Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Curmudgeon's Guide for Young Conservative Voters

California Special Election Edition (May 19, 2009)

Here we go again, young conservatives. Uncle Woody was wondering just how long it would take before California politicians ("Spending Your Money So You Don't Get To") came up with a special election to hide the fact that, basically, they're just one big, happy, dysfunctional family up there in Sacramento.

Governor Steroids has already shown that he'd rather put the blame on the voters than try to get those girly men in the legislature to sit down and make tough choices in order to balance our budget. Didn't work last time, either. In fact, Uncle Woody is going to go out on a limb here and say that, pound for pound, special elections in California are about as effective as an Obama cabinet appointee.

Your California politicians were so lazy this time, young conservatives, that they didn't even bother to come up with new numbers for each proposition on the ballot. No, this time we get to decide between 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, and 1F. 4-F is actually what comes to Uncle Woody's mind when he sees this sort of nonsense, and those who once upon a time had to worry about being drafted know what Uncle Woody is talking about. Heaven only knows what we'd be paying for if the legislature ever made it to 2.

So let's make it easy this time around and give you the ENTIRE BALLOT RECOMMENDATION IN ONE WORD, okay, young conservatives? Here it is:


It really is just that simple, young conservatives. Uncle Woody wants you all to march into your polling places on May 19, look at the silly ballot that's already costing taxpayers millions of dollars during an economic downturn (makes sense!) and select "No" for every proposition on the page.

But, of course, you young conservatives have come to rely on Uncle Woody's rapier wit and detailed analyses of these ballot initiatives over the years, so I'll go ahead and chime in:

1A (Boy, this sounds familiar, doesn't it?) In the last election, 1A masqueraded as a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I think. That was several months ago before we elected Hope and Change to the White House. My memory is already numb. Anyway, 1A has now been rebranded as "State Budget. Changes California Budget Process. Limits State Spending. Increases 'Rainy Day' Budget Stabilization Fund."

Considering the fact that we haven't enjoyed a budget surplus in this state since Pete Wilson was in office, and the fact that RINO-in-Chief Schwarzenburger, or whatever his name is, can't get anyone to agree with any of his spending policies, I can't imagine that it's actually the "process" that needs fixing. In fact, Uncle Woody envisions "fixing" a large number of Sacramento politicians in the veterinary sense of the word.

That Uncle Woody would support.

1B Titled "Education Funding. Payment Plan." It should also be sub-titled "Heavily Sponsored by the Socialist California Teachers Association." This one is a highly transparent attempt by the teachers union in this state to punish the Governator for "borrowing" $2 billion a few years ago and forgetting (you know how it is with taxes) to pay it back. Can't get it back from Arnie? Soak the taxpayers!

In fact, 1A and 1B are being heavily pursued by the CTA, and it's no wonder. They want "their" money back, and they want to prevent state politicos from ever grabbing it again.

I wish them better luck than we taxpayers have had, but they'll get no help from Uncle Woody.

1C "Lottery Modernization Act." Oh, for Pete's sake. We don't "need" a lottery in the first place, and now they think that "modernizing" it is somehow going to generate more money for the state. So, let's see: they'll need to update lottery machines across the state, then figure out a way to recoup the investment. What to do... what to do...? Wait! Of course! The taxpayers will help! They LOVE the lottery!

Just one quick question: How many of those innumerable millionaires you've created with the lottery still live in California? Anyone? Bueller?

1D "Protects Children's Services Funding. Helps Balance State Budget." So, I'm a little surprised that I haven't seen intensive video of starving children a la Ethopian relief agency ads, because that's frankly the way this proposition is written. "Temporarily provides greater flexibility in funding to preserve health and human services for young children" is how this travesty begins. What they leave out is that they're really trying to get funding for all those undocumented children that taxpayers are getting more leery of supporting when they're having a hard time saving up for their own retirements these days.

Also, and let Uncle Woody be crystal clear here, young conservatives: the State General Fund is not a sacred cow. Time and time again, Sacramento has proven itself capable of moving that money around like some legalized Ponzi scheme, and nary a nickel of it ever ends up where it was intended.

1E "Mental Health Services Funding. Temporary Reallocation. Helps Balance State Budget."

Right. Also solves global warming, cures the common cold, and generates cold fusion renewable energy sources.

Or not.

Look, as with 1D, this is just another attempt by special interest lobbies in Sacramento to get their hands on money that we don't have. So, shuffle it around temporarily, then slip it back into the General Fund when no one is looking. Right? What could be easier?

Oh, Uncle Woody doesn't know... how about balancing the actual state budget for a change?

