Monday, November 06, 2006

How Stupid are We?

The California political establishment has asked us to take on $35 billion of new bond debt, without any indication of how this will be paid off, or giving any assurance that it will actually solve any of the problems it's supposed to be spent on. In fact, the only promise we've been given is that they'll be back to ask us for more in a couple of years.

Before you even think about the merits of what these propositions are purported to pay for, do some simple math: How much money are we talking about borrowing, and how many people live in California. Now imagine that your share of this debt, over $1000, was personally yours. This is a bit sobering if, like most of us, you've wrestled with credit card debt sometime in your life. And don't forget, if you're married, that's a cool grand of debt for each of you--not to mention your kids, who'll have to do their part to pay it off, even though they probably won't see any benefit. Certainly, any traffic relief that 1B will pay for will be long erased by the time my 6-year-old daughter will be old enough to drive, but she'll be paying off these 30-year bonds out of taxes from her first couple of jobs.

The claim that we can spend money on capital projects without raising taxes is only true if we take that money from somewhere else, like education, law enforcement, or (ironically) from the operating budgets of transportation systems. Duh!

Now turning to the proposals themselves--beyond being fiscally irresponsible, they are downright insulting. Through numerous means, our state leadership had led us to our current quagmire of un-affordable housing, smog, and nightmare commutes. Commercial and residential zoning policies have made long, solo drives to work the only commuting options available to most Californians. And now we're being asked to pony up to perpetuate this mess.

Even if some good may come from this spending (1B throws a few bones to transit, 1C will give cheap digs to a few needy souls), I'm urging you to vote no on all of this crap, and tell our state government to actually fix what's broken: incent employers to make workplaces accessible without driving, force cities to allow enough housing to meet demand, and make drivers pay for the real cost of highways on a miles-driven basis.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Yeah, the way these bonds keep getting passed is disturbing. I'm so frustrated with the voters in our state.