Problems with Kulongoski’s budget

Gov. Kulongoski has made good on his first two campaign promises. First he has increased spending. Second he has increased taxes. I realize that the beginning of the legislative session is still a month away and that “legally” these are only the governor’s proposals. However, with the Democrats now in control of both houses of the legislature, we can safely assume that the governor’s proposals are simply the floor from which the adopted budget will grow significantly. After all there are dozens of special interest groups that need to be fed at the public trough.

No, nobody should be surprised that the governor is going to increase spending but the amount by which he proposes to increase it should, but won’t, set off alarms in every taxpayer’s purse and pocketbook. The reason that it won’t set off any alarms is because the state is currently awash in tax revenue – nearly two billion dollars more than the previous biennium. The governor’s proposed budget can be adopted without a general tax increase and, therefore, will be invisible to most. (There is a general income tax increase on business in the form of refusing to refund the “kicker” to business.)

But the size of the proposed spending increase is a signal that Oregon government has returned to business as usual and has learned nothing from the recent past. During the exhilarating years of the 90’s when Oregon’s high tech industry grew at phenomenal rates and produced a plethora of jobs and, therefore, tax revenue, Oregon’s total personal income grew at slightly over six percent per annum. (Total personal income represents all income from all sources – passive and active – for all Oregonians, and, therefore reflects not only the growth in individual income but also the growth in population.) But government spending grew at even a faster rate, slightly over ten percent per annum – just about what the governor is proposing with his new budget and slightly less than what the Democrats will ultimately adopt after feeding their special interests. The average growth in total personal income over the last twenty years has been slightly over five percent.

And therein lies the problem. It is mathematically impossible to sustain ten percent per annum growth in government spending when the source of the revenue (taxpayers’ total personal income) is only growing at between five and six percent. That is, it is impossible without a tax increase. That mathematical certainty becomes more apparent in a recession – just like the recession Oregon experienced in 2001-04. The exorbitant growth in spending in the decade proceeding that recession assured that state government would encounter a fiscal crisis. Government never responds to fiscal crises like a business. Its first choice is never “belt tightening.” Rather, it is always to increase revenue through higher taxes. Thus we saw the government try to impose two tax increases in the midst of the most recent recession – the first for $800M and the second for $1.2B – both of which were turned back by the voters in successive elections.

Because of the unsustainable spending increases in the previous decade, when the voters rejected those tax increases the impact on the budget was that much more severe. No, we didn’t sustain massive layoffs of public employees. No, we didn’t see the elderly dying in the streets. No, we didn’t see the doors to the prisons open and the dregs of society pour out to endanger the citizenry. All of those catastrophes were predicted by the big spenders – the liberals, public employees unions, and career politicians. The only part of their scare tactics that came to pass were isolated early closures of school terms – and those were not caused by the failure to adopt the tax increases, but rather because then-Gov. Kitzhaber and other public officials refused to reduce spending when signs of the recession were first confirmed and thus imposed the whole of the shortfall on the final quarter of spending.

And now we are hard at uncontrolled spending again. Spending at unsustainable levels. Spending without regard to the fact that recessions follow expansions as night follows day.

Serious economists, stock market analysts and portfolio managers have already raised cautionary flags with regard to the current economic growth. The housing market downturn hasn’t and won’t have its full effect until foreclosures begin on those who borrowed to purchase and resell (flipping), those with adjustable rate mortgages exhaust their initial low rate, and those with the introductory custom loans (interest only, etc.) realize that their loan amount exceeds the now reduced value of their equity. The severe cuts by Ford and General Motors will have long range effects that may not be felt for several months because of the buy out packages and the phased job elimination. And finally, the continuing growth in the defined benefit pension programs for both business and government (PERS) continue to adversely impact future investment and program spending. When the next recession hits, Oregon will suffer the same fate as it did in the last recession. Without a willingness to control spending within the parameters of sustainable economic growth, Oregon is destined for these continuing severe boom/bust cycles forever.

