The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 November 2007

You earned it, but it's ours anyway

The very first official act by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the first hour after he was sworn in, was to roll back the 300-percent increase in auto-license fees imposed by predecessor Gray Davis. The Assembly, then as now controlled by Democrats, complained that it would reduce revenues, and indeed the Governator had to come up with some emergency funds for local governments, which had been counting on those extra bucks.

"Counting on," though, is one thing: insisting that government has a right to it is something entirely different. With the Golden State's budget looking more like zinc, it's apparently time to relive those wonderful moments of 2003:

"There is an ongoing gap between state expenditures and revenues that this governor helped create by slashing vehicle license fees and refusing to balance that loss with revenue from another source," Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, said in a written statement.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, echoed Perata's sentiment, adding that wiping out the increase in the fee has resulted in "squandering $20 billion [since 2003] so that an average car owner can pocket $200 a year."

Yeah. Who the hell are these "average car owners," that their pocketbooks should have precedence over Sacramento's?

Sometimes I miss California. This isn't one of those times.

Posted at 7:40 PM to Political Science Fiction


""Counting on," though, is one thing: insisting that government has a right to it is something entirely different."

This is an extremely important semantic point. A right is a property you can morally defend with force. It's something that belongs to its owner because he's a recognized moral agent, whose rights are symmetric to those of all moral agents. But a government is not a moral agent; it's a delegated agent. Indeed, force is a government's one and only method for getting anything. Governments have no rights; they have powers: powers to act in place of the moral agents who delegated them their duties.

But we've introduced so much offal into our political discourse that few persons who read the above would do anything but shrug and say, "So what's the big deal?"

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 3:45 AM on 16 November 2007

Yeah. Who the hell are these "average car owners," that their pocketbooks should have precedence over Sacramento's?

Why, merely THE DESTROYERS OF ALL LIFE ON EARTH!!!1!! Xenu Gore said so!

Posted by: McGehee at 8:43 AM on 16 November 2007

Don't knock zinc. Because of zinc, the average car owner's average car lasts a whole lot longer these days.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 3:38 PM on 17 November 2007

You're just trying to galvanize controversy, Snitcho.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:09 PM on 17 November 2007