The terrible legacy of California’s Propositions 10 and 13

 By Jerry Todd, staff writer

Bloomberg News’ Christopher Palmeri recently wrote of the legacy of Proposition 13 still hovering over California. It has far too often been said that “As goes California, so goes the nation.” 33 year old Proposition 13 has become a broad generic term for tax revolt.

Palmeri reports that at least 20 states have followed the 13 lemming. Tax reform was needed, but it has become apparent that 13 was not the right formula. However, there was far more to that 1978 election than Proposition 13 – its evil stepsister was Proposition 10 promoted by the banking industry.

I wised up to the progressive movement years ago, but only saw it as a perverse form of totalitarian politics. I’ve never met a tax expert who could tell me what Proposition 10 was on the 1978 California ballot. Proposition 10 was designed to repeal California’s usury laws.  Events leading up to the election saw banks’ drying up capital in California and some Bible Belt states, making it impossible to buy a home, automobile, refrigerator or borrow funds for business operations.

After Proposition 13 passed, local tax revenues plunged to the point that schools, parks, roads and public safety suffered for lack of operating funds. After Proposition 10, interest rates on auto, home, appliance and business loans skyrocketed to the 12 -20% range. Lenders would now finance at “competitive” interest rates.

 Ultimately, usury costs far outstripped the high taxes people suffered pre-13. Our money was transferred from running the local community to enriching financial speculators. With the 10-13 combination – starving local budgets and overwhelmed families and businesses, the Feds slowly usurped an active role in their greatest incompetence: Health, Education and Welfare. Teachers and public employees’ unions sensing power joined the rush to federalization.

Financial and emotional pressures tore at families with babies on the way. Quit her job, lose the house or get an abortion? Divorce rates skyrocketed; maybe for a new love interest at work. If she had feminist tendencies, she might bolt to “find herself.” Day care was fulfilling the feminist dream of state-raised children. Progressives understand; you must manipulate taxes and rates to bring about societal change.

The “Great Society” created a dependency class and a “welfare industry” that feeds on it. The poor were always taken care of through dedicated individuals, professionals, medical companies, high class church and foundation related services and facilities – Mercy, Shriner’s, St. Jude’s, Cedars-Sinai hospitals, Catholic Charities and Salvation Army to name a few.

The National Association of Life Underwriters in 1973 reported that federal funding of any social service is four times more expensive than the work of traditional humanitarian agencies. Yet, the Obama Administration is working to reduce or remove tax deductibility for charitable donations by the “rich” as part of his “Jobs Bill.” After all, the government can better take care of the people – right? Was the unique combination of 10 and 13 a “progressive” conspiracy? You decide.

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