All of this appears to escape Gov. Kulongoski and will escape the Democrats in control of the legislature. For them it is never a problem. After all you can simply raise taxes.

  • Jerry

    Larry is absolutely correct in all that he says. Another problem not mentioned is that most of the state expenditures never reach the average citizen of Oregon. Only the down and out, the poor, the criminally insane, the incarcerated, and the “special ones” (they know who they are) actually dervie any benefit from most state spending. Average law abiding taxpayers do not benefit much from state expenditures in the areas of health and human resources.
    So, Oregon continues on with the failed notion of wealth redistribution, which has failed miserably everywhere and everytime it has been tried.
    Sadly, no one seems to care.


    I agree completely! Too bad, all the money will be wasted instead of invested in Oregons future 🙁

  • Capt Anon

    Aside from seeing the article here as complete hogwash, I do have a question. If the people on this board want roads so badly, how could the state build them without increasing spending more than 10%? Roads and bridges are EXPENSIVE. right of way acquisition is insanely expensive. meeting all the federal requirements for environmental impact is expensive. public participation is expensive. alignment studies are expensive. staff to build and contract out is expensive. what is funny is i’ve seen comments on here before about people wanting to cut the ODOT staff from 5000 to 1000. how on earth can they serve the entire state with an 80% reduction in staff and still build highways, bypasses, etc? take a proposed 217 widening for instance. it would cost in the billions to widen it one lane each way. from the actual concrete and steel of the extra lanes to the temporary lanes that would be needed while construction was taking place, to the lengthening of the overpasses, to the realignment of the road near the railroads, to new railroad connections, to right of way acquisition etc. it would blow up the ODOT budget. especially considering the Sauvie Island bridge costs the state is helping with, the sellwood bridge the state is helping with the highway 101 reconstruction on the coast because of the severe weather, the Historic Columbia River Highway repairs…..a 10% annual increase in spending wouldn’t even cover all that.

    as i have said before, i’ll say again. people on this board hate government. no if’s and’s or but’s. they just hate government and any increase rankles their bones. unless they are a direct recipient of the money or benefits, they see it as improper spending. They get upset at the more than 10% going to public safety. but then they bitch and moan about how we have 50% fewer state troopers on the roads than we did 30 years ago, yet with a population that has doubled. they get upset that we aren’t able to finish all the DNA tests to capture the man who raped their daughter, yet they want to OSP budget to not increase (they run the DNA lab). they pass unfunded mandates to increase sentences of convicted felons, yet they get pissed when the budget to maintain jails increases more than 10%. they get upset that ciminals are being let out early because we don’t have enough jail beds, yet they get upset if the gov wants to increase spending to build jails, or hire more corrections officers. they want the economy to improve, but are upset the gov wants to advertise our state, and increase the exposure of oregon products abroad and here in the US. they get upset when the go creates a lobbyist position to go to DC to get money to help us pay for our transportation issues. yet they get more than enough money to pay for the position AND still fund our transpo projects so the state doesn’t have to rely as much on state money. how do people expect the state to increase staffing to keep reduce caseloads of our social workers to increase the safety and oversight of our states most needy children? or how about the state enacting by a voted upon Measure to increase spending for our elderly?

    does anyone else see the hypocracy in here? does anyone else see how people complain about increased spending, yet demand increased services? you may want less government, but you also want increased services. and the two don’t go hand in hand. Seriously, the anti-goverment at all costs people really need to wake up. they are few and far in this state. and it seems like this board, and maybe a few others is where they all congregate and stir the pot of outrage. but the state by and large completely disagrees with them. if you really are pissed off about the spending of tax dollars…. use your disposable income and go to a state that aligns better with your views. Arizona, Wyoming, Alaska or Idaho. Maybe even the Dakotas. Libertarian ideas are the vast minority here. especially if trying to disguise them as republican.

  • Marvinlee

    “If the people on this board want roads so badly, how could the state build them without increasing spending more than 10%?” Perhaps spending would have to increase more than 10% to build all the roads that are wanted. But a better approach is to compromise between what is wanted and what is highest priority. Road and bridge construction cost could be measurably less than otherwise if the Oregon little Davis-Bacon wage law were repealed.

  • Jerry

    This Capt. Anon guy seems like the opposite of what he accuses all of us being. He LOVES big government and all of its spending. Just private sector the stuff and it will all work out fine.
    Maybe rather than tell all of us to move he should just send more of his money to Salem – after all, they are doing such a wonderful job.
    We are not disguising anything – we are just not so stupid as to believe all this hogwash about budget increases being so necessary.
    Please wake up!

  • Steven Plunk

    For the Captain’s benefit I’ll explain a bit about ODOT and it’s failures.

    The 5000 employees is too high for an agency that hires consultants to do all it’s work. The typical day for ODOT engineers is reviewing others work and going to meetings that don’t accomplish much. That’s really where a good amount of the wasted time takes place, in the unproductive meetings.

    The difficulty of building roads is mostly the fault of previous ODOT officials who have created an incredibly complex process. But, of course, those same officials retired and then became consultants who would help guide the new people through the tangled web that they had woven.

    ODOT fails the state every day with it’s priorities and failure to see the big picture of transpotation. In my part of the state ODOT builds projects with dubious needs and limited returns rather than do what is most necessary. ODOT also confines it’s concerns to moving traffic efficiently on state highways while ignoring local raods and the needs of the communityand it’s businesses. ODOT is only concerned woth ODOT.

    With an annual budget of around $1 billion ODOT only spends around $300 million on roads. That figure would include all the costs including study, design, public involvement, and actual construction.

    In short, ODOT is a bloated wasteful agency in need of reform. Reform will only come through a tightening of the flow of money into it.

    I would likely agree that many who post here are government haters. But keep in mind that our state government is deserving of contempt for all the abuses it has heaped upon the citizens of Oregon.

    Don’t blame us for complaining but look to why we complain and how we can fix what ails us. I can tell you more money into the state government is not a solution.

  • Jerry

    Good work Steven. We are not government haters – we are just smart enough to know when we are being duped. It is that simple.
    OSOT is a complete joke. You have pointed out several good reasons why. I still think anon should send in more money – but maybe he doesn’t have enough – after all, costs on everything are up at least 10% or more each year!!
    The tram was a bargain. There is simply too much cost increasin’ goin’ on out dere!! Send more money to Salem anon – that is obviously the only solution. If you ask, I am sure they could route your donation to ODOT so you could help them out of the big jam they are in.
    I really appreciate someone with such a deep understanding of inflation and the many troubles government has to oversome to do its job. Why, maybe we should increase the state budget 25% just to make sure. You never do know when costs are going to go up. Let’s play it safe! Send more money anon. You can do it.

  • eagle eye

    Much to agree with here but he misses something. If Ted and his pals are so bad, why are Oregonians so reluctant to vote them out and vote in the other side, such as is represented by this website.

    Perhaps some reflection and self-inspection is in order, especially after the debacle of the last election.

  • Jerry

    It would seem that most Oregonians are tax and spend liberals. That would explain the election. Nothing wrong with that – if that is what they truly believe – but it does impact the rest of us in this very business unfriendly state.

    • eagle eye

      I actually don’t think they are tax and spend liberals. I think they would like to see Oregon government run better. I think they neither want Oregon government greatly expanded, nor cut back. But they were turned off by Saxton and the M-48 crowd. If the Republicans had a better attitude about government and a positive program to make it function better, I think they could win again. But they seem to be headed in just the opposite direction. I think they are barking up the wrong tree.

  • Capt Anon

    I beleive in moderation and reasonable discussion and solutions. So much of what goes on in these forums is really just mob mentality. someone gets pissed at a particular poor spending decision by some government, and next thing you know, everyone wants the entire government fired, everything privitized and a complete abolition of taxing authority. That is not reasonable.

