Can I talk to you for five minutes about California, or, to quote 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy, The Gaypublic of Drugifornia? There was once a dream that was California. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish… it was so fragile. At the edge of the continent, past the purple mountains and fruity plains, was to be a found a sanctuary where America’s huddled masses could forget about breathing free and indulge their true passions: fame, frappuccinos, and fornication. This was not a state. It was a shining beacon to beaches, bikinis, biker gangs, burritos, boob jobs, bongs, and the other cornerstones of a developed society.
Unfortunately, Californians are as bad at whispering as they are at putting out wild fires or being straight. They peddled their dream through teen soap operas, Colin Hanks movies, and pop/punk songs to a waiting world and it died quicker than a security guard at a Raiders game. What remains is the bombed out shell of a state that has all the charm of Miami in the 80s except with higher taxes and slightly less cocaine.
Thanks to California, we now know the answer to the age-old quandary: what would happen if 30 million addicts, war protesters, child actors and sex offenders banded together and took over a country? What happens is a deficit of $26.3 billion, an unemployment rate of 9.3%, humans breeding with goats, and a thousand other maladies born from a populace that is heavy on opinions and light on fully-functioning brains.
When it comes to government futility, it is hard to imagine a place south of Moscow better at it than California. The state is simply and obviously ungovernable. Criminals don’t stay in jail. Kids don’t stay in school. Roads don’t work like they’re supposed to. Air doesn’t taste like it’s supposed to. And tax dollars…well, uhh…haha, about those tax dollars…they’re umm…yeah, they’re gone.
As the uproar over the state’s fiscal starvation becomes loud enough to drown out the American Idol auditions, more and more Californians have started scrambling to figure out just what in the hell everyone is talking about. This has split the state between people who can’t figure out what the big deal with a measly $26.3 billion is and people who don’t believe that 26.3 billion is a real number. The rest are just happy to be upset about something and, in all likelihood, probably think they’re raising money for Africa.
Since most of the citizenry is busy trying to count to 26 billion on their toes, The Governator chose last week as the time to send out an innocuous little email letting everyone know that he’ll be appropriating an additional 10% from our paychecks for the next two months. Not to worry though, this is not a tax increase; merely a temporary hike in deductions that will address the state’s current budget “shortfall.” Basically, Uncle Arnie needs an advance on next year’s allowance so he can buy a few lotto tickets and keep the bookies at bay until after Christmas. Besides, we owe him the money anyway. If he winds up taking more of our checks this year than he normally would, he will be happy to send us a refund in April. He’s not taking our money, he’s borrowing it. He’s totally gonna pay us back when he can.
Mr Schwarzenegger is able to get away with this because he knows the average California voter doesn’t understand economic principles like opportunity cost, the time value of money, or direct deposit. Having not been educated by the California public school system, I do understand these principles. I also understand an even more relevant one: the importance of hoarding Halloween candy when it goes on clearance. I love me some candy corn and Reese’s cups and I really could have used that extra 10% of my income on Sunday afternoon. Will I still be able to buy bags of fun size Snickers for $0.85 when I get my tax refund in April? Not likely.
This is the stupefying ineptitude of the California political machine. They raise my taxes in order to open more smog-check stations and hire more police officers to keep me from texting while I’m driving and all they succeed in doing is coming between me and my cheap candy. In Sacramento this is referred to as “collateral damage.” Where I come from it’s referred to as stealing.
I can deal with the flavored air. I can deal with the surcharges on my debit card purchases. I was even getting used to the radio stations that are half Spanish, half English. But I cannot deal with one more cent of my paycheck going to subsidize the spending habits of a government that’s trying desperately to destroy its state before God does. If I wanted that I would have moved to Zimbabwe.
That being said, it’s November 3rd and I haven’t worn long-sleeves in seven months. So, you know, no complaints.