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The Adventures of Arnold in Wackoland

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POSTED July 3, 2009 2:30 a.m.
The Mad Hatter has nothing on the California Legislature these days.

Sacramento - The Craziest Place on Earth – makes Mr. Toad’s Tea Party look like a meeting of the Mensa Society.

After missing the deadline (surprise, surprise) to pass the budget Wednesday, the Twiddle-Dees and Twiddle-Dums on both sides of the aisle were blaming each other for swelling the deficit by another $2 billion.

If that is supposed to raise your ire and side with the self-righteous folks who are working overtime these days to spend California into oblivion against Arnold who is apparently prepping for a comeback role as General Custer, then the Mad Hatter makes perfect sense mercury poisoning and all.

The $2 billion that the deficit ballooned by is $2 billion they could have cut from local education prior to the clock striking midnight to herald the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

This, of course, would be wonderful news for the state politicians to not worry about another $2 billion to cut but it begs the question, who is sniffing the mercury vapors in Sacramento?

The $2 billion is money they committed to local school districts almost a year ago while requiring them to proceed with state mandated programs and spending money before they had it. Cutting $2 billion by July 1 would have eased the collective consciousness of the Red Queen in the Assembly and The Terminator but it would have devastated local districts.

Of course, that is typical of Sacramento. They don’t just pass the buck onto local government. They take local government’s money and then demand they follow state edicts without cutting back on previous state edicts. Then when everything is falling apart they chastise local government – especially schools - for not doing their jobs.

The rationale of Sacramento would drive the White Rabbit nuts.

The real problem is no different than what Alice suffered. The nightmare is real but the wealth that has disappeared was imaginary, to put it politely, or fake to be blunt.

The entire budgeting process for the past eight years or so has been pure fantasy based on unsustainable property values and taxing profits off stocks that rose faster than yeast in a bakery.

It was all fake. All of it. So what did Sacramento do? Instead of proceeding with caution, they spent money like it was going out of style. So when the state took a fall the first time around in the early part of this decade, they set about putting the Humpty Dumpty of a state budget back on its precarious perch. It didn’t stay there for long yet that hasn’t stopped them from trying to put the thing back together again with even more taxes.

As Twiddle-Dee and Twiddle-Dum battle over what to cut and not to cut as they also squabble over taxes, they have lost touch with reality big time.

Property taxes are expected to take another major dive in the coming months. That means regardless of what they do now, the deficit will keep getting bigger and bigger. The debate when the deficit jumped from $14 billion to $24 billion will look like a disagreement at a tea party in comparison.

We’re going deeper in the rabbit hole while the legislature is being sweet talked by state employee unions to save their jobs at all costs.

It is a maddening world up in Sacramento where truth is stranger than fiction and a dollar taxed is two dollars spent. Even Lewis Carroll couldn’t come up with a tale so bizarre as the budget they are spinning together in Sacramento as printers work around the clock churning out IOUs.

It’s time for Sacramento to realize the party is over and to stop looking for magic pills that makes revenues larger and spending smaller while not enraging their core constituencies who are yelling “off with their heads” in Dolby Sound.
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