1F "Elected Officials' Salaries. Prevents Pay Increases During Budget Deficit Years." This one actually made Uncle Woody laugh, young conservatives. Not out loud, though. It's after midnight here at Hacienda Woody, and Uncle Woody doesn't want to wake Auntie Woody up. But I'm laughing on the inside.

Hey, we already have safeguards for preventing pay increases for elected officials, but we voters are typically too lazy or too stupid to actually use them. It's called "voting the bums out," and so far as Uncle Woody is concerned, no politician in Sacramento is immune. Or ought to be, anyway. If these idiots in tailored suits actually believe that they deserve to be paid more for wasting our money in the first place, then Uncle Woody thinks it's time to help them with a career adjustment.

So there you have it, young conservatives. Doubtless you're wondering to yourselves, "Gee. How can we possibly repay Uncle Woody for this extremely valuable advice?" Whereupon I reply, "Aw, shucks, young conservatives, it's nothing really. No, really. It's nothing. Put down the pitchforks and torches, young conservatives. Uncle Woody was only kidding! Really! Vote any way you like! Please!!"

I'm nothing if not a patriot.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yes, I Paid My Taxes. Why Wouldn't I?

What with one thing and another I had a dickens of a time getting my taxes done. And before you ask, no, I am not being considered for any cabinet positions in Obama's administration.

No, I just ran out of time, or nearly so. It happened last year, for perhaps the first time in my memory. I'd had to file an extension, and we took advantage of nearly every day of that six month wait. I really didn't want to deal with that again this year.

But today was a busy day. We did not attend any tea parties today. It wasn't that we didn't support the idea — we fully support those who believe the government has taken a sharp left turn toward socialism and are willing to make their voices heard — but today was Field Trip Day.

You remember: we homeschool. Wednesdays, even those that fall on Tax Day, we try to dedicate to our homeschool group. Especially now that Mrs. Woody is its leader. So this morning found us wending our way to San Juan Capistrano to visit their magnificent mission.

Let me just state that, for all the wind and cool weather today, it was absolutely a gorgeous day. Spring brings both swallows ("not as many as we've had in the past") and beautiful foliage in the mission's many planters and gardens ("just wait a few weeks and this whole area will be purple!"). The Woodyettes were duly impressed with the historical displays and museum exhibits liberally (so to speak) sprinkled throughout the buildings. The old Stone Church is still impressive, even sitting in earthquake-induced ruins.

But of course we didn't get home until late afternoon. Also (of course!) I had yet to file our taxes for this year.

It's never a question of actually paying them, you understand. That part is always taken care of for me. The only real question is how much we should be getting back from the increasingly bankrupt government in any given year.

Still, whether I pay or get paid, they still need to be filed. After a long day of field tripping with my family, I was all for simply filing the dratted extension once again and giving myself more breathing room. Then I realized that for all the hassle of "estimating" what I might have had to pay the Feds and the state in order to beg for the extension, it would be infinitely easier to just fill out the silly forms and file on time. So I did.

Then I surfed around to see what happened at the various Tea Parties held around the country today.

Overall, I must say I'm impressed. The tea party spirit has taken hold and given conservatives (and fiscally responsible moderates) something to do short of ripping out copious amounts of hair. Of equal importance to the events themselves, however, is the reaction of liberal pundits and news organizations to the protests today. Sneering contempt, I would have to say. How dare these brainwashed minions of the Evil Fox News perform a feat that is the holy domain of liberals and radicals in this country? Even Nancy Pelosi was reduced to referring to the protests as "astroturfing."

I deem these reactions to be of import precisely because if we're making them that upset, we must be hitting pretty close to the mark. Over at Wizbang (I think... it's late and I'm too lazy to go back and give a proper citation) they mentioned having watched Keith Olbermann, who blustered about how ignorant we stupid conservatives must be of the overwhelming benefits of being taxed into the next three or four generational afterlives. I kid you not: they're trying to attach New Deal optimism to Obama's hardly-original and certainly un-noteworthy tax and spend policies. "Where were you when Bush was spending?" one counter-protestor's sign read today. Well, Junior, I was protesting that Bush had crossed over from fiscal conservative to deficit-spending moderate in his last few years of office. But his spending was (and remains) a mere fraction of what Obama has generated. Legacy, indeed.

So, unlike most of Obama's appointees, I've paid my taxes this year. But I haven't given up on October 15th of this year yet. Something tells me Obama may come calling about then, asking us to ante up a second (or third or fourth) time this year. But he won't find me.

I'll be in the mountains of Idaho with all those right-wing extremist Iraq-war veterans.