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Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Cruel Ones

A California appeals court has upheld an Order by Gov. Arnold Schwarzennager temporarily cutting state employees back to the federal minimum wage since the California legislature has not passed a budget and is facing a $19 billion annual deficit. As reported in The San Francisco Chronicle:

The governor has the authority to lower most state workers' pay to the federal minimum wage if a state budget isn't in place, a state appeals court ruled Friday, the second day of California's 2010-11 fiscal year.

The ruling came one day after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the state controller to cut pay for about 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The court case began in 2008, when Schwarzenegger made a similar order. Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, defied the demand and was sued by the Republican governor, but a budget was approved before the case was resolved.

In Illinois, the state simply has stopped paying bills (emphasis mine):

Even by the standards of this deficit-ridden state, Illinois’s comptroller, Daniel W. Hynes, faces an ugly balance sheet. Precisely how ugly becomes clear when he beckons you into his office to examine his daily briefing memo.

He picks the papers off his desk and points to a figure in red: $5.01 billion.

“This is what the state owes right now to schools, rehabilitation centers, child care, the state university — and it’s getting worse every single day,” he says in his downtown office.

Mr. Hynes shakes his head. “This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,” he says. “That is obscene.”

These scenes, to greater and lesser effect, are being played out in states and municipalities around the country, as decades of unsustainable budgets, union contracts, and pensions, are meeting up with reality. We are all Central Falls now.

The federal government is not far behind, and is forcing regulation and taxes on the economy which severely damage private job growth.

The path of big government and the welfare state is the path to broken promises and inter-generational warfare. The workers in California and vendors in Illinois are paying the price for the unsustainable public sector union contracts which preceded them, sometimes by decades.

Yet those of us who call for fiscal sanity and reform are derided by people like Sheldon Whitehouse and other Democrats as having no compassion.

Just the opposite is true.

It's called tough love. Those who feed the big government addiction are the cruel ones.

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  1. Let this play itself out. As more and more people see in their local newspapers that police, firefighters, and other essential services that make society a secure place being cut in favor of education and pork, then the mental connections will be made with common people. They will see that the backroom deals that politicians (notice I didn't say Democrats) have made to prolong their profitable lifestyles in the halls of public office override even the most basic concern for the people whom they are supposed to represent.
    This is a very good thing, ladies and gentlemen. California has needed to shape up and get back to reality for some time now. Illinois? This cesspool has needed to be drained also. Out of respect for the Professor, I will mention nothing of the Northeast corridor, sans NH.
    Is it any wonder that the areas hardest hit are major Democratic strongholds? Well, when the bills aren't being paid, and no one is coming when people in these jurisdictions are dialing 911, let us see where the voter's loyalties lie. It must be made clear to the rest of the states through example that they must turn this country around through smaller government and fiscal control. Those who are willing to sacrifice the safety and well being of public at large to advance pork must be shut down and run out.
    When all the bills are being paid, and the balances are in the black, then these can be time for the "compassionate society". Try being compassionate when your electricity is shut off.

  2. And people are waiting for us to turn into Greece when we are already there.

  3. The answer is simple: raise taxes.

    Double the sales tax. Triple the income tax. Raise every tax in sight. When the money comes in, spend every penny.

    Then, those of us who DON'T live in Illinois will have an example we can point to.

  4. JayC,

    I live in Illinois, and unfortunately you have hit the nail on the head.

    That is exactly the plan of our Democratic politicians in Illinois...

  5. Let this play itself out. As more and more people see in their local newspapers that police, firefighters, and other essential services that make society a secure place being cut in favor of education and pork, then the mental connections will be made with common people.

    Indeed. Why not, instead of cutting funds for police/firefighters, etc.--you know, the stuff we actually need from government--just lay off around half (if not more) of the bureaucrats instead, and give the ones who remain about a 15% pay cut? This would be the smart way to cut government costs.

  6. Robert: I agree with you except that when all is said and done and government is back in the black, it is not the place of government to take the reins of charity but rather to unleash those institutions that have in the past taken care of such things.

  7. The problem in Illinois is not just that it doesn't pay it's bills -- it has a Governor that likes to hand out big lumps of cash as one-off special awards at the same time he is NOT paying teachers, etc. For example, in the midst of this great huge sinkhole of debt we're in, he just awarded $6 million to build the Museum of Broadcast Communications. He simply CANNOT restrain himself. And, apparently, no one in Springfield can or will restrain him, either. November oughta be interesting, that's all I've got to say...