When a debt provides surplus relief

In a post-State of the Union speech in Buffalo, N.Y., on Jan. 20, 1999, President Bill Clinton was asked why he would not cut taxes if the nation had a surplus. According to the Washington Times, he responded, “We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right. … But … if you don’t spend it right, here’s what’s going to happen. In 2013—that’s just 14 years away—taxes people pay on their payroll for Social Security will no longer cover the monthly checks. … I want every parent here to look at the young people here, and ask yourself, ‘Do you really want to run the risk of squandering this surplus?'”

Astute readers of this column often comment about my forays into the People’s Republic of California. (In no small part, they have molded and otherwise cemented your Host’s firm decision about his rightness.)

I say something akin to this every time I enter said state: Yea, though I walk through the Valley of Idiots, I shall fear no evil. Because many liberals, though dangerous, are dense.

If you need proof, then perhaps you should consider these two concepts: First, every menu in every restaurant contains a warning about the dangers of consuming raw or undercooked foods. And yet I can’t get a rare hamburger to save my life. Raw fish, however, seems to be a staple for most Californians.

Second, how else can liberals believe that the über-wealthy can’t figure out how to avoid obscene taxation—without holding a similar belief that every wealthy person has the overall intelligence of Paris Hilton?

Said another way, I show most of my clients how to protect their money from the People’s Republic, by showing them how to outsmart moron politicians who think they’re smarter than, well, me.

You will perhaps recall the California electricity crisis and resulting budget deficit of 2003, which fried then-California Gov. Gray Davis’ political career. In July 2003, Davis was so unpopular that a successful recall election resulted in actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger taking the state’s reins.

Those who frequently cross the Sierra will recall a certain agriculture inspection station on Interstate 80 near Truckee.

Shortly after said election, that station was essentially shut down with “no inspection today” signs all over the place. I figured it as another “non-essential government employees” lay off due to the state’s budget deficit. (Note: If your government job is considered “non-essential,” you have no business having that job.)

Not long after the station was shut down, low-and-behold, a new one was built. The new and improved Truckee Agriculture Inspection Station is adjacent to the California Highway Patrol’s truck weigh station and recently had its grand opening.

Turns out, it was planned way back in 2001. (www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2001/cap_outlay/co_25_8570.htm)

According to the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Report: “We recommend the Legislature shift $3.5 million of the $11.2 million requested from the General Fund for construction of the Truckee inspection station to the State Highway Account because the improvements to be funded by this amount are for the benefit of the state highway system.”

Some news reports say the station ended up costing a cool $22 million, and, get this, the new station will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.

“Spokeswoman Nancy Lungren of the California Department of Food and Agriculture said the department has asked for [another] $2.5 million to inspect boats for quagga and zebra mussels at five state inspection stations, including Truckee,” according to a Sierra Sun report.

So much for deficits. Or surpluses.

This perhaps brings me back to Clinton’s assertions.