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Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly]

A Caricature of Themselves
A 4% cut? Children will starve, old people will die...
[Ray Haynes] 7/15/03

I want to let you in on some insider secrets. When we Republicans get together, our favorite comedic routine is to caricature Democrats’ comments about Republicans. We all chuckle as we mimic things we think Democrats say about Republicans in private. “Republicans want old people to die, and children to starve.” “Republicans want to kick puppies, and shoot Bambi.” “Republicans want to make kids drink dirty water, and die of emphysema.” And so on. Little did I know that I would actually hear these words passing the lips of my Democrat friends in the Legislature just this week.

The Assembly Republicans put up their budget proposal for a vote in the Legislature. It was a modest thing, motivated by the thought that when you face unprecedented budget deficits, it might be a good idea to reduce spending a little. Not much—just 4.2 cents of every dollar we are spending now. Heck, our proposal was still at least $8 billion more than the state spent in 1999-2000.

We began with the concept that the state should get the most bang for its buck. The federal government matches state money put into health programs. The state legislature has unilaterally created a lot of health programs that overlap the federal programs, but the state doesn’t seek the federal matching funds. Assembly Republicans thought it would be a good idea to shift the dollars spent on these overlapping programs to, in essence, double our money without sacrificing benefits. There would be no effect on the actual availability of health care; we would just move the money to a federal program, which was exactly the same as the state program, where we would get matching money. You would have thought we were killing kids and old folks in the street.

One Democrat member actually likened us to Stalin, claiming that murdering people by the thousands was easier than killing them one by one, because people would be desensitized to the killing. No joke—those words actually flowed from a Democrat’s mouth. Old people were going to die in the street. We were going to cut off dog food for disabled people; children were going to end up starving and ignorant. The Speaker of the Assembly actually said we would make children sick, throw dead foster kids bodies on the street, and help violent husbands continue to abuse their wives and kids “rather than ask a millionaire to pay a penny more in taxes.”

I don’t know about you, but I lived in California in June of 2000, the year the state spent $66 billion on its state government ($8 billion less than the Assembly Republican plan). Heck, I was here in 1993, when we spent $40 billion (about half what we spend now). I don’t remember seeing dead foster kids on the street, or even state police lining old folks up and shooting them. They spent $77.8 billion this year. We asked them to reduce spending. That caused lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Four cents of every dollar of state spending—Isn’t there at least that much waste in government? The Democrats say no. Yeah, right! Old people will die. Yeah, right! Children will starve. Yeah, right! Polluters will run rampant, and rape, kill, and pillage. Give me a break.

You can’t argue with this kind of fear-mongering. It is not intended to be a rational debate; it is intended to inflame people. You now know why a budget plan seems so far away. You can’t reason with someone who has no sense of proportion, someone with cartoon characteristics. In this debate, the Democrats have become caricatures of themselves. You had to see it to believe it.


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