Democracy Is Great – Unless Those People Vote Against What We Want

Aww. The tax hikes got voted down in California. Time to begin moaning about that darn democracy thingee:

Californians are well known for periodic voter revolts, but on Tuesday they did more than just lash out at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature over the state’s fiscal debacle.

By rejecting five budget measures, Californians also brought into stark relief the fact that they, too, share blame for the political dysfunction that has brought California to the brink of insolvency.

Rightly or wrongly, voters in the special election refused either to extend new tax hikes or to cap state spending. They also declined to unlock funds that they had voted in better financial times to set aside for special purposes.

Nearly a century after the Progressive-era birth of the state’s ballot-measure system, it is clear that voters’ fickle commands, one proposition at a time, are a top contributor to paralysis in Sacramento. And that, in turn, has helped cripple the capacity of the governor and Legislature to provide effective leadership to a state of more than 38 million people.

The article quotes many California academics. I highly suspect from which side of the political spectrum their politics come, but I’ll let readers judge for themselves. 

The problem, as I see it, with the entire system of ballot initiatives and referendums in the states that allow them is that there are no checks and balances on them. But it always amusing to see the left – which strongly supports these measures when the vote goes in their favor – start whining when the tables get turned.

I’d be interested in seeing how many of the people quoted as complaining about this particular outcome were supporters of some of the initiatives that raised spending to unsupportable levels.

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