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Stop feeding more taxes to bloated & lethargic bureaucracy up in Sacramento

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POSTED July 19, 2010 12:43 a.m.
Getting Californians back to work won’t happen in significant numbers until Sacramento finally comes to grips with the basic lesson of the Great Recession: Economic health can’t be sustained from spending beyond your means.

Whoever you want to blame the mortgage crisis on it is abundantly clear that young Wall Street turks lacking any type of ethics as well as those buying homes that common sense should have told them they couldn’t  afford have - or are having - their wings clipped.

For every company that overextended itself borrowing to acquire other companies and every home owner going under due to the loan they signed and not due to a change in employment there are nine other companies and homeowners that steered clear of the financial quick sand.

What you see today are many companies again growing cautiously and people buying homes that suit their budgets and doing so with loans they can handle.

Unfortunately the state is still doing business the same way it did five years ago.

Legislators are talking about adding new programs and expanding old ones even though they have yet to close a $21 billion budget deficit. Regulations require money to enforce. And it is money the state doesn’t have.

Of course, there are those who want to raise taxes instead of doing real tough stuff like examining everything the state does and getting rid of the least critical functions and finding ways to do what functions remain as efficiently as possible as well as spending the least amount of money as possible.

The legal games being played such as the one over paying state employees a minimum wage until a budget is signed is nothing but a distraction. The state needs to reduce costs. The only way to do that is to shed employees and re-examine every program to determine if it can be done for less money or if it is even needed.

Do we really need a California Arts Council?

Why do we need almost 50 county offices of education, They represent a layer of education bureaucracy created after the Gold Rush as one-room schools popped up all over the place. Why not streamline them into regional offices of education, reduce redundancy and - here’s one that will give state employee union leaders heart attacks - decentralize much of the administrative education functions in Sacramento to trim state worker rolls and to increase local control over what goes on in the classroom.

And why do we need three state-financed systems of higher education especially since the state university system is trying so hard to duplicate the University of California campuses? Yes, higher or continuing education is important to the economy but it would seem to make more sense that instead of trying to expand the CSU and UC systems that an effort be undertaken to find ways of changing how education is delivered.

You may always need teaching hospitals but to get a degree in many disciplines such as political science do you need a four year program that is contained within the confines of an institute of higher learning or does it need to be 120 or so units of lectures, hitting the books, and labs?

Or do you really need a four year degree all at once? Why not develop programs that essentially start with a year or two of traditional college and then have continuing education in the profession that a student is seeking to enter. It would eliminate fears of whether jobs in the chosen field would be there after a traditional four years in college plus it would be able to wed growing experience with higher academic concepts in specific study areas.

The bottom line is there have got to be more efficient and effective ways to earn degrees in most disciplines.

Education for all practical purposes at the highest level hasn’t evolved that much in terms of how it is structrured since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Using new technology to do old school stuff isn’t rethinking the vessel. It is simply another way of delivering the same goods.

Meg Whitman has it half right. We don’t need new taxes.

Jerry Brown also has it partially right. We need to rethink how we do things.

What we don’t need to do is keep throwing money at a state government system as it is akin to putting a kid on a 20,000 calorie a day fast food diet while rest
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