COMMENTARY | The electorate in California is somehow very hard to figure out. When asked whether the massive benefits that public sector unions enjoy in the Golden State should be rolled back, large majorities of Californians are in favor of it.
According to the LA Times:
“Seventy percent of respondents said they supported a cap on pensions for current and future public employees. Nearly as many, 68%, approved of raising the amount of money government workers should be required to contribute to their retirement. Increasing the age at which government employees may collect pensions was favored by 52%.”
Mind, this is the same California that elected Jerry Brown again as governor, rejecting pro-business moderate Meg Whitman. Brown was known as “Governor Moonbeam” when he misgoverned California in the late 1970s and early 1980s for some of his stranger enthusiasms. But, certain in that knowledge, Californians elected Brown anyway.
As a result, Californians are looking on dumbfounded as businesses high tail it to other states such as Texas. California elected Arnold Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, as governor to replace the ultra-liberal Grey Davis. Then Californians rejected a series of propositions designed to reform the way the state was governed, proposed by Schwarzenegger in response to a fear campaign conducted by the same public sector unions which they now want to curb.
One wonders what it is about California that makes its people so inconsistent. Most must know that California is afflicted by a bloated government, a runaway bureaucracy, spending and regulation that would shock a European socialist, and an attitude toward private business that is much the same as those of other people toward Islamic terrorists. However, when it comes to actually electing people who might just try to fix all of these problems and then support them when they do, California voters slip back into old, familiar patterns. They (or enough of them) vote for the same old socialists to send to Sacramento who have been destroying the resource-filled, weather-blessed state for decades. And then, apparently, many complain about the results and express the need to change.
Here is a hint for anyone in California who is reading this. If someone actually proposes measures to curb public sector unions that apparently Californians support, they should not recoil in horror when the unions put out their attack ads. Support that brave soul, whether he or she is in the state legislature or running for a statewide office. Californians recognize there is a problem. Now all they have to do is to bring themselves to act accordingly.
Sources: Times/USC Dornsife poll: California voters want public employees to help ease state’s financial troubles, Shane Goldmacher, LA Times, April 24, 2011