Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jeff Jacoby Hearts Referendums

today's column in the Sunday Globe is a keeper as Jeff Jacoby that laughing young senescence marks out hard for the public referendum, particularly California's brand wherein the state legislature cannot over-ride the outcome of a ballot initiative.
This makes California a sort of berserker paradise wherein werewolves are proclaimed an endangered species and silver edged weapons are taxed at 10.5 percent.
My question is this, when the state legislature screws up and the subtle bond of representation are sundered betwixt the electorate and the elected, legislators lose their jobs. The mighty are humbled and are forced to slink back into their phony baloney law practice or store front insurance brokerage.
When the public screws up and bankrupts the state via referenda fiat, what measures can be brought to bear against them?
You can't throw out the electorate and put in a new constituency....
Under one scenario there is the basic accountability of the voting booth, under the other, the voting booth is the potential path to anarchy sans recourse.
Right now in California the public has voted themselves a plethora of tax breaks along with a long list of additional and expensive mandates relating to education, the environment, public works etc etc. Less money is coming in to cover an ever expanding list of publicly mandated initiatives.
Y'see there is a reason why the founding fathers set up a representative democracy, the act of representation is a nigh ethereal thing but thanks to frequent elections there is also very real element of public accountability. Humble Elias isn't against ballot questions per se but getting them on the ballot ought to be only half a difficult as getting a bill approved by the House Ways and Means Committee.

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