High prices, low service

William Voegeli's editorial in the LA Times takes a look at what, exactly, the state of California provides for it's tax largesse. The answer is that our services are actually significantly worse than lower-tax states all around. The extra money appears to be funneled into public employee unions and pensions, of which the Golden State has very lucrative ones indeed. I'm glad Voegeli found numbers, but it was something I suspected all along. I have lived in the high-tax states of CA, MA, and WA. I have lived in a low-tax state, NH. There was little or no tangible difference for me living in any of them, except NH had one of the best school systems in the country. But I'm a white, usually middle class, male.

I was asked a while back why I hate taxes so much. I gave some philosophical answer, but it might be better to turn it around. Why don't you hate taxes? If every payday someone came up to you, and said he would put you in jail unless you gave him 30% of what you make. Lets say you had no legal recourse against this guy. How long before you tried to kill him? When its the mafia, it's theft or at best protection money. When it's politicians and bureaucrats it's ...? This all comes around to a point. Politicians and bureaucrats are not exempt to human weakness. When you give them a monopoly on public money social services, like CA did in the last 30-40 years, they behave just like monopolists: they jack up the price, erode the quality of the service, and take the difference for themselves.

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