Saturday, June 12, 2010

Karen Bass, Speaker Emeritus and Congresswoman in Waiting Does It Again

President Kennedy in his stirring Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961 challenged Americans:

“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

Karen Bass, Speaker Emeritus of the California Assembly and soon to be Congresswoman from Los Angeles, is of the class, the growing class, which looks to the government as their primary funding source.

Speaker Bass’ background includes a B.S. in Health Sciences from Cal State Dominquez Hills, followed by a Physician Assistant Certificate from USC. She’s worked as a Physician Assistant and taught at USC, and then became a community organizer, founding the Community Coalition.

Community organizers are of the class, which do not view public funds as a public trust, but as a trough upon which to draw upon whenever personally or politically convenient. For the Karen Basses of the world, upon election to office, the question is how much can they divert to themselves and allocate to their voters. The government fisc in essence becomes a slush fund.

When the trough is running dry, they are blinded by the mirage of increased taxes and fees to fill and grow the catch basin. They tax the producers, neither understanding basic economics nor even Aesop’s fables. The California Legislature and the Obama Administration are exercising Herculean efforts to kill the goose, private enterprise, which lays the golden egg.

They do not understand that the more you tax, the less you get; basic economics was not part of their education.

The Laffer Curve is a foreign language to them.

Of course, they avoid the word “tax.” Instead, revenue and revenue enhancements are
the words of choice.

Last year, as the state was plunging into a record deficit, and had to issue script to pay its bills, the Speaker announced 5% salary increases for several legislative aides. Taxpayers may have to sacrifice, but not the legislative aides. The raises were rescinded on April 22, 2009 after a great public outcry, and also because of the negative reaction before the May referendum s proposing to extend the newly enacted tax increases.

In the same press statement, available on YouTube, she said in a straight face that “One of my top priorities is making sure I manage the people’s institution effectively.”

However, when she stepped aside in March this year as Speaker, she double-downed by giving an average 10% pay increase to 20 aides, while the legislature was otherwise under a salary freeze, and many state employees are taking furloughs amounting to a 15% pay cut. George Orwell and Animal House come to mind.

Then came the public revolt against the large tax increases enacted to unsuccessfully resolve the state budget crisis. Two of the six Republicans who voted for the increases were the Senate and Assembly minority leaders. They had signed the no-tax pledge. They were stripped of their leadership positions. Another of the six was confronted with a recall campaign.

Speaker Bass was asked in a Los Angeles Times interview: “How do you think talk radio has affected the Legislature’s work?”

She responded:

“The Republicans were essentially threatened and terrorized against voting for revenue. Now (some) are facing recalls. They operate under a terrorist threat: ‘You vote for revenue and your career is over’ I don’t know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist. I guess it’s about free speech, but it’s extremely unfair.”

Somehow I do not feel public responses to politicians, who violate their promises, constitute terrorism. It’s democracy in action.

Let us remember that President George H. W. Bush lost reelection because he broke his “No new taxes” pledge. Conservative voters cast their ballots in protest for H. R. Perot, giving a plurality victory to Bill Clinton.

Her ‘terrorists” were undoubtedly the famous John and Ken on KFI.

Speaker Bass had another interesting reaction when the voters rejected the second half of the tax increases. She explained the defeat because the voters thpught the proposals were too complicated for them, that they were fatigued with voting on too many special elections, and they wanted the legislature to do it.

Not one word that the voters were opposed to the tax increases, which made California the highest taxing state in the country.

Karen Bass’ most recent antic does not involve a substantial sum of money, but is illustrative of her attitude to the taxpayer’s monies. California allows legislators to collect a per diem of $141.80 for attending sessions in Sacramento. The purpose is to compensate them for their costs in traveling to Sacramento and back. Of course, the legislators also receive a substantial car allowance.

The Los Angeles Times reported on June 5 that the Speaker Emeritus, who remains a legislator, has missed over 60% of the assembly sessions, but continues to collect the per diem, 29 days@141.80 =$4112.20. She claims that the per diem, designed to compensate for the rigors of Sacramento, also applies to “on official legislative business” in her Assembly District.

In other words, no matter how you spin it, she’s collecting the tax free per diem while campaigning for Congress.

And soon, her hands will be on the federal printing presses, unrestrained by any state balanced budget requirement!

No comments: