national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]

















K. Lloyd Billingsley - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

K. Lloyd Billingsley is Editorial Director for the Pacific Research Institute and has been widely published on topics including on popular culture, defense policy, education reform, and many other current policy issues. [go to Billingsley index]

A legislature ruling in denial of real consequences...
[K. Lloyd Billingsley] 10/30/03

Yes, it is true that "we spent too much," as Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante candidly conceded on television during the recall campaign. Mr. Bustamante's cure for this problem, taking even more money from the people, did not find much favor with voters. But beyond the simple arithmetic, and the obvious truth that a state should not spend more than it takes in, lies a broader malaise.

In September, George Will observed that California resembles Britain in 1975, when "bad government by both parties - meaning bad decisions by British voters - had brought that nation to the brink of bankruptcy." While Britain was "the sick man of Europe," Will wrote, "California is the sick man of the Republic." The problem, in his view, is infantilism.

"The public has repeatedly used the initiative process to mandate spending that prevents sane budgeting," Mr. Will said, "And the public has used this recall to throw a tantrum about what it, the public, has wrought."

Will noted in California a dearth of the "vigorous virtues" that rescued Britain under Margaret Thatcher, and which together can be called "adulthood." These include entrepreneurship, deferral of gratification, individual initiative, and personal responsibility in making appetites conform to resources. California needs all that, but must also shed another prevailing ethos - utopianism.

Utopianism is the impulse that prompts politicians to launch policies that either have never been implemented elsewhere or have already proven disastrous. It is the notion that every problem has a political solution and that perfection is attainable through politics. It is the belief, tenaciously held, that a ruling political class can do great things for masses of people at no cost or adverse effect to the people themselves.

Under utopianism, a tax dollar can be sent to Sacramento, go out on the town, and return to a district with no loss whatsoever in bureaucratic overhead. Worst of all, under utopianism, ideas have no consequences. That is why the actual utopia is always just around the corner.

Before the recall, California received a vivid example of utopianism in action - a proposal for universal health care by state senator Sheila Kuehl. The measure was an open-ended entitlement, based on residency, with no deductibles or co-pays. It would have provided practically unlimited benefits, just about everything short of pedicures and plastic surgery on demand. The government would have been in total control and private insurance as we know it would no longer exist. The plan would have been financed by new taxes, but it came billed as free health care.

When Mark Paul of the Sacramento Bee interviewed Sen. Kuehl about the legislation, she "couldn't explain the details of her own bill." Yet, as Paul also noted, Kuehl recently contended that the Senate would have to save California from the "ignorance" of the new governor, who is getting called a lot of childish names these days.

Infantilism combined with utopianism makes for infantopianism. As the new administration, particularly the auditors, will quickly discover, infantopianism has consequences. The cure will be difficult and painful. California needs to grow up and get real.


copyright 2003 Pacific Research Institute



Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005