Sunday, May 13, 2012

You're not California dreamin', you're in Mississippi!

    The state of California has been trying to cut the budget (but not the high-speed rail!), and it looks like the $9.2 billion budget shortfall is going to be a $16 billion budget shortfall instead. I'm sure they can make it to $22 billion before the smoke clears.
    Of course, the state is looking to fix this mess and for ways to increase revenue. Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing a quarter-cent sales tax increase, and of course -- drum roll please -- higher taxes on the wealthy! There was plenty of advance warning about this, but why should Democrats tend to business when they can stick it to the wealthy?
    The idea that we ought to pay for everything through highly progressive income taxes is a poor one, and California, with its highly progressive income tax, is Exhibit No. 1 for that proposition. When times are flush the rich make lots of money and pay lots in taxes and governments spend like sailors on leave. When times are tough the rich hunker down and there simply is no revenue whatsoever to fund anything.
    Funding government with taxes that are broadly based creates not only a more reliable revenue stream but a more responsible government. When the middle class is footing the bill the middle class demands accountability.
    California's impending problems have been plain for all to see for years now. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to rein in spending a bit, but then the unions managed to clip his wings by rallying the people to defeat propositions that would have allowed for real fiscal restraint. Republican Meg Whitman ran in 2010 on a platform of immediately tackling the state's problems, but state voters instead voted for Jerry Brown, who promised to pretend the state didn't have any problems for a few years.
    Here's the news about California. Unless the federal government puts the state on a permanent bailout status, the state is finished. And I don't think the nation is willing to just start writing these people checks.
    For years the people of California have thumbed their noses at the rest of the nation by ignoring our immigration laws, with municipalities declaring themselves "sanctuary cites," and by putting hordes of illegal immigrants on local welfare. And while illegal immigrants don't qualify for federal benefits, their American-born children do, and California has a reputation of being very generous. The bill has simply been passed on to the taxpayer and the effect on and horrendous cost to the public schools has been ignored.
    Meanwhile the state has pushed ahead with ultra-expensive space-age projects, such as high-speed rail lines that few are likely to ride.
    Well, the game is finally up. California lacks the will to expel or do anything about its illegal aliens, so they will continue to pull its economy into Third World status. In fact, California lacks the will to do anything about anything except try to heap more taxes on the so-called wealthy and working people, who are already leaving that state in droves. The state certainly isn't going to cut wages to its overpaid civil servants, nor tamper with their bloated pensions.
    California schools used to be the best in the nation. A combination of the introduction of hordes of low-IQ immigrants and fad-a-year educational policies has made them among the worst. This is not hyperbole. When the 2011 NAEP math and reading scores were released, California beat out only one state: Mississippi, plus the District of Columbia. (As we say in Mississippi, "Thank God for the District of Columbia!")
    I'm willing to bet that California is full of people who are convinced that there is a "magic bullet" that will improve that state's test scores. Increase funding? It can help, but not much. Move to whole reading instruction, as the state did a few years ago? A disaster -- reading scores plummeted. Start teaching every student algebra in the eighth grade, as the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation convinced them to do? Stupid idea! Bill Gates has an IQ of more than 150. Slow students shouldn't take algebra until 10th or 11th grade, when they might get it. Why not teach these students to weld or something useful?
    Those of us who live in Mississippi know that there are no magic wands or magic bullets to solving our state's problems, educationally or otherwise. Improvement comes a spoonful at a time. In my lifetime we know we can't hope to beat Iowa or Massachusetts educationally, but maybe we can beat Alabama or Georgia. But I'm realistic; our chances against these states in the classroom are about the same as our chances on the football field. They are trying hard, too. We can do it, but it will take both hard work and a bit of luck.
    California could get itself off the bottom by expelling all of its illegal immigrants. Of course, it's too late for those who got here 20 or more years ago and had children, but there are plenty of illegal aliens drawing welfare and ruining life for ordinary Californians who could be expelled. The elected officials of California just need to decide who they serve, Californians or Central Americans. I think we all know the answer to that question.
    And so California will remain on the bottom educationally in a state of constant economic crisis, with the only economy to make Greece look like Switzerland. California does have tremendous wealth and resources, and with draconian resolve and determination it could turn itself around. But we know this wealth can't last. They will eventually chase it off or eat it up.
    Welcome to Mississippi, Dudes!

1 comment:

someoneinnorthms said...

I'm not saying we should be satisfied with our ranking among the fifty, but it's going to be awfully tough for Mississippi to move up on most lists. Mississippi has to improve faster than another state improves in order to go up just one notch. And, as you pointed out, other states are not likely to hold still so we can pass them. This concept, in reverse, demonstrates the absolutely horrible consequences of allowing unfettered illegal immigration. It takes a huge influx of under-achievers to pull down the "average" of a high-achieving state. (and I do not mean to disparage by using the term under-achievers. I just mean that those individuals are doing more poorly than those they are judged against--largely due to starting so far behind by having to learn the English language.)