Thursday, October 09, 2003

Good Points from Will

George Will makes a number of very good points re the California travesty in a piece today in the Washington Post:

The put-upon people of California, groaning under the weight of decisions taken by California's electorate, have repeatedly taken lawmaking into their own hands through initiatives that mandate this and that allocation of resources. So an estimated -- no one seems able to say for sure, which says much about the consequences of California populism -- 60 percent to 80 percent of the budget is beyond the control of the governor and Legislature.

One of the new governor's two noteworthy campaign promises is that he will not cut education, which -- thanks to what the public did in a 1988 initiative -- is roughly 50 percent of state spending. His other venture into specificity during the campaign -- a campaign in which he said, brassily and correctly, that "the public doesn't care about figures" -- was his promise to promptly increase by 50 percent a deficit already at $8 billion by repealing the car tax that Davis and the legislature recently tripled.

Very much worth reading. The California mess may be unfixable by anyone until the state constitution is amended to either do away with or severely limit the ability of the people to easily put initiatives and recalls on the ballot. Direct democracy is a prescription for rule by idiots, which is exactly what you have in California today.

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