Austin Hill

“It’s a matter of ideology trumping reality…”

That assessment came from Syndicated Columnist Tony Blankley. It was Christmas Eve morning, December 24th, and we were each guest hosting local shows at Washington, DC’s 630 WMAL talk radio.

I was in to cover for vacationing host (and former Congressman) Fred Grandy in the early morning “drive time” hours, while Blankley was filling-in for DC favorite Chris Plante during the late morning (9a-12n Eastern) show.

I had asked Blankley to join me in-studio for a segment on my program, and to talk about a place we have both known and loved, California. While I was born and raised there, Blankley, a native of the U.K., spent some of his youth and young adult years in the Golden State. And we were both marveling – in a “troubled” sort of way – at the amazing ability of California leadership to ignore its very serious problems.

As if the $6 billion budget shortfall that he presided over didn’t really exist – a deficit that is expected to expand to a whopping $24.5 billion over the next eighteen months - outgoing Governor Arnold Governor Schwarzenegger had just called the legislature in to a “special session,” but then had called a press conference to announce his “really big plan.” For a second and final time before leaving office, he was going to try and legislate a state-wide ban on plastic grocery bags. This, he explained, would help save the planet, but would also help create so-called “green jobs.”

Indeed, this was a matter of “ideology trumping reality.” And never mind that Rome is burning -California will “be green.”

But that was last month. Now, a guy who was Governor for eight of my elementary, junior high and high school years is Governor yet again. A perennial government employee, Jerry Brown is back in Sacramento, and it looks like his third term is going to be as ideological as ever.

To be fair, I must admit my tremendous respect and admiration for our “new” Governor. At age 72, Brown is (amazingly) just as articulate and energetic and erudite as he ever was. In many ways he seems like he’s more at the “top of his game” now than when I was a kid. But his energy and mental sharpness aside, Jerry Brown is a big-government liberal – and right now, California desperately needs to move in the direction of New Jersey (especially given current Governor Chris Christie’s success at cutting government spending), and not in the direction of Greece.

But ideology still trumps reality in California, even in this new, “post Arnold” era. And so it was that, less than twenty-four hours after his inauguration, Governor Jerry Brown began laying the groundwork for raising taxes in California, rather than cutting government spending.

Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.