Tuesday, June 30, 2009

There's No Dissonance Like Cognitive Dissonance

The Chronicle today has a great front-page article on Modoc County:
Modoc has the highest Republican registration of any county in California, it unfailingly elects anti-tax Republicans to office, and the vote here against last month's ballot measure that would have raised a variety of taxes was one of the most lopsided in the state. And yet, per capita, Modoc County gets more state taxpayer dollars than all but one of California's 58 counties....

"I don't think voters in the conservative counties understand the connection between the service they are receiving and the votes their representatives are making," Evans said. "Maybe the layers of government are so convoluted that many people don't realize how it works."

In Modoc, the way it works is that if the cuts being proposed go through, near-catastrophe will reign, said County Administrative Officer Mark Charlton.

He said the entire road maintenance service would be closed except for snowplowing on a few main roads, the welfare-to-work CalWORKS program would be cut in half, many mental health patients would no longer be monitored and would relapse and wind up behind bars, and there would be fewer police patrols.
It's easy to laugh at Modoc, but the attitude is pervasive in California. Way too many people (and 34% is all it takes) believe in the Anti-Tax Fairy, who delivers all the essential services without anyone ever having to pay.

Taxes, of course, just go to limousines for legislators. Cut taxes 100%, and everybody's fine.

But the punchline comes from a Republican rancher quoted in the article:
And if the Capitol does indeed slash Modoc County's money for road maintenance, health services and welfare job training - which will happen, if Sacramento's Republicans get their way - McGarva and Hodge have the same plan.

"Well, we'll just get by the way we did in the Great Depression - on our own," McGarva said.
Yes, that's right: the New Deal was a triumph of individualistic anti-government self-reliance.

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