Debra J. Saunders

Two, Nunez and company believe Schwarzenegger could balance the budget without withholding the cost-of-living increase if he did not propose accelerating the payment of the economic-recovery bonds to the tune of $600 million. Nunez spokesman Richard Stapler said the matter would be settled if "instead of paying off Wall Street" Schwarzenegger focused on "Main Street."

Oddly, though, AB118 is all about Wall Street. It would put the state into the venture capital business. Think dot-com bubble. As GOP Assemblyman Michael DuVall observed, "I don't think that's a good investment."

Stapler argued that AB118 "is a pretty good investment, not only to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but also to clear the air in California."

Problem is, real-life venture capitalists are likely to jump into the best fad fuel investments quickly. State taxpayers could be left with the fumes.

"Either venture money will follow us, or vice versa," Stapler responded. I still wonder why state taxpayers should have to bankroll research when the private sector can do it.

Besides, politicians have been promising to reduce American dependence on foreign oil for decades -- with little to show for it.

You have to wonder if Sacramento's favorite use of energy is burning other people's money.

Sacramento has long faced a choice between doing a few things well and many things poorly. Time and again, lawmakers choose to do many things poorly. Why shouldn't they? They keep getting re-elected.

Debra J. Saunders

TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Debra Saunders' column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.