries to get any Latino cred out of his name, and generally correct people who make this error. With a certain Castilian flair, of course.

          1. Got it. Would I were as artful.

  22. I love the lame “tinkering with Prop 13” – showing just how empty that shriveled up sac is. Prop 13 should be dynamited, not tinkered with. As most initiatives are – it is crap law through and through. It won’t be changed though. Prop 13 wasn’t passed to be good law – it was passed as an object lesson to idiot politicians (and opinion-makers): you can only fuck the people for so long. Once the people are pissed, they will do things that everyone will regret, but that’s what you get for pissing them off.

    1. You are confused.

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  25. I write only to note that “Sanctimonious Endomorph” would be a great screen name. Or maybe the title track for a punk album.

  26. Then you have found three columnists who are not based in reality.


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