    I’ve heard on this board many times that ODOT staffing and budget should be cut by 80%, and that DHS should be cut by 80%. but those aren’t reasonable solutions. Am i pro-government intrusion and poor government oversight and poor government spending because i dont’ want a complete abolition of a department or agency? No. I want REASONABLE solutions to our difficult challanges. just because the city of portland boffs the tram and spending goes out of control doesn’t mean that we should rip all funding of all programs from the government. that’s insane. if you know anything of how government budgets and expenditures work, you know that there isn’t just one big pot of money that all agencies feed off of. it gets divided up very very carefully. while one agency may have more than they need, others don’t have enough. many agencies and departments are run very well. have trimmed all the fat they can. some have even trimmed to the point where they are run as efficiently as possible but still can’t give the level of service the public demands. others, because of thier typical yearly expenses get more than they need. But what is advocated on here so often is to punish (and yes, it’s punish) all government agencies and employees because of a bad spending decision by someone completely unrelated. yes, there are many bad decisions made. because those who work for the government are HUMAN, like you and me. they are your neighbors, your friends, and maybe even your family. We ALL make mistakes. even when we’re performing our jobs – private AND public. mercy and grace are an important part of being human. does that mean there shouldn’t be consequences? no! sometimes, the mistakes are big enough to lose a job for. but sometimes, there are all kinds of variables that we the general public have NO CLUE about. we can’t possible pretend to know all the in’s and out’s of the contract talks with the unions, or with the private contractors or the market forces on projects that can sway them one way or the other. we don’t know the total history of what is going on. most don’t know that the public sector took large pay cuts in the 80’s. that there were compromises made by both sides to make things work out to the best interest of all involved. pers got better as pay scales took cuts. but no one remembers the cuts public workers took. they just know about pers. which is only a big issue now because of the huge stock losses from 2000 on. if the market had continued as it had in the 90’s, no one would care because the pers fund would have been completely solvent. what happend was an unforseen mix of steep stock market losses (and thus the funds that pay for pers) and a large percentage of public workers reaching retiring age. no one could have seen the combinations that caused that coming. No one could have predicted the price of steel would go up 300% so suddenly. that obviously effects the price of the aforementioned tram. is that the only issue with the 300% increase in the cost of the tram? no. but it is a factor. there isn’t some conspiricy by city hall to give certain contractors a massive payday and screw the public. while they are public officials, they are also private citizens who want a good value for thier tax dollars too. but there certainly could have been some incorrect numbers in the bid by the contractor, or a missed decimal point by a city accountant. the point is, that the city, or state, or county has organizations and bodies who oversee these decisions. and they do hold people accountable. they look at ALL the issues involved. i personally think that is reasonable and i trust them more than a mob outside with pitchforks and fire to be fair minded. this mob mentality only has one thing in mind: removal of all things government. this is not to say i think everything in government is perfect. I really believe there is a middle ground here. many services the state gives, or your county or city are very valuable, and really work well for the people. all government is some money sucking worm out to screw you.

    we as a civilized society have a responsibility to each other to help us out when we’re down. i’m not advocating being people lazy and just sucking money from tax payers. but i’m talking about helping the elderly when they have to make a decision to either pay thier mortgage or rent and food, or buy the medicines they need to survive or reduce pain. i think we should help our foster children has as normal a life as possible. i believe we as a state need to stand up for kids and let it be known that we think rape, abuse, and mistreatment should not be tolerated. these are governmnet functions that are necessary and need to be improved. DHS has mad some terrible spending choices. and there should be accountability. but this does not mean we slice the the budget 80% and really hurt the kids we should be protecting.

    government programs that help the elderly on fixed income be able to afford thier homes while the value, and taxes, of the property increase are important. people complain about that, not letting the market do its thing. but those same people complain when grandma and grandpa have to sell thier home because they can no longer afford thier taxes and the family home is no longer in the faimly after 150 years. helping them with the taxes, while reducing revenue, is the right thing to do.

