California Stuck on Stupid

From Reason:

As an example of misplaced priorities, California’s Democratic legislators say they have no time to deal with the pension crisis, busy as they are creating new rules, regulations, and programs. Their big idea was to create a new mini-Social Security system. In their view, the problem isn’t an unaffordable and unsustainable public system that lavishes huge payouts on union members, but a too-stingy private one. That’s almost too goofy to mock, given that the private system isn’t destroying public budgets. That proposal epitomizes the thinking in Sacramento.

The capacity to ignore the impending disaster seems to be a requirement for politicians in the new millennium. And there’s something familiar about this part:

Entrepreneurs take risks. They often fail, but they sometimes make great strides forward. Government employees go to jobs where they cannot be fired except in the most extreme circumstances. They regulate us and provide “services” few of us want. They retire at young ages with pensions that make them the envy of their neighbors. They consume an ever-larger share of the money earned by those who take risks and create growth. Then their unions lobby for more government. And our fellow citizens willingly vote for the politicians who perpetuate this system.

I agree that the electoral system is part of the problem. But our leaders are cowards too concerned with feathering their own nests and tending to their own careers. The last thing any of them will do is tell the truth and in so doing commit political suicide. We Americans love our freebies, and once we’re used to them, telling us your taking them away is grounds for being voted out of office. As a result, nobody in office today or tomorrow will be tackling problems like employee pensions or the overall size of our bloated government. And that’s an issue, too:

The problem is not with one agency, but with the vast expansion of federal and state government, which takes our money and freedoms and leaves a path of destruction wherever it goes.

Read the whole thing.

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