Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Devin Nunes: California's Gold Rush Has Been Reversed

Putting some ideas out there:

"Two broad reforms are needed. The first is that we must create a part-time, nonpartisan citizen legislature -- a model that has proven effective in states like Texas (part-time) and Nebraska (part-time and nonpartisan). Californians need to be able to elect leaders whose primary interest is public service, not furthering political careers.

The second fundamental reform is on taxes and spending. Other states have passed a Taxpayers' Bill of Rights. We need to do the same, so I and others will soon be launching a campaign to enact the following:

- Two-year budgeting. This would allow a part-time legislature the time it needs to hold hearings, conduct negotiations, and provide oversight to determine the state's spending priorities in the first year, while in the second, write and pass the budget.

- End budget stalemates. This is easier than it sounds if we enact this reform: Automatically adopt the governor's proposed budget, provided it is free of tax hikes, if the legislature fails to pass a budget by its constitutional deadline. This reform would give the legislature a compelling reason to move the budget along briskly, and it would end the continual government shutdowns resulting from partisan bickering and gridlock.

- New spending controls. To prevent overspending, we need mandatory limits on the growth of government. State spending should not grow faster than inflation, and a 3% budget reserve must be established to prevent unanticipated expenditures, such as natural disasters, from creating a deficit.

- Refund budget surpluses. When the state government is flush with funds, taxpayers should get some of their money back. We need a mandate for the state to send tax-rebate checks to all taxpayers when surpluses exceed the rate of inflation. Had this reform been law in 2001, that year's $10 billion budget surplus would have yielded each taxpayer a rebate of about $667."


g_rob said...

"To mention just one example, this year a new law enacted by ballot initiative bans cages chicken farmers use on the grounds that it is inhuman to put birds in cages that prevent them from spreading their wings."

The proposition states: "Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely."

It is estimated that it will cost 1cent more per egg in order to comply.

Although I agree with the intent of the proposition, I voted no, simply because it is very easy as a comsumer to find and buy free-range egg and meat producers. Where I live, I have probably a dozen options locally-raised, free-range meat and egg products.

dcat said...

The problem with refunding one year's surpluses is that the next year things might not be so good, through no simply fault of spending. You keep surpluses in order to hedge against future shortfalls. This idea of "the taxpayers' money" is one of those crude populist rhetorical devices that does not take into account that money comes from a host of sources (will I get my money back from hotel taxes for staying in California or Florida, say?) and that it serves a host of needs. Do people who pay less taxes get to use fewer services or not get that refund back?
Taxes are good. Expecting people to pay for what they buy is good. Would that we had more such responsibility the last eight years.


Paul said...

Taxes are good. Save it for Tim Geithner.

jeff b said...


aren't you a teacher? why don't you work for tips rather than taxpayer funded paycheck. Taxes are necessary for civilization.

Paul said...

"Taxes are good."
"Taxes are necessary."
Notice the difference??
And, sorry, Jeff, but you don't know me well enough to make that comment.
So stfu.

Paul said...

my point was pretty simple: if liberals think taxes are so good, then don't support putting a guy in charge of the Treasury dept.(and thus, the IRS) who doesn't pay all of the taxes he's supposed to.

dcat said...

Paul -
I honestly do not get what one has to do with the other. What does the appointment of geither have to do with my argument about taxes, or for that matter any argument about taxes. Red herrings are stupid.


Paul said...

You took a cheap swipe at Bush (which was a red herring), so I took one at Geithner. If you don't see a conflict of interest with him, then you are either hyper-partisan or a fool.

Revenue to the treasury hasn't been a problem the last 8 years; the amount of spending has been.

dcat said...

Paul --
Was mine a cheap shot? My point reinforced my argument. Yours did not. Geither's paying or not paying taxes has literally nothing to do with the merits of taxation. He should have paid whatever taxes he is owed. The problamatic taxation-spending policies of the last eight years have everything to do with the discussion about, you know, taxation and spending. All critiques are not equal. So I reiterate: red herrings (and fighting straw men) are stupid.

Wait, revenue and spending have no relationship to one another? Seriously? How is the weather in Crazytown? I hear it's insane there this time of year.


g_rob said...

And I heard Geithner keeps his pregnant pigs in a cage and doesn't eat free-range eggs. Bastard!

Paul said...

1. "What does the appointment of geither have to do with my argument about taxes, or for that matter any argument about taxes."

Well, here is your argument about taxes:
"Taxes are good. Expecting people to pay for what they buy is good. Would that we had more such responsibility the last eight years."

Again, how is Geithner not relevant here?

2. "Wait, revenue and spending have no relationship to one another?"

When did I write this? I didn't, did I? Straw man, party of 2, your table is ready.

