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January 19, 2003

THIS IS WHAT WE MEAN BY AN "ORANGE COUNTY REPUBLICAN"....My state assemblyman — as well as Einstein-loving Ann's — is John Campbell (R–Irvine). There may not be many Republicans left in state government, but by God, Orange County has one of them.

So what does my assemblyman think about our budget crisis, all $35 billion of it? Like all Republicans, he pretends to believe that the $35 billion figure has been deliberately inflated to make things seems worse than they are, thus creating an excuse to raise taxes. LA Weekly asked Campbell why he thought Gray Davis was doing this:

“So,” asked the Weekly, “if Davis’ cuts solve most if not all of the crisis, why would he want to raise taxes?”

“Because he is catering to ideological liberals in the Legislature who want to raise taxes,” explained Campbell.

“So, John, if the Davis plan was enacted we would have a big budget surplus?”

“Yes, absolutely,” replied Campbell. It seemed an exciting thought. Then he reconsidered. “Well, many of the taxes would end up not being paid because people would figure out ways around them.”

Ah, yes, if we raised taxes, people would just cheat more, and we'd end up with less tax revenue. This is sort of the dark side of supply side economics, I suppose.

Sadly, though, this is the kind of Olympian intelligence we have to put up with around here. Not only is it dumb, but it even ignores political realities: everybody knows that Gray Davis wants to run for president some day, and my guess is that he would rather have his big toe hacked off than have to campaign as a governor who raised taxes. But he went ahead and proposed it anyway.

What does that tell you?

Posted by Kevin Drum at January 19, 2003 06:10 PM


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