walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Tax This Plutocrat or I’ll Shoot These Kids

Politicians are less likely to kiss babies than to threaten to shoot them these days. Jerry Brown, who is facing increasing opposition to his plan to raise taxes, has a message to voters: without a huge tax increase on the rich, schools will be closed for weeks.

Brown cited a higher authority to defend his stance:

Mr Brown then quoted from the Bible, stressing “the moral dimension” of the need for higher taxes. “Luke 12:48 says: ‘For those of whom much has been given, much is required.’ Those at the high end can brace themselves for seven years and lend schoolkids a helping hand. I appeal to their sense of loyalty and fairness.”

What he didn’t say is that a completely out-of-touch culture among government sector unions and foolish, irresponsible government decisions like his own relentless crusade for a high speed rail boondoggle, a project the state can’t afford and doesn’t need, have played a huge part in creating the very fiscal emergency he’s now mired in.

In effect, Governor Brown is holding the children of California hostage in order to make his life in Sacramento easier. This vote will help him continue to pander to the unions, to keep the Ponzi scheme that is the California state budget running a little longer; it will do little to help the children of California.

This is not all Brown’s fault. Because of its size, its dysfunctional political institutions, and the relentless shortsightedness of its political class, California has been digging itself deeper into a hole for years. And as we noted yesterday (and countless other times, as VM readers well know), this situation is endemic wherever liberal politicians have had the freest hand. Clinging to failing policies and dying institutions and propping them up through draconian, stifling taxation is not the way forward.

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