"State in for Rocky Ride"
Ventura Star, November 12, 2002, p, B-4.
By Terry Paulson,
Because of the striking election results on Tuesday, the Democrats can have
their way in California and the Republicans will be able to set the agenda
in Washington. Get ready for the true battle of the Titans--"The California
Dream" takes on "The American Dream." The California Democrats will try to
craft their magic on the fifth largest economy in the world while the
Republicans will shape the domestic agenda to enliven the world's biggest
economy. Both face uncertainty, growing deficits and high expectations of
citizens who expect results. Both parties can put a smile on their face to
mask the indigestion they must be feeling. Because, now, the pressure is on!
The people have given them control, so they will be expected to produce
results. But both are driven by different priorities.
Republicans in Washington will work to keep more money in the pockets of
American taxpayers by making tax relief permanent in hopes of stimulating
the economy. They trust that an improved economy will increase government
revenue over time as the economy grows. They will cut services and budgets
before increasing taxes. While increasing spending on defense and homeland
security by as much as 14%, they will try to limit the budget growth in
other services to 1% to keep costs under control. Cutbacks in some social
program funding will decrease the number served and, in some cases, limit
the services to those most in need of help. Those accustomed to
government-funded benefits will complain loudest. They will introduce
class-action lawsuits to restore services, march in the streets with Jane
Fonda, Harry Belefonte and Barbara Streisand, and promise to take back
Washington in 2004.
California Democrats will work to find targeted taxes to hit the citizens
who can afford to pay and institute more government programs to help those
California citizens hit hard by tough times. In the face of increasing state
debt and poor bond ratings, Democrats will reluctantly raise taxes rather
then exercise fiscal discipline that would in any way disappoint their voter
base. The price tag for increased taxes, mandated benefits, and minimum wage
demands will escalate as Democratic leaders struggle to deliver on their
campaign promises. The high-achieving Californians who already pay 60% of
the tax bill will be asked to pay even more, and they will complain loudly.
Republicans will wave flags and promise that they will rise from the ashes
of defeat to win in 2004! Unfortunately, many California small businesses
who are unable to pay the price of doing business and compete will go out of
business. Attracted by mountain states who are eager to give them lower
taxes and a home for their businesses and their investments, the exodus of
wealthy entrepreneurs unwilling to pay the bill will just continue.
Which "Dream Team" would you want to put your money on in Vegas? One team
has Gray Davis to lead them; the other team has George W. Bush. I know where
I would put my money!
While keynoting a conference in New York, I was given a good-hearted but
strange introduction: "We finally have a guru from California. We know the
nation is tilted that way and all the nuts roll down to that end of the
country!" I took the microphone and immediately countered with a smile, "You
have it all wrong. We don't have any more nuts than you do; It's just that
our weather is so nice that all our nuts are outside." After Tuesday, I
realize that they are not only outside; I'm afraid that far too many of them
voted! Hold onto your pocketbooks fellow Californians. We are in for a few