What I wrote was that the government took in record amounts of revenue the last 8 years, but failed to restrain spending, to the point of running deficits. So the amount of taxes we pay wasn't the problem (it's still too high, imo), but the amount of spending was.

dcat said...

Paul --
We agree that Geither should pay all of his taxes. I'm glad we came to this conclusion. Kudos to you. You're slow, but apparently not retarded. Given that you are a public school teacher drawing from the public dole I guess I am glad that you recognize the importance of taxation.

"Revenue to the treasury hasn't been a problem the last 8 years; the amount of spending has been."

And at the same time you deny that, revenue and spending are related. So, you assert: "government took in record amounts of revenue the last 8 years, but failed to restrain spending."

Ok. So: Republicans spend more than they can pay for. And then they propose that cutting taxes is the solution. (Hey -- which of us do you think benefits more from this ingenious option?)

Yes: spending and, well, not spending: these things are related. The tax breaks we have gotten over the years are, indeed, somehow related to the spending that has happened over the same time that the deficit has exploded. Why this is confusing to you actually does baffle me. But I guess I do not have your sterling intellectual credentials.

Grownups pay for shit they want to buy. The irony, of course is that this ought to be a conservative argument. I am not at all surprised that this irony eludes you. Those who want to apologize for all things Bush have not, in general, shown a capacity for irony. It's part of the glory of why my side won, and your side lost.

Yes, I am wasting my time. But mostly because it's fun. In the world of smart people, there is me, and then there is Paul. The glory of it all is that some people here think there is intellectual equivalence.

But again, Paul -- you and I are equals here. Please keep prattling on. After all, a guy whose salary is based on taxes is the guy I want to listen to when it comes to taxes.

It's good for you to deny that you actually said that revenue and taxes are connected. You just don't want to have to pay taxes. And the deficit has grown. And I bet you cash your next paycheck. How convenient. Yes, indeed, how very conveniant.

Apparently, everyone affiliated with Big Tent did not receive some form of federal financial aid? Because surely, had they done so, that must qualify as earned federal largesse. Not like that wasted money that went to the liberals. Fuck them. They just stole from the rest of us. Oh -- wait -- are we now going to differentiate? Because I fucking well know that a good number of the folks here at Big Tent used that evil federal money to get their educations.

You don't get to have it both ways. You can't take that money that you did not earn to get your education and then bitch about the application of that same money. Or maybe you can. Actually, I expect that you will do precisely that. At least I acknowledge where my education came from. And thus I am willing to pay for it.


Paul said...

"But mostly because it's fun."

The only thing better than seeing you make an ass of yourself on this site, is knowing that you are enjoying it.

dcat said...

That's your response, Paul? That's it? You suckle at the teat of taxes, I want us to pay more for your mediocre musings, and I'm an ass?

Ladies and gentlemen -- your public school dollars at work.

Some guy named Paul, who earns his salary based almost solely on tax dollars bitches about taxes: Hero.

Some guy who wants to pay Paul's salary with tax dollars: Ass.

Again: Me: ass; Paul: not ass: I'll compare resumes to see if Paul's cunning interpretation holds. (And, again: Did Paul get his education at a public institution paid overwhelmigly with tax dollars?

And I'll reiterate the point that Paul just pointed out, because frankly, I stand behind it:

"Yes, I am wasting my time. But mostly because it's fun. In the world of smart people, there is me, and then there is Paul. The glory of it all is that some people here think there is intellectual equivalence."

You and I are not equals, Paul. By no measure, by no shape, and by no form. I teach at a university. You prattle on at a high school. (And, please -- insult the guys who write at Big Tent by pretending that the marketplace notices no difference between the two.). I write books. (You don't.) And articles (you don't). And a whole host of op-ed pieces (you don't). You write in the comments here at Big Tent. You function based on the taxes of others yet reject the valus of taxes. I understand the host of ways in which taxes are good. Including paying for shit with which I may not agree. But from which I might benefit. I'm a citizen. Elusive as far as concepts go based on the last eight years, but true.


Paul said...

I haven't made any of the arguments you have accused me of making. So, keep attacking those straw men.

And keep boasting about your vita and running down mine. Keep arguing by authority; I'm cowering in fear over here at your super duper, fantastic, impressive resume. I'll measure my success by the positive impact I have made on my students. I'll just assume that you'll insult that concept, as well. You know, because if a guy hasn't written books and articles, then he just isn't worthy of playing in the same arena with someone who has.

Keep commenting at 3 and 4 in the morning after you've had a night of drinking, Derek. That's the only explanation I can think of for you producing such idiotic, self-righteous, drivel on this site. Keep commenting; you're just reinforcing my point about you being an ass.

g_rob said...

Gimme a break Derek. Teaching at a university vs. a high school? You're really gonna go there? I CHOSE to teach in high school for a million reasons and I will argue any day that I have a much greater impact in my community than your CV, articles and books do in yours.