    spending money to help minor offenders learn skills so they can get, and keep jobs helps save us all money in the long run by 1. not having as many repeat offenders we must house and process though the ciminal justice system (very expensive) 2. improves job skills which helps them keep jobs and contribute via taxes earned from thier income. yes, it costs us all, and you don’t see a direct benefit like you would with a new lane of traffic on the freeway you drive to work. but it does help all of society in the long run. and in the long run, it costs you less in taxes.

    there are compromises made about what is the highest priority and what is wanted. people have the ability to participate in the process the whole way though. there is accountability in who gets reelected, who gets appointed etc. and i’ve seen several times where people wanted something else than the government and got it. often people want a move expensive option. such as the design of the Sauvie Island Bridge. they wanted a more expensive bridge, which the government wasn’t supporting, but they gave in to the public. the same is currenlty going on in the sellwood neighborhood with the new sellwood bridge. the community is helping to drive the design, alingment etc of the new bridge. so there are many compromises being made. not everyone will be happy with the choices the gov makes. such as with the possibility of a toll road off of 99 near sherwood. but they take the costs, public opinion, and what is needed into account. believe it or not. however, they may make a decision that is not in line with yours. but that is life. so jerry, i don’t love big government. but i do believe they know what they are doing. just like in any private company, there are some idiots. and there are mistakes made. but overall, they do the job they need to do. yes, change can be slow. but it happens. part of that is with the election of new leaders. remember, there is a trickle down effect. when a new gov is elected, he appoints director leaders, who can change priorities. it’s hard for an agency to under complete change every 4 years. look at mult county. they have had a rotating house of commissioners who routinely replace department directors. those directors then completely overhaul thier departments. that costs a ton of money and takes time to adjust. when departments do, they then get completely changed again. so don’t blame the rank and file, blame the political leaders who keep changing course. thier ‘cost saving measures’ often cost us all more money. how much does it cost to change the name a of a department? a ton! new letter head, new directors, new positions to run, new labeling on cars etc.

    steve, i appreciate your posts. I agree, 5000 employees may be too many. but i think asking ODOT to cut 4000 positions is waaaaay too much overkill. there could be a reduction, but maybe like 10%. i personally do not know what they all do, or where they are. but much of ODOTS workers are seasonal. in winter they need more because of all the disasters – like the destruction of highway 101 and the rebuilding of it. state and federal law require bidding. and the rules on that make it take longer than it should. but don’t blame odot for that. blame the state legislature. blame federal rules.

    as eagle said, if things were so bad, and everyone disagreed with the state of things, then the people would have elected a different bunch into office. but they didn’t. republicans and libertarians in this state need to change thier approach. because whether you agree or not, you come across as complete government haters, who hate the people that work there and hate the jobs they must perform. and as long as that is the case, you will gain no traction to change things. it would be better if you pinpointed the problems. not as in “ODOT is bloated and should be cut.” but actually pin point the problems within ODOT so that they can be appropriately addressed.

    the government isn’t out to get us. isn’t out to tax and spend just because they can. It wants to make the state run better and provide services the public want, and need. most workers work thier asses off. i know a number of public employees. and they work undocumented overtime to get thier overloaded caseloads done, or because they want to help out thier applicants. there are bad apples, but please, let’s stop painting our public employees as lazy ass no good robots.

    • Chris McMullen

      Just to bolster my argument:

      More money for schools — but most will go to salaries, benefits

      Pertinent quote: “Oregon’s school employee benefits — health care and pensions — are the fourth highest in the nation as a percent of payroll.”

    • Steven Plunk


      Please keep in mind I have never called for 4000 ODOT positions to be cut. If anything should be learned from their excesses it is that we should not trust them. Having established they are not trustworthy we can deal with them appropriately through the budgeting process.

      Also, ODOT employees are not seasonal. Those guys running the plows are unionized full time employees, on PERS and with generous benefits. The guys doing the clean up when disaster strikes are either ODOT or private contractors.

