Try Some, Buy Some

Every desktop should have a link to The Devil’s Dictionary, the masterwork of Ambrose Bierce, who had his primary success in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Bierce’s cynical lexicography still rings true, a full century after he wandered into Mexico to meet his Maker circa 1914. To use one example, Bierce defines “adherent” as follows:

ADHERENT, n. A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects to get.

All politicians are on the lookout for adherents, especially a guy like Gavin Newsom, the upmarket Jacob Frey who is (a) governor of California and (b) facing a recall. Newsom is a man in a hurry, so he’s looking to get some adherents in bulk:

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a second round of $600 state stimulus checks on Monday to hasten California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to expand the payments from low-income residents to also include middle-class families, and noting that doing so would ensure benefits for 2 out of 3 state residents.

The proposal to deliver $8 billion in new cash payments to millions of Californians is part of a $100-billion economic stimulus plan made possible in part by a budget that has swelled with a significant windfall of tax revenues, a surplus the governor put at $75.7 billion.

You might wonder where the money came from, but never mind that, because ol’ Gavin’s not done — he’s also rent seeking, er, offering rent assistance: 

Newsom also proposed $5 billion to double rental assistance to get 100% of back rent paid for those who have fallen behind, along with as much as $2 billion in direct payments to pay down utility bills, proposals that were supported by legislative leaders on Monday.

This is hilariously corrupt but hey, who doesn’t love a stimmy? And since California is famously a one-party state, no one is gonna stop Newsom from buying his way out of a recall. Recall elections in Minnesota are essentially impossible, so Tim Walz doesn’t need to do this sort of thing, but there’s little doubt he’d pull the same stunt were it required. I think it’s safe to assume all Dem officeholders who find themselves in trouble will make it rain next year.  

6 thoughts on “Try Some, Buy Some

  1. And you can bet Nancy Peelosi won’t let a corrupt relative go down in flames.

  2. So paying people not to work will stimulate the economy? Genius. Pure Genius™.

  3. Actually, jpa, it does. The formula for determining Gross Domestic Product includes government spending. More unemployment, bail-outs and give-aways increases the government spending component of GDP. Increase it to the point where nobody works, we still have a booming economy, on paper.

    Of course, the formula itself might be bat-shit crazy, but those are the official numbers. You can’t challenge the official numbers, for GDP or Covid deaths or election results. It’s SCIENCE. What are you, some sort of Denier?

  4. In the Keynesian formula for GDP, government spending is an input, but it’s multiplier is always 1.0, you wouldn’t need the government to fund it, private investors would do it.
    I’ve always thought it a weak point of state governance that current citizen’s of, say, California, can put future California citizens on the hook for spending done now, but paid for decades later. It goes against the very idea of republican self-rule if the citizens of 1980 California can dictate the way public money is spent by 2020 California.

  5. It goes against the very idea of republican self-rule if the citizens of 1980 California can dictate the way public money is spent by 2020 California.

    100% true statement. But the primary beneficiaries of that 1980 spending are now out of reach.

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