"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Time" Article on Calif. Budget Crisis Proves this "News" Magazine is Irrelevant

Do you believe that California's current financial situation (bordering on crisis) stems from a lack of taxation?

A former California resident of over thirty-three years myself, I know of absolutely no one who believes this. And considering the amount of taxes Californians pay (California has the highest sales tax, gasoline tax, and vehicle registration fees in the country, and the highest corporate tax of the Western states) it's not hard to understand the universality of that opinion. Likewise considering the dismal condition of California's public schools and quality of public education, the horrible state of overcrowded county hospitals and clinics, the public works projects (walk around Los Angeles with unsullied eyes, observe cratered streets, crumbling sidewalks, and "out of order" parking meters), and crime rate (I was shot at twice in the L.A. area while working as a driver for a special effects company-- and this was several years after the Rodney King Riots), one often wonders where this colossal amount of money has gone.

Everyone is hit hard. "The top 1 percent of Californians (incomes of $2.3 million and up) pay 7.8 percent in state taxes, while those making $20,000 or less pay 11 percent of their incomes in state taxes. In other words, the lowest wage earners can expect to see up to $2,200 of their income sent to local, county and state governments in the form of sales tax, gas tax and other taxes."

Ah, but just an hour ago I read this article by Kevin O'Leary in Time under the heading of U.S. News (as can be seen here at this link). Please read it. I was honestly struck dumb-- not by its insights, mind you, but by the sheer ineptitude and idiocy of it. True audacity.

A sample of O'Leary's article: "What has brought California to such a perilous state? How did its government become so wildly dysfunctional? One obvious cause is the deep recession that has caused tax revenues to plunge for all states. But California's woes have a set of deeper reasons: direct democracy run amok, timid governors, partisan gridlock and a flawed constitution all contribute to budget chaos and people in pain."

Is this man serious? "Direct democracy run amok?" A "flawed constitution" (it would be amusing and telling for O'Leary to list the flaws in California's constitution but he doesn't)? "Timid governors?" This is the voice of an American reporter? Why, if only people couldn't vote directly and governors had the proper will, then things would get done-- in this case repealing Proposition 13, a check on taxing residents out of their houses as property values increased. California is one of the most tax-heavy states in the country and it's falling apart... but O'Leary and Time would have you believe that the problem is not enough taxes.

I was going to break this moronic article down line-by-line, but found that Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters.org already did on a practical level, and managed to do it with a mind seemingly unclouded with incredulous derision (as my mind currently is). Please, read his analysis as he tears O'Leary's astonishingly weak argument down while exerting only a modicum of logic and research.

What is significant in this nonsense, to me, is O'Leary's and the Time editors' apparent belief that they can control truth so haphazardly. I have routinely scoffed at many claims made within Time in the recent past, all of which showcased ideological zeal replacing research and reporting, but this article was the most brazen attempt to pass off unsupported viewpoints as news, ideology as fact.

The writers and editors of Time have proved to me what a low opinion they hold of their readers. These men and women apparently think they simply can cram propaganda into our heads without even the unethical pretext of distorting the facts-- they simply created their own (I never dreamed of a day when I would pine for the intentional distorting of facts...). A simple re-writing of history and a mere claim is all they need, and they expect their readers to ignore the mountains of evidence that surrounds all of us daily. This is not a matter of a difference of opinion, nor a view colored by conflicting ideologies. This is something else entirely.

Jean-Paul Marat, of the French Revolution, was famous for his espousal of executions. In his paper, Friend of the People, Marat would routinely call for the guillotining of those disloyal to "revolutionary convictions." He would make baseless promises that conditions would stabilize and improve (Paris in particular and France in general was in utter chaos at the time) if more "counter-revolutionaries" were executed. And after they were marched off to the guillotine, beheaded, and things remained chaotic, Marat would once again call for blood and promise improvement just after this next batch were killed. It was a cycle repeated until his murder in 1793.

Time seems to have have subscribed to a (thankfully) bloodless form of the Marat theory of journalism. They make baseless promises that more taxes will allow the government to take good care of you. Good schools and freeways and universities and help for the struggling poor and wonderfully progressive prison psychiatrists are all right around the corner... Ignore the fact that massive funds are already overspent on ineffective programs, pipe dream projects, and unconscionable graft and waste. Wait, not enough to pay for it all? Just another painful tax hike and then everything will be okay... Just one more... And then another... We promise it'll work this time. Trust us.

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