I’m in trouble again. You see, I have this bad habit of pointing out the obvious. Yesterday, my former editor/boss Jeff Pelline proudly displayed his Tiki bar and told the loyal readers of his blog to enjoy the beautiful California weather, eat some ribs, and ignore the “nattering nabobs of negatism” who keep beating their bongos of doom and gloom. Usually, I would ignore his pollyanna pronouncements, but I had just finished reading a New York Times article on how Apple is avoiding their taxes by sheltering their massive profits in other states. Apple is not alone, most of the Big Corporations doing business in the golden state have figured this out long ago.
If I’m a little bitter this week, it’s because of these unequal applications of the law. As I noted in another post, I managed to pay off my home recently. It was all done in-family, and the only difference was having my brother’s name removed from the title we shared for a quarter century. As a result, I was kicked off the Prop 13 roles and my property taxes were doubled. I can manage the difference, and I’m not opposed to paying my fair share of taxes, but that’s wherein the problem lies.
You see, Apple, HP, Wal-mart and countless others figured out a long time ago how to avoid such costly transactions. They never actually “sell” their properties, but employ accountants and lawyers who are adept at goosing the law that was intended to help seniors keep their homes safe from the inflated California real estate market. Republicans have blocked all attempts to amend this travesty, so here we are. Fair share, indeed.
But my outrage is not limited to the Pachyderm Party. There is a growing chorus of voices in the media (except for guys like Jeff) who wonder how long California’s ruling party can ignore the reality of ever-increasing deficits. They have miscalculated every projected influx of tax revenue for years now, but keep holding on to the idea that “things will get better” if we just wait for a few more quarters. When the legislators were docked for perpetuating such fantasies, they simply went to court and got their paychecks reinstated. Neener neener! I got mine, screw you.
The answer, we are told, is to raise taxes, mostly on those fat cat one percenters who will simply raise the prices on everything they sell to us peons. Meanwhile, our state government continues to morph into a modern day Tammany Hall. Democrats who shoplift or use their campaign slush funds to elect drug addict spouses to office get a slap on the wrist. Any Republican would have been hounded out of office before you could say “Chuck Quackenbush.”
So enjoy your Tiki bar, Jeff. Just remember that the people behind those masks are cannibals, and someday the head cannibal may ask you what you do. When you answer “editor” he will say “soon you be editor-in-chief.”