In approving a ballot measure sought by Gov. Jerry Brown to raise taxes for several years, Californians took a step toward improving the state's fiscal situation and avoiding education cuts.
The approval is a significant victory for Mr. Brown, a Democrat, who has staked his governorship on a campaign to raise taxes to ease the effects of the state's budget crunch.
"Last night, Californians made the courageous decision to protect our schools and colleges and strengthen the California dream," Mr. Brown said in prepared remarks. "The people of California have put their trust in a bold path forward and I intend to do everything in my power to honor that trust."
Here's the real, unvarnished truth:
In approving a ballot measure sought by Gov. Jerry Brown to raise taxes for several years, Californians relieved their governor of the need to impose much-needed fiscal discipline.
Californians made the "courageous" decision to seize yet more money from upper-income earners, who already shoulder most of the burden of taxes, and give it to the educational system, which consumes unprecedented quantities of money yet delivers miserable results.
Yes, as Milton Friedman once said:
There’s been one underlying basic fallacy in this whole set of social security and welfare measures, and that is the fallacy - this is at the bottom of it – the fallacy that it is feasible and possible to do good with other people’s money. That view has two flaws. If I want to do good with other people’s money, I first have to take it away from them. That means that the welfare state philosophy of doing good with other people’s money, at it’s very bottom, is a philosophy of violence and coercion. It’s against freedom, because I have to use force to get the money. In the second place, very few people spend other people’s money as carefully as they spend their own.
It's hardly courageous for the majority of voters to decide to take money from a minority and spend it on another minority. Instead of patting ourselves on the back, we should be ashamed of our cravenness. Will no one stand up to the teachers' union?
In any event, it should come as no surprise to supply-siders if, in fact, the money that Prop. 30 promises to raise fails to materialize. Prop. 30 is likely to encourage even more of the "rich" and small business owners to join the ongoing exodus from California to states with lower tax burdens and a more friendly business climate.