You may fool all of the people only some of the time, but you can fool enough of them all the time.
Associated Press published an exclusive report – ‘Lawmakers call for oversight hearings on green jobs measure’ - on the three year aftermath of Prop 39. California voters were bamboozled by our socialist central planners (funded by Tom Steyer of ‘When you’re rich they really think you know’ fame), to vote for a measure to increase taxes on the state’s businesses in order to “create more green-energy jobs.” As evident from AP’s investigative report, Prop 39 has been another travesty that drove more businesses from California, cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and delivered nothing of any use to the state’s citizens, especially the less than brilliant ones who fell for the econuts’ crapola and then voted for it. Prop 39 follows AB32 (q.v.) and a list of anti-growth, anti-business sludge that continues to pour out of Sacramento.
You need to read the AP piece yourself to see the magnitude of this socialist boondoggle. But for the high hard ones consider that they have already taken an additional almost billion dollars from the state’s businesses for the ostensible purpose of helping schools upgrade their infrastructures. Even this amount is much less than the projected take – whoudda thought that businesses wouldn’t leave, change, or otherwise try to avoid this new tribute. Out of the collected monies less than a third has been dispensed, and of that $150M has been spent on consultants who continue to generate plans on how to ‘get the most bang for the buck’ from the remaining loot.
The job stats are even worse. This scheme was supposed to create about 11,000 green jobs a year. But to date it has created fewer than 1,700 jobs in three years, about 5% of the number advertised. And now the same numbnuts in Sacramento who came up with this brainchild are going to try and find out what went wrong, why this is another feel-good bonanza that didn’t deliver and now has to be papered over with propaganda as have been its predecessors. Do not think that there is any learning going on in the state’s capitol; their only aim is to figure out how best to cover up yet another fiscal fizzle.
What these socialists miss was made clear to their earlier forebears in 19th century post-napoleonic France, home of the first nationwide applications of socialist governance. Frederic Bastiat explained the matter in his brilliant essay ‘That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen’ with the vignette on ‘The Broken Window’. California’s and the nation’s entire phalanx of environmental regulatory programs are a sad poster child of the malady ailing the country.
In the story an accidentally broken shop window is initially lamented by onlookers until one worthy points out that the unintended mishap will actually provide a benefice to the community and the greater economy. Why? Because now the shopkeeper will have to engage the glazier to come and repair the window thereby creating new work and releasing the cost of the repair into other hands which is then spent fulfilling their needs and so on as the money spreads into the economy. From this insight everyone on the sidewalk comes to understand the apparent good that will derive from this broken window, and all go home feeling good about the shopkeeper’s loss now that its real impact has been explained to them.
But for the clear thinkers Bastiat reveals the real situation. The shopkeeper had a good window before spending $100 (modern amount) to get his broken window restored. What we don’t see is that he wanted to spend the same money at the cobbler’s for a new pair of shoes. At the end of this transaction the same $100 would have still been released into the economy through the cobbler’s spending, but in that future the shopkeeper would have wound up with an intact window and a new pair of shoes – in short, his quality of life would have increased for having spent the same amount to do something else that he needed or had planned for his own benefit; to accomplish something more than spend that money to just maintain his status quo, and with fewer dollars in his pocket.
The socialists of 1850 France did not understand any better than do the socialists of 2015 USA, that ‘creating’ jobs by going down the street and breaking more intact windows does not prosper a nation. Today the government ‘breaks windows’ by syphoning money out of our pockets for so many propagandized purposes and projects that benefit absolutely no one save the elites with guns, along with their local lackeys spread across the land who sing paeans to Leviathan for the pittances dropped into their cups. This is the politically correct trickle down economics that those who can’t generate wealth understand so well. The rest of us know that when it comes to economic planning, governments are the historically demonstrated dunces with their ham fisted approach of centralized control.
And the real tragedy is that today, as it was in Bastiat’s time, our gruberized voters never see any of this, for enough of them can be fooled all of the time.
[19aug15 update] Lo and behold, the country is taking note of AP’s findings and adding those to its considerable knowledge of how California leads the nation (the world?) on the Index of Inane and Insane Governments. This morning’s (19aug15) WSJ features a prominent editorial on Steyer’s bamboozle, noting that not only has Prop 39 not met any of its goals by far, but it’s also not known whether it has had any impact on the promised energy reductions. Less known is the proviso that half of the business punishing tax take goes into the state’s general fund for Sacramento’s Society of Sleazebags to spend as they please – did you know that? The WSJ piece concludes that “results rarely matter for the supporters of green subsidies. Their good intentions in spending other peoples’ money is enough.” Given how many topics have appeared first in these pages, over the years I’ve begun to wonder if the WSJ gets some of its good editorial ideas from RR, hmmm … ;-)