Voodoo Budgeting in California

The LA Times on Sunday had a spread on the candidates’ positions on the state budget crisis. It could hardly have been sadder. Naturally, Aaaaaanold refused to reply at all; that made his response easily the most straightforward and least insulting of the bunch.

If you, like me, thought that Peter Ueberroth was running as the adult supervision in the race, forget about it: he’s still promising to abolish unspecified “wasteful spending” and waffling about the need for tax increases. His newly unveiled “economic plan” [*] relies largely on a tax amnesty and asset sales, both of them irrelevant to the problem of getting expenditures in line with sustainable revenues.

Bustamante is a little more serious — he’s willing to admit that taxes have to go up, and even specify which taxes in a fairly sensible way — but doesn’t seem to be willing to tell the voters that there are good things the state could afford to do when the capital gains taxes were rolling in that it can’t afford to do now.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com