      For almost ten years I worked to improve ODOT through a local organization called TRADCO in southern Oregon. What I found was an agency that did not want to change and would fight not to.

      A state representative told me a story about auditors being harrased and threatened by ODOT employees years earlier and suggested any who cross them be careful.

      The ODOT Transporattion Commissioner from southern Oregon personally attacked me in public and covertly had me removed from the Chamber of Commerce transportation committee. It was only through the intervention of Marilyn Shannon (who was chair of the senate transportation committee) that I was reinstated.

      So in short what I found was the soft corruption of bureaucracy and that is very hard to change. The best way to change it is to starve the beast into submission. That is what I lobby for today.

      I still do my part in transportation policy by working with the Medford City Council, I chair the Jackson County Roads Committee, and I write where ever I can to get the public educated. By the way, I told the corrupt chamber to kiss my butt if they are in the service of Mr. Foster, the transportation commissioner.

      So specific policy changes can be made if and when people learn to treat the beast as a beast. Otherwise it will continue to consume all.

      • Captain.Anon


        I really appreciate your response. it sounds as though you have first hand experience on which to base your points on. I will concede that ODOT, like many transportation organizations, is deeply engrained into thier ways of doing things. While it’s a stereotype, i’ve found that engineers tend to be that way and ODOT is flush with them. And, i would say that MOST organizations, even outside of government, have a real hard time changing. granted. but i think that over the last 4 years, the fact that money has been drying up has forced a lot of change. which is good in many ways because it requires the agencies to look at priorities, become more efficient etc. Is ODOT perfect? (or any other agency) no, of course not. but i do think they are much better than before. and i think they are continually changing.

        The problem i have with starving the beast, as you say, is that it hurts so many. it is counter productive. change is happening. you’ve been on one end of it, and have strived to make it occur faster. and i commend that. but i truely believe that cutting the budget to bare levels would hurt oregon much more than help. I view it like surgery, well percisioned cutting can effectively trim the bad from the good. the battle axe method causes a lot of blunt collateral damage that in the long term, hurts more than helps.

        I can see where your personal interactions with ODOT have had a severe impact on how you see them. But please remember that not all ODOT employees are like those who mistreated you. There are many hard working, honest individuals who do thier job with utmost integrity.

  • Jerry

    Capt. – Nice try, but steel did not go up 300%. Are cars three times more expensive than they were a couple years ago? What do you think they are made of. Your citing of that lie by the fools who messed up the tram (none of which lost their jobs, by the way) is a perfect example of what I was trying to say – we don’t hate government – but we are not as easily duped as you seem to be.
    If steel truly went up 300% we would have rampant inflation and cheap cars would cost 50 grand. How you can believe the lies they spew is way, way beyond me. For your own sake, wake up!

    • Capt.Anon

      You’re partially correct, and partially wrong. I got the 300% from a different news article a couple months ago not related to the tram. So, i’m not just throwing numbers out there just for fun. While i didn’t go out and examine steel prices personally and chart them, i also haven’t seen you show where the price of steel has been either. Part of my point is that individuals such as you don’t have all the information in front of you, which leads to misinformed conclusions. you don’t have any information in front of you period. You have opinion. and you base your conclusions of mismanagement upon a lack of facts. this in turn does not lead to accurate, reliable, or reasonable conclusions.

      with that said, i went back and tried to find some facts. what i did find was that based on MEPS Steel Prices On-line, which apparently is the industry standard, the price of hot rolled steel has seen steep increases. i didn’t see a 300% explosion. but what i did find was that from june of 2001 to February 2004, the price of steel went up 66% to $482 (as reported at Poynteronline. 22 Feb. 2004 using the MEPS data). What that means was that in June of 2001, the price was $290 per metric ton. using the current data from MEPS, the high of hot rolled steel was $599 for coil (August 2006) and $755 for plate (September 2006). So, depending on which type of steel you use, the price has risen 2.06 times or 2.60 times the price – or 206% or 260%. So, you’re right, it’s not 300% – but it’s pretty darn high and nearing 300%.

