Paying for something by saving money on something else has not been terribly effective as a governmental budgeting tool…

With good reason working people resent welfare freeloaders, but I doubt most people would begrudge people truly in need, if for no other reason than but for the grace of God go I (I use that phrase a lot, but it often seems to fit).

So Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, and Republican candidate for Governor of California, is saying on a political ad that her idea is to pay for public higher education by putting a limit on drawing welfare benefits.

That seems kind of simplistic and disingenuous to me.

I and most people would like to limit welfare benefits (unless we need them), and if it were that simple that’s what would be done.

If only we could simply cut out all of the waste in government we would have the money we need to do the necessary things — a lot of people can agree on that.

But I have an idea that in reality even if we did cut out all the waste there still would not be enough money to do all that is demanded by the voters.

I think Whitman is just using welfare as a whipping boy. It is kind of clever. She draws in the conservatives by attacking welfare and draws in the liberals and progressives by promising more for higher education. (In most cases “progressive”, I think, is a euphemism for liberal, although it may have other connotations, but let’s don’t get into that.)

A true leader would identify essential programs and demand that they be funded first. While no one can seem to agree on what these essential programs are, well that’s what leaders are for.

Once the essential programs are identified they should be funded in the budget.

All others should be up for a vote by the legislature to include a vote on how the extra funds will be raised, and as far as I know there is only one way, taxes.

Both conservatives and liberals are guilty of the devious practice of saying something will be funded by the money saved on something else.

It has not worked so far.


What I have just written seems kind of conservative. Maybe that is what we need to get our economic house in order.

California Republican politician Tom Campbell in the past has proposed an across-the-board spending freeze on all state budget items — but even so-called conservatives don’t seem to go for that.

Many of those who call themselves conservatives don’t necessarily mind government spending (despite what they often claim). They just want to spend the dollars on different things than progressives and liberals.

Maybe we should go to the true libertarian form of government where government is bare bones, essentially an institution to keep records of who owns what.

Of course people would soon want more from government and everything would start all over again.

ADD 1:

You know in some societies government is not always the first entity looked to for help by the masses. In some the masses have traditionally depended upon the good will of the social elite for favors. But sometimes that breaks down and various factions, to include criminals, take things into their own hands, kind of like what is going on in Mexico right now.


In an earlier version of this post I referred to Tom McClintock when I meant Tom Campbell (and in this updated version I refer to Campbell, having heard him interviewed on radio some time ago).


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