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California Prop Guide

With the election less than a week away, I don’t think anyone in California remains undecided on which presidential candidate they’ll be voting for, especially since California’s electoral votes always go to the Democrat and it doesn’t really matter who you vote for. However, as usual we have some Propositions before us, and those can be a little tricky at times. So, I thought I would write up a quick guide on how I’ll be voting on the props.

First the guide, then the reasons why after.

Prop 30: No

Prop 31: Yes

Prop 32: Yes

Prop 33: Yes

Prop 34: No vote

Prop 35: No vote

Prop 36: No

Prop 37: No

Prop 38: No

Prop 39: No

Prop 40: Yes

Prop 30 (Brown’s tax hike): No

This one should be pretty obvious. After all the various lies and mistruths given to us by politicians at all levels over just the past decade, why should we believe for a moment that this money will be spent on schools? Starve the beast; restricting the government’s ability to arbitrarily raise funds is the only way we will ever be able to curb the growth of government. You do not help a crack addict by giving him money. Not to mention that the optimal way to raise revenues, even assuming we were in favor of that, is to broaden the tax base, not narrowly tax certain classes of individuals as Brown’s tax initiative does. Besides, we are Taxed Enough Already. This prop actually makes me mad, and I will likely write a lengthy screed on this in the next few days.

Prop 31 (2 year budget cycle): Yes

This one is not so simple. Anytime we are presented with something so integral to the process of governing (how a budget is formed, as opposed to whether this year’s budget has increased taxes or not, for instance), most of us are simply not specialized enough to know if this is a good idea or not. This prop is illustrative of why direct democracy is a bad idea. All that being said, having read as much as I can about it, this prop does seem like a pretty reasonable measure, though I am skeptical it will work.

Prop 32 (Ban Donations from Unions/Corporations): Yes

There are three parts to this prop: ban contributions to state and local candidates by corporations and unions, ban contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them, and ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics.

The second two are perfectly good and to some degree common sense, and I support them wholeheartedly. It’s that first part I take issue with, which I nevertheless support.

Anyone who knows me and how libertarian I am, this should be quite a surprise. The first tenet of this prop is a flagrant violation of free speech. Anyone, and, by extension, any group of people (corporations are, after all, merely a large body of people) should be allowed to contribute money to political causes and campaigns. To not allow it is a slippery slope. First you forbid corporations from donating money, and before you know it the Jews aren’t allowed to donate money, since we all know they are all in it together to overthrow democracy and establish a puppet government that enriches their business interests. It is the same line of logic, merely taken to an extreme end and used for diabolical purposes. Why then am I in favor of Prop 32?

Because I am diabolical, but more importantly: I am calculating. This will, at some point in the future, be overturned in court. That will happen, unless the courts overturn hundreds of years of legal precedent, in which case all bets are off. So since this is doomed from the beginning, why bother at all? Because in the likely considerable gap between this being approved and it being overturned, it might hamper the public sector unions in their near complete control of the state legislature and thus potentially weaken them. California is in a dire mess, and before we can be fixed, the public sector unions must be weakened, so any step in that direction is a good step.

Prop 33 (insurance): Yes

This is another one of those where it is difficult to understand what exactly is being proposed and again is illustrative of why direct democracy is a bad idea. That being said, from what I can understand (admittedly limited), this is a good prop. It gives insurance companies the freedom to provide more accommodation to consumers who are by law required to have auto insurance if they wish to drive. It is a reduction of the state’s power, as best I can tell, and is thus a good idea.

Prop 34 (end the death penalty):  No Vote

This one I am conflicted over, both for ideological reasons and also for pragmatic reasons. Without getting too in depth on the death penalty as a whole, I am skeptical that there is any real way of permanently keeping someone off the streets other than killing them, but I inherently dislike the idea of giving the government the power to kill its citizens. I dislike the fact that the death penalty is so damned expensive, and resent the fact that we pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes every year to support the death penalty without ever executing someone (it would take us more than 800 years to kill the current crop of death row inmates). I also resent the fact that those opposed to the death penalty, whom I generally dislike for their moral highhandedness (I also dislike them because they are usually liberal), have probably made the death penalty deliberately expensive as part of their master plan for getting rid of the death penalty. Thus to kill the death penalty for good reasons might nevertheless be a bad decision.

I recognize the need to reform the death penalty in California, but I do not think this is the reform we need. I would therefore vote ‘no’, were it not for my various ideological dilemmas.

Prop 35 (sex trafficking): No vote

This sounds like a good law, but the unintended consequences could be horrific. That being said, I do think it is a good law, but there is the distinct chance of it going wrong, so I will not vote for it or against it.

Prop 36 (3-strikes): No

The classic argument against 3-strikes is that some guy steals a slice of pizza and gets 30 years for it because he already has 2 strikes, and that this is somehow wrong. The simple fact is that if you get two strikes and you don’t want to go to prison for the next 30 years then you shouldn’t break the law. Most of us are capable of following the law, why should convicted felons be any different? The 3-strikes law keeps a lot of lawbreakers in prison. I say we should keep it this way.

Prop 37 (genetic food label): No

This is the most complicated prop on the ballot, but the decision is actually quite simple. Although in theory I am in favor of labeling, since it allows for consumers to make better, informed decisions, this prop is too broad in its labeling requirements. It is simply too messy a prop to be implemented without thousands of lawsuits. So I vote no.

Prop 38 (raise income tax): No

Again, this is pretty simple: more taxes=bad. We need responsible government and less government; more taxes are not the way to do this. There is plenty in California’s budget to cut. I do not think it unreasonable for the citizenry to demand some sacrifices from their government before their government demands more sacrifices from its citizens.

Prop 39 (Business tax): No

Let me reiterate: taxes=bad. Business taxes doubly so. California already has the most hostile business climate in the United States, why should we make it worse?

Prop 40 (Yea or Nay on redistricting): Yes

A yes vote means we approve of the re-districting job done by the California Citizens’ Commission. They did a pretty good job; more importantly, it wasn’t politicians’ who did the redistricting. I approve.

Sorry for the length of this, but I hope you enjoyed it at some level.-SL

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