WASHINGTON STATE: BROKE LIKE ALL THE REST, AND STILL LOOKING FOR MORE WAYS TO SPEND
by Ron Ewart, ©2010
(Dec. 17, 2010) — Almost every state in the Union is a microcosm of the Federal Government. The states learned well and had an excellent teacher and role model in Washington DC. Their class room text is entitled: “How to spend more money than you take in ….. For Dummies.” (and “Dummies” is a kind word for these folks)
Most states are in the red, many are bankrupt and Washington State is no exception. It has to trim close to $4 Billion out of the state budget because those lousy, uneducated voters gutted the state’s pie-in-the-sky revenue stream in the last election. Good for them! Maybe they are finally getting the message. But don’t give ’em too much credit, they also re-elected twinkle toes Patty Murray as Washington State Senator.
In the Seattle Times this morning, in a lead, front-page story above the fold, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire is lamenting her new budget. She says she hates it because “it isn’t moral.” The sad, disgusted look on her face said it all.
But because the state constitution mandates a balanced budget, poor Christine had to gut all of her favorite, over-bloated social programs and she had to cut some programs out all together. The state art commission was sacked. Boy, now there’s a big loss. The state tourism office was also eliminated ….. finally. Public schools and higher education took hits as well. Almost $800 Million was cut out of social services. $800 million mind you! They took some money out of the reserve fund (reserve fund, that’s a laugh) to help pay for some of the cuts.
The graph that came with the Seattle Times article told the real story though. From the ’03 – ’05 budget to the ’05 – ’07 budget, Christine and the Democrat-controlled legislature raised the state budget by 20%, from $25.7 Billion to $30.2 Billion. From the ’07 – ’09 budget to the ’09 – ’11 budget, Christine and the Democrat-controlled legislature raised the state budget another 10%. Hey, let the good times roll! Sure they put a little money away for a rainy day, but it was no where near enough.
All this cutting isn’t going to stop Seattle’s Big Dig, a tunnel along the Seattle waterfront whose cost is purported to be $1.1 Billion (winning bid), when we all know that the final cost will be 4 to 6 times that amount, just like Boston’s Mafia- operated Big Dig and Seattle’s Un-Sound Transit. Government very seldom brings anything in at, or under, budget. A surface or elevated roadway would have been much less than the cost of a tunnel. But hey! Government has lots of your money, don’t they?
The point here is that if you give the government money, it will find a way to spend it and spend it fast, even if they spend more than they are taking in. If you allow them to tax you into oblivion, you will get used to it and they can continue their Ponzi scheme until the electorate wises up. The only way to stop them is cut off their money supply.
In some states, like Washington State, the people have the right to initiatives and referendums. Initiatives make new law, referendums change, alter, modify, or repeal existing law. So if the people wise up, they can use the initiative process to slow down or cut off different sources of funding to the government. Governor Christine Gregoire and the Democrat-controlled legislature passed a whole bunch of new taxes on bottled water, soft drinks and candy, earlier in 2010, in response to the current recession. However, the people didn’t like that and voiced their opposition on November 2nd, 2010 by floating an initiative to repeal those new taxes. The initiative won by a significant margin. The voters also soundly trounced a “Trojan Horse” initiative put forth by the state legislature to institute a state income tax. Suddenly, sad and angry looks appeared on the Governor’s and all the Democrat legislature’s faces in response to this vote of no confidence by the “stupid” voters. Now, they couldn’t spend us into oblivion because much of their funding had dried up. They were forced to “cut”. All we can say is “hurrah! – hurrah!”
We attended a budget meeting for the County of King, (Seattle) a few years ago and we noticed that on one side of the room there were a whole bunch of people with black hair on their heads. They literally took up half of the room. It turns out, all were of Asian decent. This is not meant to be discriminatory, it is only an observation of what we saw.
These people had a spokeswoman that talked to the Council Members on their behalf, because most of them couldn’t speak English. Now what these people wanted, according to the spokeswoman, was anything and everything they could get out of the King County budget. They all looked healthy to this observer and one wonders what it was that they needed? You name it and they wanted it. Chances are, given the irrational compassion of politicians no matter what the cost (and surfacing for votes), they got it. We didn’t stick around long enough to find out.
We got up to address the Council (we only had two minutes to speak) and told them that, contrary to what these other people wanted, we in the rural areas didn’t want anything and in fact, we wanted to be left alone. But they had no intentions of leaving us alone. They kept passing draconian environmental laws that only affected the rural landowner and raising our taxes to pay for it all. Our taxes were probably paying for what these folk with black hair got out of the Council.
Unfortunately, there is no initiative process to rein in the federal government. Our only recourse is to vote in senators and congressmen and women who would do what they could to reduce federal spending. But as you can see from observing the Lame Duck session of Congress in the year 2010, the Democrats have no intention of reining in government spending and submitted an Omnibus Spending Bill that had between 6,000 to 7,000 pork barrel (earmarks) items in it. Yeah, we know. The earmarks only represented a miniscule portion of the budget, but it’s the principle of the thing.
Worse than that, the compromise between the President and the Republicans only made matters worse by extending unemployment benefits another 13 months, with no way to pay for it, thus adding to the deficit and the national debt. Sure, the Republicans got the extension of the Bush tax cuts, but in the end, the trade off was a loser for the American taxpayer ….. as usual.
We have people in America that think that Obama has a stash of money to doll out to them, for free. They’d vote for a rock, if it could excrete free money. Why these people are allowed to vote is part of the reason we are where we are today.
When everything is said and done, there are only two ways to stop the government reach for more political power by over-spending and running up huge deficits, with the sole purpose of buying votes with our money to keep that power. The first way to strip politicians of their power is to vote for individuals who hold a strong small government and fiscal responsibility ethic. The second way is revolution and with a government as powerful as the American government is, revolution has little chance for success. But the fact remains ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t slow down the growth of, or cut off the money flowing to the government, their power will continue to grow exponentially and your money is the fuel that feeds the fire of their power. This applies to state government as well as it does to the federal government. In the end, this insane fiscal policy will lead to national bankruptcy and the ultimate failure of America’s experiment with freedom and liberty. If that is what the American people want, they are going to get it and get it in spades.
Ron Ewart is President of the National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO).
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.