California makes history as the first state in the nation to beg the Federal government to come to its financial rescue during the 2008-2009 US recession. Its treasurer, Bill Lockyer, wrote a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner yesterday asking for help in the form of cold, hard cash through TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program).
Lockyer’s plea included the increasingly common tear-wrenching and fear-conjuring threat that police and fire protection/services, education, and social-service programs would be slashed unless someone saves California from a certain death.
It’s a narrative we’ve all seen played out dozens of times since Hollywood’s silent film era…Picture the villan tying the ingenue damsel in white to the railroad tracks…pan to train chugging down the track at a high rate of speed…Our hero comes to the rescue just in time!
The difference? Nel was a victim of Snidley Whiplash, and Dudley Do-Right was the only one who could save her. California is a victim of its own mismanagement. Should Uncle Sam play Dudley Do-Right come to its financial rescue?
I’ll turn to Hollywood again for the answer. How many times have you seen a film or TV show with this line:”You saved my life! I am forever indebted to you!”? If California takes a bailout, it will forever be indebted to Washington DC… threatening the strength of the Tenth Amendment, which limits the power of the federal government. California will surrender its Constitutionally assigned state rights in exchange for what stands to be a temporary solvency.
One more Hollywood analogy–This is just the beginning of a horror movie, or the set-up for a Twilight Zone episode about the selfish actions of hapless humans which create a monster.
Everytime we allow the federal government to overstep the boundaries of the Constitution, we feed the beast, its appetite grows and it seeps into every nook and cranny of our lives. The Blob comes to mind. As the 1958 movie trailer warns, “It crawls, it creeps, it eats you alive!”
We need to stop this monster from growing, and fire extinguisher foam is not going to do the trick.