The Analogy Pathology

Governor Brown gave his State of the State speech last night. He again called on the Legislature to schedule (yet another) Special Election where voters will have a chance to vote on whether they are willing to raise taxes to partially resolve California's fiscal crisis:

Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that lawmakers have an obligation to let California voters decide whether to extend taxes to stave off huge budget cuts, taking a forceful stance in his State of the State speech on what is likely to be the biggest debate over how to close the deficit.


"In the ordinary course of things, matters of state concern are properly handled in Sacramento. But when the elected representatives find themselves bogged down by deep differences that divide them, the only way forward is to go back to the people and seek their guidance."

Ah, yes! The Guidance! Of the People! We are all knowing and all wise, don't you know. Good luck with that, as voters rejected a similar proposal back in 2009. Supposedly, the plan is that The People will be more willing to trust Jerry Brown because he will "level" with them. Also there seems to be a threat out there that, if we don't raise taxes, then Brown will move towards making deep cuts in K-12 education. I don't know. He might find that voters recognize there's a difference between cutting, say, classroom supplies - which people will hate - and cutting teachers salaries/pension, which I'll bet a lot of voters won't mind seeing go lower.

Speaking of public sector unions, Brown's speech included one of the most inapt political analogies of the year, warning that if California doesn't act quickly, we could see street riots just like the one in... Tunisia and Egypt??

Brown's 14-minute speech to lawmakers and other state leaders in the Assembly chamber referenced uprisings in Arab nations as he argued that it would be "unconscionable" to make deeper cuts than he has proposed without asking voters to weigh in.

"When democratic ideals and calls for the right to vote are stirring the imagination of young people in Egypt and Tunisia and other parts of the world, we in California can't say now is the time to block a vote of the people," Brown said.

Uh, no. I think the riot-torn country you're thinking of is Greece. You know, unsustainable pensions, overweening public sector unions, too much debt and taxes. I am sure you've seen that on the news. Not sure how Egypt fits in there, unless you think the Nurses Union is "just like" the Muslim Brotherhood.

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