POLITICS

Jerry Brown’s “great leap forward”

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

California is back. At least according to The American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson it is. In a 6,000-plus word hagiography of California Gov. Jerry Brown, Meyerson writes, “California today is again a state, as it has not been for decades, where the future that liberals hope will be America’s is happening first, and Jerry Brown, for all his skepticism about politics, government, and liberalism, is leading it there.”

So much for what’s-his-name in the White House.

Meyerson has seen the future of liberalism in American, and it is the 74-year-old Jerry Brown. And why, pray tell, is Brown such a success? Because he raised taxes of course. And not just on the rich. “The keystone of his comeback was the brilliant campaign he waged for Proposition 30,” Meyeerson reports, “which was marked by a level of discipline and strategic suppleness that he had rarely displayed during his first tenure. … The consolidated Proposition 30 raised the top marginal tax rates on the state’s richest residents for the next seven years and increased the state sales tax by a quarter cent on the dollar.”

Unlike Obama, who continues to operate under the fantasy that liberal government can be paid for only by taxing the rich, Brown actually put Obama’s “shared sacrifice” into action, raising taxes on all Californians, rich and poor alike, through higher sales taxes.

But don’t worry. Brown is done raising taxes. When Meyerson pointedly asked if more tax hikes were in the pipeline, Brown answered, “The answer is no. We are already a high-tax state. State spending on schools will go from $47 billion to $63 billion in the next five years. I think we should digest this great leap forward before we contemplate anything further.”

But California liberals want to go a lot further. The Golden State currently enjoys the nation’s highest poverty rate, a school system that ranks just ahead of Mississippi, and the nation’s third highest unemployment rate. Liberals, of course, believe that massive new spending programs are the best solution to all of these problems. And while Brown may be done raising taxes, the liberal interest groups that actually run the state are not. Meyerson reports:

An emerging coalition of unions, community-organizing groups, and other progressive organizations is researching how best to present voters with a ballot measure in 2016 that would repeal Proposition 13’s freeze on taxes on commercial property. Such a measure, says Lenny Goldberg, the longtime executive director of the California Tax Reform Association, would generate roughly $10 billion to $12 billion a year for the state’s cities, counties, and school districts.

And Brown will no doubt need that money if he is reelected in 2014. Meyerson mentions that Brown’s high-speed rail project is expected to create 450,000 jobs spread out over the next decade. But what Meyerson completely fails to mention is that Brown has only paid for $5 billion of the $68 billion needed to fully fund the project. Taxes are going to go up again.

Whether the rest of the nation wants to follow California’s leap into all out tax-and-spend liberalism is another question.

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