May 27, 2009

Using the Same Story Everywhere to Push for Budgets

Justin Katz

There's a familiar sound to status-quo argumentation that Matt Welch's highlights among those who lament that "petulant voters failed to heed the weary wisdom of their betters" in California:

Calfornia lawmakers, and the unions who put them into office, will do everything in their power to cut services first, employees last. That is indeed a crucial reason why we got here in the first place. Any analysis that doesn't explore how a higher-than-inflation-plus-immigration budget has failed to deliver on any increase in services, is not an analysis worth taking more seriously than common propaganda.

When special interests are done soaking up new money, the not-so-paradoxical result seems to be even less money for such basic government functions as infrastructure. And whether the government in question is local or state, the repeated talking points hardly stand up to a moment's display of reality:

California companies would then find it harder to attract high-value employees who might be dubious about moving to a state with sub-par schools. Here is the fundamental point behind every California budget story: The state has increased spending on K-12 education by 40 percent under Schwarzenegger (it has to; by dumb law, 40 cents on every state dollar has to go to education). The main drain on the California economy is that these massive increases in spending are producing ZERO noticeable improvements. Because the union-run school districts are infamous laboratories for inefficiency, job protection, and corruption, the state spends and spends, with nothing to show for it. Teachers unions are literally running out of other people's money, and now they warn us about "sub-par schools"? That par got done subbed a long time ago. If politicians, journalists, and other "experts" want to defend the status quo (of constant spending increases), then they need to explain why Californians need to keep throwing more and more good money after bad on a K-12 system that is showing no results.

(via Instapundut)