      And as far as the price of cars that you bring up. the entire car is not made of steel. very little of it is. The miami herald quoted a 2002 study by the American Iron and Steel Institute that estimated steel contributed $675 to the price of a $25,000 car. that’s only 2.7% of the cost. Regardless, if steel increased 205% or 260%, that $675 would then become “only” $1390.50 or $1755.00 depending on if it’s coil or plate. which i would bet would be plate for fabrication, but i’m not sure.

      You say i’m easily duped. But you don’t have accurate facts (or ANY facts for that matter) to support your beliefs or claims. So who is more easily duped, the one who bases conclusions on sheer biased opinion and untested beliefs, or the one who uses facts?

      and you didn’t address the point of my posting. that we as the public only have limited facts before us. I doubt there is one person among us who has all the facts as to why the tram is so freaking expensive. And don’t think that i’m saying it’s all justified. I am not. I am however stating that since we don’t know all the facts, there may be some very good reasons why the cost was run up. since the tram is mostly made of steel, and steel has gone up termendously, it stands to reason that could be a huge factor in the increased cost. I’m not saying there weren’t mistakes made, because there most likely were. But I really don’t believe it’s as cut and dry as you make it out to be. you need to remember there are two sides to every story, just like a trial. you don’t base your conclusion as a jurist based only upon the testimony of the defense witnesses. You also take the testimony of the procesutions witnesses into account as well. Whether you intend it to or not, your posts truely make it sound as if you just hate government, period. your arguments are not reasonable ones and there are no facts in them. So they come across as purely unreasonable. Such as concluding that if the price of steel were to rise 300%, then surely a car’s entire cost would rise 300%.

  • Chris McMullen

    Anon, you spout the the same mantra in here every time there’s a consensus regarding bad government practices. Your continual ‘government hater’ blanket statements sound intolerant and are not very progressive. And the inability for many posters here to pinpoint problems is because our imperial government is reluctant, and many times unwilling, to provide information. You do know the PDC has neglected to provide a state-mandated financial statement for a few years now don’t you?

    I, as a small ‘L’ libertarian, believe government should have very few priorities; public safety and transportation (and on a smaller scale education and environmental protection).

    Problem is, government has grown into it’s own class. The State of Oregon is Oregon’s largest employer — that’s saying something. It’s a massive lobbying group that has a tendency to only look out for themselves.

    Look at our public education system; are you really delusional enough to think it’s working? As a nation, we spend more than practically any other country and have terrible results.

    Huge chunks of the budget go toward employee benefits and salary — thanks to huge PE unions. BTW, the NEA is the *world’s* largest union — what have they done to improve our kid’s learning?

    Should our death row inmates given appeal after appeal — using up massive public resources? They should be executed no more than three years after conviction.

    And how has our public assistance and welfare system fared? All I hear is how more and more Americans are starving. Seems welfare isn’t working at all.

    And now people like State Sen. Ryan Deckert are talking about socialized medicine? Sounds like another bloated, government bureaucracy to me.

    It’s a fact that the larger a organization gets, the less efficient it becomes. This happens to corporations all the time. However, corporations are beholden to stockholders and have to show efficiencies — that’s why many corporations re-organize with lay-offs and budget cuts.

    However, the government has no “stockholders” per se. All they have is forced participation at the point of a gun (ergo taxpayers). And the bigger it gets, and the more it becomes integrated into our lives, the more we become dependent upon it.

    Saxton was a victim of an anti-Republican tide, not because he had the wrong message. Moreover, many voters are apathetic to the system as a whole — and it’s hard to blame them. Government has gotten so big, it’s almost impossible to beat.

    I doubt anyone on this blog is a “government hater,” but they’re smart enough to know that our state and federal institutions are becoming too big, powerful and wasteful.