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Jewish World Review
April 16, 2010
/ 2 Iyar 5770
Just Shut Up and Shell Out
Remember how we were told a year and a half ago that our country was in dire economic straits? Remember how businesses were going under? Millions of workers were losing their jobs? Our entire economy was in collapse? Remember we were told we were in the worst financial condition since the Great Depression of the 30's?
Well, I wasn't around in the 30's but from everything I read and from what little I understand about economics, when people lose their jobs and companies go broke and the country spirals into an economic crisis, then prices tend to go down. Common sense tells you that prices go down because people haven't got any money to buy stuff, right? So can someone explain to me if we are in such horrible financial shape now, why are taxes, government services, and utilities going up? Does it make sense to you that at a time when people are losing their jobs the government raises taxes and usage rates?
The Los Angeles DWP claims it needs tens of millions of additional dollars and that's why rate increases must be put into effect. As it stands now the water and power bill for just my wife and me in our small home is around $500 every two months. Believe me when I tell you that our water and power usage is minimal.
City service charges have been increasing like mad in the past few years, and still Villaraigosa threatens to shut down libraries, curtail police investigations and curb other city and county services unless he gets more money from the citizens. Money, it appears, that he needs to pay for his "renewable energy agenda." You know what? If we are truly in a crisis, then maybe you need to stop with the "renewable energy agenda" for the duration.
City Controller Wendy Greuel threatned that the city's general fund could run out of money and fall $10 million into the red by May 5 unless the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power transfers a planned $73.5 million payment it has so far said it would withhold. Without the payment, the city would need to dip into its reserve fund, leaving that contingency dangerously low in the event of other emergencies.
The Los Angeles DWP, which is the nation's largest municipal utility, said it wasn't making the payment because the city council earlier this month failed to approve substantial increases in electricity rates. Villaraigosa and the city council are currently responsible for a budget that is already $212 million in the red this fiscal year. That figure is expected to approach $500 million in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Who elected these geniues into office?
Meanwhile, thanks to the other geniuses in Sacramento, the state of California is all but completely bankrupt. Yes, we have a budget crisis in our state too and you know what that means? If you said higher taxes, go to the head of the class! Can't any of these politicians do anything besides get in front of a microphone and announce that we have a budget crisis and that's why we need to steal more money from the people?
But wait. The California "budget crisis" is not all bad news, it's actually good news for convicted felons. Parole will be getting a lot easier - no more random drug tests, travel rules or requirements to check in with an officer. The restrictions have been relaxed for nonviolent criminals like burglars, drug offenders and swindlers under a new law that aims to shrink the prison population by reducing the number of minor parole violations that send ex-cons back to prison. That means about 24,000 ex-cons will qualify for less supervision now. The state is also considering early release of non-violent felons. So just the swindlers, forgers, burglars, drug dealers, and other crooks who don't happen to use a weapon will be let out? I get it. Great news, eh?
And folks, let me tell ya, you ain't seen nothin' yet! Wait until the federal government implements their latest idea on how to finance the new Obama health care program. Can you say VAT? That stands for Value Added Tax, which is like a federal sales tax, but much worse. It is imposed on every product and good produced in the county at each and every stage of its manufacture or creation all the way to the consumer. It's coming, folks. The administration is already talking about it. Can you say, "Hope and Change?" Can you say it with a straight face?
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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