Friday, May 11, 2012
Prop 29 Takes the Cake (Away) and Eats It Too
Eight years ago, those wild and crazy Californian voters passed yet another massive spending project, this time to generate $30 billion in bonds for stem-cell research. Dubbed Proposition 71, which stands for 7 billion taxpayer dollars for the hope of one ounce of cure, is just another reverse Robin Hood scheme—rob from the middle class to create a few more members of the nouveau riche. Yes, to say that the payout odds were 7-to-1 would be massively optimistic, and massively wrong—unless you’re on staff. Cha-ching! Predictably, the project is currently steeped in controversy. With no accountability, the top of their food chain rakes in a killing while mismanaging tens of millions of borrowed dollars. For fun. To date, not even a hint of one of the promised miracle cures materialized. But then, it doesn’t have to...that is not part of the deal. No end result is required from the $30 billion in loans. It is research for a good cause, so pitch in and do your part. Stop asking questions. They’ve got golf club memberships to pay, after all. That same line of thoughtless thinking in the same state that is financially sinking now pitches a new medical research proposition. On June 5, voters will decide whether or not to fund Proposition 29, a billion dollar tax hike. I can think of about a billion reasons to vote this crazy scheme down. One reason is that Robert Klein, the head cheese who pushed for Prop 71 (cha-ching!) just donated $5,000 of his own money to the Yes on Proposition 29 campaign. St. Robert the Research Dollar Generator should feel personally responsible for condemning California to debt, but he apparently feels absolved of any wrongdoing, for he is at it again. Special Favors for Political Insiders Like St. Robert’s pet stem-cell research project failure, Proposition 29 is also exempt from yearly oversight. If passed, it will have its funds continuously appropriated, not even pending good behavior. If it is riddled with waste, fraud, and abuse—and I bet you a box of Cuban cigars it will be—it will still get its dirty money. Butt out, Governor. Take a hike, Legislature. The Prop 29 people will do what they want with our tax dollars! If you thought nepotism and cronyism only thrived in government, you should see what happens with co-opted California research dollars. A scant 15% of the forcibly confiscated funds made it to the outside, to institutions not represented by cronies on the board. $930 million stayed in their pockets. How do you say, like, “total conflicts of interest” with a California accent? Martha Stewart was thrown in the slammer for far less dirty insider dealing. This is simply how the system works—insiders successfully game it because duped taxpayers continue to pay out. I suspect California voters are catching on, if only because they have nothing left to give. Another $735 million to be generated by Proposition 29 will be administered by a special panel stacked with political appointees. Cha-ching! Their decisions will be set in stone for 15 years, even if they are caught with their pants down in the name of cancer prevention. Ballot box budgeting is a disaster. Prop 29 is just another drop in the bucket of California’s financial collapse. You can bet the farm on that!