Community Commentary

Giving my two cents on the state deficit

My two cents on the 5/18 letter to the editor “Solving the State Deficit” (“path to responsibility”) whereby we would pay off our $16 billion state debt with a water and gasoline tax: What would that accomplish and what would we learn from it? Sadly, not much. 

The people we elect or hire entrusted to serve, protect, and teach are mostly good-hearted public servants, worthy of their generous salaries and pensions (which, by the way, must be reformed). But, when schools and universities mismanage billions of tax dollars, fail to teach yet promote self-esteem and socialist nonsense, illegals tunnel under the expensive fence on the border, frivolous lawsuits clog our courts, the post office is inefficient, streets are full of potholes, and politicians fail us at every turn, it seems to me something’s rotten in paradise. The list is endless, seriously eroding public trust while so many good people are struggling and out of work. Out of frustration, disgust and apathy settle in and we change the channel.

Arnold shamed our great state and did nothing for eight years. Jerry Brown wants to increase the sales tax. If I’m irresponsible, should my neighbor bail me out? Haven’t we seen enough of this? Have we learned nothing from the banking debacle, stimulus packages, hand-outs, and failed policies while government continues to reward special interests and take the taxpayers for a ride? Have you listened to a city council, state legislative meeting, or federal hearing lately? Scary.

It is naïve to suggest that we, the people of California, should pitch-in to level our state debt. A regressive tax is defined as one affecting lower income people disproportionately. While taxation might encourage conservation and better habits, because we’re “Rich America” does not mean we can or should pay more for gasoline or water. The fat cat politicians, fat cat unions, and fat cat lobbyists would do their best to misappropriate the funds and remain addicted to waste, corruption, and overall shortsightedness, instead of working toward a serious state and national energy policy. So we slide on down the road to what used to be “Rich Greece,” further enriching the “Rich Middle East” — read “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” by Tom Friedman.

Many public forums now exist as politicians pander with their talking points and promises, spending ungodly amounts of money, all geared up to ram it to us again. Last week, I heard one of them claiming he would bring jobs back to California. I wonder where he’s been while they’ve been steadily heading out of state and off shore. Oh yeah, representing us in Washington! It is often suggested that term limits would help. Behavior wouldn’t necessarily change; it would just create more urgency, making politicians more vulnerable to the influence of lobbyists. The “pigs at a trough” mentality, power-grabbing, and constant campaigning would continue.

Tax our water usage? Remember the film “Chinatown”? Most people today rely on bottled water. Millions of bottles are thrown “away” daily after brief usage. Because the tap isn’t fit to drink? Because it isn’t convenient? Because the municipal water supply is polluted with fluoride, mercury, lead, and arsenic? Run-off from chemical fertilizers and the aluminum mining industry, according to the water district.

We pay our water bills, we pay for plasticized water, we pay for trash removal services, landfill like there’s no tomorrow, ship tons of plastic and paper garbage to China, we spend hours participating in beach clean-ups, and we should pay MORE tax to the state on top of all that?!

Our state and our country are in serious trouble. Do you approve of business as usual, entitlement culture, waste and corruption, and rewarding bad behavior with more taxes and bailouts? “The only way for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to do nothing,” sayeth the early American patriot, Edmund Burke. Get educated on the issues and express your politics with your voice, your ballot, and your wallet.

Celia Kiewit is an Encinitas resident and serves on the Algalita Marine Research board of directors.


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