Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2000 / 21 Kislev, 5761
ONE OF MY FAVORITE BANDS, the Red
Hot Chili Peppers, recently penned
an ode to "Californication." The term
refers to the spread of the Golden
State's worst attributes: smog, strip
malls, drive-bys, and celebrity worship. "It's
understood that Hollywood sells
Californication," the Chili Peppers sing.
Even "tidal waves couldn't save the world
from Californication." Not all of California's
exports have been negative. The state led
the nation in reforming welfare, stemming
illegal immigration, and repealing racial
preferences. This year, however, California's
influence in the political realm was eclipsed
by another sunny state. Put on your shades,
pull out your wallets, and prepare for
Now that the election is finally over, we can
look forward to four long years of federal
pandering to the 27th state's special
interests: the elderly, the sugar industry,
citrus growers, disaster aid recipients, and
This is what the Beltway big talkers mean
when they pontificate about "healing
wounds" and "reaching across the aisle" to
"get things done." They mean reaching into
our pockets to grow government, fork out the pork, and do whatever
it takes to firmly secure Florida's electors in 2004.
President-elect George W. Bush hasn't even twirled around in his
Oval Office chair yet, and he has already completely abandoned
conservative principles in favor of bipartisan kissy-face politics.
During the campaign, he purported to distinguish himself from
big-spending Al Gore with a more fiscally responsible Medicare
reform plan. But among his first pledges this week was a universal
government benefit that will cheer Democrat retirees from
Pensacola to Palm Beach: "Together we will strengthen Medicare
and offer prescription drug coverage to all of our seniors."
All seniors. Regardless of need or desire. Regardless of the strain
on our near-bankrupt entitlement system and the burden on younger
workers. If this is the kind of "mending" we're in for, someone rip off
the Band-Aid and pour rubbing alcohol on the wound quick.
Count on Bush the Bipartisan Healer to continue the Clinton
administration's indulgence of Florida's sugar industry. Among the
members of W.'s $100,000 soft-money donor club are Wayne
Berman, a former G.H.W. Bush administration official who lobbies
for Flo-Sun Sugar, and Jose Fanjul, head of Flo-Sun Sugar. Fanjul is
a Cuban-born sugar baron whose brother Alfy was a key Clinton
In return, the Fanjuls and their competitors in Florida, Texas,
Louisiana, and Hawaii have received a mother lode of corporate
welfare. Federal price supports, loans, import quotas, buyouts, and
other goodies add an estimated $1.4 billion to consumers' bills. This
sweet protectionist scheme keeps the domestic price of sugar 50
percent above the world market price and wreaks environmental
havoc on the Everglades -- another bottomless swamp for billions of
wasted tax dollars.
Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute noted: "The loan program for a
small handful of very wealthy Florida sugar plantation owners is
more generous than ever." Big citrus firms will also undoubtedly get
a taste of Bush's Florida-friendly largesse. Citrus and lime growers
from the Sunshine State received nearly $60 million in federal
payments this year. We ain't seen nothing yet. W., mindful of his
shaky mandate (and his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush's, as
well), can be counted on to preserve the citrus loan program -- if not
double or triple the current payments.
The Clinton administration was infamous for its abuse of disaster
aid declarations for political gain in battleground states. The Federal
Emergency Management Agency set records in 1992 and 1996 for
disaster designations; over the last decade, Florida has received
20 percent of all federal disaster aid.
Those hoping to curtail bogus disaster spending can kiss their
dreams of smaller government goodbye. When it rains,
President-elect Bush's FEMA will pour.
Last but not least, there's Disney, the entertainment conglomerate
that has received technology subsidies to make fancier fireworks
displays at its Orlando theme park and has lobbied for federal
tourism aid to advertise overseas.
In the era of Floridation, there will be no end to these Goofy
handouts. No matter who sits in the White House, true fiscal
conservatism is but a fairy
JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate