Eli Broad and such stars of the billionaire boys club as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and investor Nicolas Berggruen have a great idea on how to save California from sinking into an ocean of debt and failed public policy — soak the middle and upper middle classes.
What could be more ironic than the 1 percent knowing what’s best for the 99 percent, isn’t that how they got so rich in the first place?
According to the plan leaked to the LA Times
over the weekend, Berggruen alone is willing to put up $20 million to sell us on a tax hike that will slash taxes on the low end and raise them sharply on household incomes above $95,000 as well as hammer small business and others with a stiff tax on legal, accounting and other services.
You might think that instead of backing a ballot measure, Broad might decide to forego the $52 million in taxpayer money being spent for a parking garage for his art museum and might give up on his failed Grand Avenue project which has eaten hundreds of millions of dollars in public money.
These billionaires might even back closing all the loopholes they have profited from for so long, reinstating high inheritance taxes, and giving up their use of foundations to protect themselves from taxation so they can use their wealth to buy power and influence.
Don’t hold your breath.
The unions have their own tax hike plan that achieves the same goal of taking money out of the pockets of middle class wage slaves while protecting the pensions and benefits of public employees that are the No. 1 reason government services are being slashed and pressuring for public works spending to create union jobs.
Personally, I’m not against paying more in taxes but like everybody else I want to know exactly where my money is going and to see that the benefits to the community as a whole are real.
That’s the same reason most people oppose tax increases — government at all levels has lost credibility and ceased to represent the interests and values of ordinary people. Government by special interests and influence peddlers is not doing the job of serving the public.
They will say anything to squeeze more money out of your: We have to raise your taxes to be able to get people back to work, to fund the schools so the next generation has the skills to compete in the global economy, so we have clean energy and sustainable communities.
The slogans are hollow because the policies that are enacted don’t follow them.
The leader of the state Senate, Sacramento Democrat Darrell Steinberg, takes the hard line position that there will no more cuts in spending.
“Over the last three years, we’ve done quite enough damage on the cut side, thank you,” he said. “In the short run, I do not see making more cuts.”
few easy options left for balancing California’s budget. Difficult program
reductions already have been passed, and significant one-time budget actions
may be more elusive than in prior years. Accordingly, the remaining work of
eliminating the state’s persistent, annual deficit will require more difficult
cuts in expenditures and/or increases in revenues,” the report said.
important to note that our forecast does not include funding to address some of
the state’s key long-term fiscal and policy problems. If, however, the
Legislature and the Governor were to eliminate the structural deficit this year
or over the course of the next few years, the focus of their efforts could
finally shift away from short-term budget problems and turn to the serious
long-term fiscal issues of the state’s accumulated budgetary obligations and unfunded
If the billionaires really want to help they could put their money into electing people with integrity and a commitment to public service into office at all levels, non-politicians who will actually sit down and doing the hard work of finding solutions that balance out competing interests.
The legislature has been gridlocked for more than 30 years. That’s not going to change until we all decide to vote out the professional pols no matter how much they smile and glad-hand us.