Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Changing definitions and identifying the problem: The New York Times' Bob Herbert blames California's extraordinary fiscal woes not on the state's free-spending legislature and governor, but (surprise!) on President George W. Bush.
First, an issue with the newspeak of the American left. Economist and Nobel laureate Robert said the Bush tax cuts are "redistributive in intent and redistributive in effect." Only in the loony left economics universe is allowing people to keep their own money "redistributive." Apparently because the government prints those dollar bills, all of the money is really the government's to start with.
Herbert then goes on to blame California's job market and homeless problems at Bush's door -- instead of where it belongs -- in Sacramento.
The president and his advisers could have learned something about the real world if, instead of hanging out at the ranch, they had visited a city like Los Angeles (or almost any other hard-hit American venue) and spent time talking to folks who have been thrown out of work and, in some cases, out of their homes in this treacherous Bush economy.
The job market in California worsened in July. More than a million people are out of work statewide, and there are few signs of the optimism that Mr. Bush is feeling.
Officials at homeless shelters in Los Angeles, as in other large American cities, are seeing big increases in the number of families seeking shelter because of extended periods of joblessness. The pattern is as depressing as it is familiar: the savings run out, the rent doesn't get paid, the eviction notice arrives.
Tanya Tull, president of Beyond Shelter in downtown L.A., said the percentage of families in her facility had climbed from about one-third to more than half because of the employment crisis. The breadwinners can't find jobs, she said, "so they're losing their housing."
Why is the job market so bad in California? Could it be the out-of-control costs of workman's compensation insurance? High taxes? "Non-discrimination" laws that force businesses to consider cross-dressing job applicants? Frivilous shakedown lawsuits against small businesses?
How about housing in California? Rents and home-prices are high because of Bush's economic plans!? That conveniently ignores the fact that prices were rising astronomically long before Bush took office. It also would ignore the fact that affordable condos weren't built for decades because of a slew of lawsuits against condo-builders. Super-stringent environmental regulations and "slow-growth" initiatives also forced housing prices sky-high.
No, Bush is the only possible explanation for this human tragedy -- in a liberal's (closed) mind. The simple answers are the only ones necessary on the Times' op-ed page.