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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our Economy in Crisis - A Reader's Perspective

Another Crisis Wasted
By Larry Stirling

Philosopher Garrett Hardin committed suicide a few years too soon to witness his prediction of our economic Waterloo coming to fruition.

Hardin’s notion, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” employed the quaint example of a village green overgrazed by neighbors’ cows eventuating in everyone going without milk.

Thus the fate of Easter Island in miniature and the fate of our economy in colossus.

His view was that any resource held “in the public interest” ends up being guarded by no one then subsequently raided by everyone.

That includes the bogus notion that there is such a thing as “The full faith and credit of the United States Government.” There isn’t. Congress does not hock their own land or sign personal notes for their debts. Instead, they impose their disastrous decisions on us.

Dr. Hardin made the mistake of assuming government was a benign force and could be entrusted with policing “the common.”

The government, under its present unchecked democratic control, is a wholesale plunderer of the ultimate public resource, the energy and intelligence of its citizens. Liberal governments treat our businesses and us as slaves to be taxed of resources and steal our time through “mandates.”

The Libertarian’s have this right. Government bribes us with other people’s money and bribes other people with our money grabbing an unconscionable chunk for themselves during the transaction.

Government is a pernicious form of economic cancer resulting in two totally perverse public policies destined to bankrupt any nation: the vilification and over taxation of the productive simultaneous with the creation, adulation, and subsidy of an ever-increasing group of dependents.

Or as Dr. Hardin put it, “We fail to mandate economic sanity because our brains are addled by compassion.”

Dr. Hardin spent many years teaching at the University of California at Santa Barbara. If he were still alive he would have had a clear view of the latest crises generated by our California state government.

The courageous Republican legislators saw the state’s stupendous deficits for what they are: a clear signal that something is mightily amiss in the constitution and operations of California.

To their everlasting credit Republican legislators demanded change.

For months, they were brutalized by the liberal press and their own “RINO” governor for “not understanding” the needs of the voracious state bureaucracy along with their fellow travelers in local government and the myriad other tax-dependent constituencies.

In the end, a few Republicans, instead of demanding reengineering of the state, caved in to the unimaginable pressure.

Thus the courage of the stalwart Republicans was squandered and another crisis wasted.

Already a group of several hundred people have held a rump “constitutional convention summit” in Sacramento to rethink the states current governing document and to find ways around the
Republicans and their sole leverage, the two-thirds vote requirement for annual budget adoption.

Convention proposals include: the elimination of term limits; creation of more, smaller districts to pack the legislature with more liberals; and promoting even more voter fraud by permitting Election Day voter registration.

Every one of those proposals might as well come right out of an ACORN elections-policy committee and probably did.

Each of the above suggestions will substantially steepen our state’s present financial death spiral.

It is true, the state’s unwieldy constitution does need to be amended but here are three major changes needed.

First and foremost constitutionally reverse the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court case ruling in Reynolds v. Sims (377 US 533) which required all state senates to be reapportioned on the basis of population contrary to what their constitutions explicitly provided.

It is the nature of democracies that they lean toward bankrupting their governments. There has to be some brake on that tendency. Thus the existence of senates.

The U.S. Senate is based on geography: two senators per state irrespective of population so that the small states would not be overwhelmed by the large.

California’s constitution, paralleling the Feds, should provide for one senator elected from each county for the same reasons.

The practical advantage of senates is to calm the process, to reflect, to bring some wisdom to the hot-headed, rampaging, greedy Assembly proposals: “to saucer the hot coffee” as George Washington urged upon Alexander Hamilton.

All that was lost at the state level thanks to the Sims decision. Instead of providing mitigating reflection, urban senators were forced to join the spending rush to keep local assembly members from knocking them off their perches.

Next, constitutionally forbid further state borrowing for the obvious reasons. Make it a “pay-as-you-go” rather than an “owe-as-you-go” budget.

And finally, add to the constitution the office of State Auditor. California suffers from major fraud and internal inefficiency. Since there is no constitutional officer designated to check on such profligacy, it goes effectively unaddressed in our state.

Time to think outside the deficit.

Larry Stirling - Retired Superior Court Judge, San Diego

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