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TUESDAY   The Greatest Generation?
by Ray Haynes [politician] 10/24/06 

A lot of comments have been directed at this country’s “greatest generation,” those who suffered the Great Depression, fought World War II, and then rebuilt this country from the ruins of those catastrophic events. 

I remember, as my generation attended college and entered the workforce, a lot of debate among my peers as to what we would do when we take over.  We all thought we would “do it right,” make this country a better place to work, live and raise a family.  I think I can say, having inherited a sizable legacy from the “Greatest Generation,” the baby boomers have pretty much screwed things up.


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][go to Haynes index]

My peers really thought they were smarter than anybody else.  Just ask them.  They will tell you how much smarter they are than you.  You are greedy.  If you keep your money, you will just spend it on selfish things, like food, clothing and shelter for you and your family.  You have to give your money to them, so they can spend it on food, clothing and shelter for your family.  Medical care? Education?  If you choose your doctor or your children’s school and pay for it, you will refuse to make sure your kids are healthy or can read and write.  If they choose your kid’s doctor or school and pay for it, your children will get quality health care or education.

Of course, you have to hire them to do the work, and because they are so much smarter than you about what is good for you, they are going to require you, by use of government rules and regulations, to pay them a lot of money.  They then use that power and money to enhance their power and money, not because they are greedy.  Of course not, you are the greedy one, not them, because you don’t want to give them more of your money.

As a result of the arrogance of my generation, our health care system is falling apart, and our education system has collapsed.  Government is bloated, incompetent, and inert.  My generation is so smart, however, that these problems cannot possibly be our fault, so we keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting to make things better.

Most of the initiatives on this November’s ballot prove this point.  With the notable exceptions of Propositions 83, 85, and 90, the rest of the initiatives grow government, increase taxes, and/or expand government spending beyond all comprehension.

When I joined the state legislature in 1992, total state general fund spending was $42 billion.  Our bonded indebtedness was about $15 billion.  The Legislature talked about floating a $3 billion school bond.  Today, total general fund spending is $102 billion; our bonded indebtedness exceeds $50 billion, and we have floated $35 billion in school bonds in the last six years.  My colleagues in the state legislature still think we are not spending enough money, that we don’t have enough money to build schools, and that the people of the state of California are still too cheap because they don’t want to pay more in taxes.

When the “greatest generation” took over state government, they built an entire freeway system, a water system, a higher education system, and our entire K-12 structure on a state budget of less than $15 billion general fund per year.  We can’t build a dam, a freeway, a levee, a school or a university on $102 billion.  We can hire 50,000 new bureaucrats who will sit around and collect $100,000 a year to think about how they can build a freeway, school, dam, or university better, but they will never actually build anything.

I wonder what our kids will say about us when we hand this mess over to them. CRO

Mr. Haynes is a California Assemblyman repesenting Riverside and Temecula and frequent contributor to CaliforniaRepublic.org.


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