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Location: La Mirada, California, United States

All original content on RickSpeak is the intellectual property of Rickspeak.

Friday, May 12, 2006

On Taxes and Magic

The Los Angeles Times reported on May 10th, 2006 that because of unexpected windfall collections from stock market and business gains during the month of April, the state of California received $5 billion dollars in tax receipts.

This is nothing new to California. During former Governor Gray Davis’ five years in office, state revenues increased by 25%. The problem was that, in that same time period, state expenditures increased by 43%! This astounding fiscal mess was achieved with the witting help of the predominantly Democratic State Congress. When Governor Davis first came into office, California had a $9 billion surplus. Five years later it had turned into a $22 billion dollar deficit.

Governor Davis’ proposal to compensate for the deficit was a typical Democrat solution to all deficits: increase taxes. This promptly got him re-called by the voting citizenry who installed Republican action-hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, into office. When the Governator took over in 2004, the whopping $22 billion dollar deficit was facing him like a terminator cyborg.

One year later, without raising taxes (much to the chagrin of the Democratic controlled legislation), Governor Schwarzenegger presented the State Congress with a balanced budget. How was this done? Certainly by paring back programs, forcing the bureaucrats who run them to spend within their financial constraints helped. Just as important, Schwarzenegger did not raise the state personal income tax, to the dismay of the Democrats, who complained bitterly like spoiled kids to whoever would listen to them.

They no longer had the money they wanted to continue to spend on whatever vanity programs they had embraced once the tech boom and stock market bubbles burst, thus the temper tantrums begun:

"The governor has declared war on the state of California," proclaimed Assemblywoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park. "He declared war on us, and I declare war on him." (Democracy for America in Orange County, CA 2005)

"No one could have predicted he'd declare nuclear war on teachers and firefighters all in the same year," said Democratic consultant Roger Salazar. (Democracy for America in Orange County, CA 2005)

Attorney General Bill Lockyer, reached for an entirely different weapon, criticizing Schwarzenegger for "the arrogance of power" that comes with "the odor of Austrian politics." (Democracy for America in Orange County, CA 2005)

So, according to the spoiled brat politicians, Governor Schwarzenegger has declared war on the state of California, he has declared nuclear war on teachers and is governing with “the arrogance of power…an odor of Austrian politics.” Lockyer’s analysis is particularly revolting in its insinuating accusation that Governor Schwarzenegger is a Nazi. Adolph Hitler was Austrian by birth.

Under the five years of Davis leadership, the “kids” on Capitol Hill were undisciplined until Super Nanny Governator made them take a time out and insisted that there were to be no more shenanigans about deficit spending and raising taxes on personal income.

What is the lesson to be learned? Not raising taxes on personal incomes actually increase government budgets! This is the second year in a row, under Republican Governor Schwarzenegger's fiscal policies, that California has received "unexpected" large tax collections from businesses and stock gains, according to the mystified Los Angeles Times who, apparently, still do not understand basic Economics. Or, worse, they want to keep the cronies on the liberal left in office who continue to use "Magical" economic plans that always include raising income taxes while using the poor and destitute as pawns in their slimy grab for political power.

There is no magic needed, though, because the economic answer is really quite simple: Low personal income tax fuels businesses, which in turn expands because they invest in ways to grow and maintain the business, including the hiring of more people. When more people have jobs and get to keep more of what they earn, they tend to spend or invest their incomes. With businesses and people prospering, tax receipt collections overflow the government's coffers that finance the public works and public needs of its citizenry. All of this is accomplished without raising personal income taxes. The state of California has proved this two years running.

(Citation of budget figures: http://www.dof.ca.gov/Budget/BudgetDocuments.asp)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Barry and the Babe

As Barry Bonds attempts to tie the Babe's 714 home run total, there has been a lot of discussion leading up to this moment about the validity of Bonds' accomplishments, specifically the years he allegedly took steroids, from 1999-2004. Barry Bonds is a lightning rod figure in baseball, which no doubt encourages such discussion amongst fans, the media and the players about whether Bonds' home runs, and the single season record of 2001, during the alleged steroid years should be allowed.

I think it helps to look at baseball through the eyes of history to help guide it in the present. Barry Bonds and other steroid users are not the first players in baseball to cheat in order to gain an upper hand against their opponents. Ty Cobb filed down his cleats, turning them into little daggers. Woe to any infielder who got in his way. Gaylord Perry now resides in baseball's Hall of Fame because the grease ball, not his fastball, was his best pitch. Numerous players have used corked bats. Sammy Sosa not only was "juiced" but used corked bats as well!

Baseball's owners, and their overwhelmed puppet commissioner, former Milwaukee Brewer owner, Bud Selig, brought on this mess by looking the other way when reports of players began to surface that they were becoming juiced on steroids in the early 1990's. Three things occurred to finally garner the attention of Selig that steroid use in baseball was a serious matter and needed to be tended to. First, Barry Bonds hits 73 home runs in 2001 just three years after Mark McGwire (another alleged steroid user) broke Roger Maris' mark. Maris' mark lasted 37 years and Ruth's 60 held up for 34 years. One of baseball's most cherished records had been reduced to mockery.

The second occurrence was the 2004 State of the Union Address given by President George W. Bush who demanded that professional sports "get rid of steroids now." Thirdly, a year after President Bush called for an end to steroid use, Congress opened hearings investigating the illegal use of steroids in baseball.

"(Players) are not bigger than the game, and they are certainly not bigger than the law," said Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., a former major leaguer and the opening witness. "The same goes for the owners. For over a decade, they turned their heads when it came to steroids. They helped put the game at risk."

With the United States government breathing down their backs, owners and the players union decided they had better work together to create rules against the use of performance enhancement drugs and attaching stiff penalties to those who break the rules, including a lifetime ban for a third offense.

So where does this leave us in the Barry Bonds chase for Ruth's and Hank Aaron's home run totals? I think we should follow the lead of the Philadelphia Phillies fans. During last Sunday night's game which was broadcast on ESPN, the notoriously brutal Phillies fans, reviled by both visiting and Phillies players, let Bonds have it. They booed him at bat, they booed him in left field, and they booed him in the on-deck circle. They even booed him during batting practice!

Then, in the top of the sixth inning, Bonds hit home run number 713 off of Jon Lieber that reached a third deck sign in right field. The ego-bruising Phillies fans, who had shown nothing but contempt towards the Giant slugger all night, gave him a standing ovation.