Dream Legacy: Help Fix Prop 13 in California
April 23, 2015 Leave a comment
I had a little cup of coffee to stay awake during last night’s lecture in Cuba. I don’t drink coffee and so it works way too well. Here I am at 3 a.m. awake. Thinking about Prop 13. I’m getting back in the habit of asking the universe, “Should I continue trying to sleep or what?” and I get the response, “Get your computer and blog about Prop 13.” Okay.
Here’s a paragraph with very quick background information for you. Anti-tax Proposition 13 was passed in California two years BEFORE 1980 when Ronald Reagan was elected president and supposedly started the tax revolt in the U.S.A. Actually, the tax revolt started in California — and then spread like wildfire — in 1978 three years into the first 8-year governorship of JERRY BROWN. That’s when Prop 13 passed in California. Had Jerry Brown come up with a different initiative for resolving the huge property tax crisis? No. Did he use his and the Democratic Party’s significant power to stop Prop 13 from passing? No. Have they changed Prop 13 for the better during the past almost 40 years? No. That’s the background paragraph.
I have spent almost a year backing off from politics. Healing in a sense; trying to recover my hope that another world is possible; thinking a lot about the meaning of “faith” as it relates to political work. As I’ve said, I realize I’ve got politics under my skin, and the bottom line for me — the thing it seems I am supposed to do as my piece of the puzzle — is to help fix Prop 13 in my beloved adopted, and outrageously important, state of California. As my California valentine to Prop 13 goes, “Honey, I love you, but you’ve got to change.” My favorite button, that I wear always on my backpack and often on my jacket is “Tax The Rich. Duh.”
Why TAX THE RICH? I used to think the main reason was to have the funds to improve health, education and welfare — not to mention equality for all and the pursuit of happiness. I still see that as an important reason. However, as the disparity of wealth marches on and grows year by year in the state and country, I have become very focused on the absolute necessity to TAX THE RICH in order to stop the extreme concentration of WEALTH that leads inevitably to an extreme CONCENTRATION OF POWER. The opposite of democracy. A situation in which the very few make decisions that affect the many. Decisions that affect our jobs, homes, schools. food, water. Our selves, our parents, our children. Not only the opposite of democracy, but also the opposite of freedom.
It’s pretty clear that when we do not tax the rich, they are able to use that extra money to buy power, in the form of media and politicians. When we tax them appropriately (meaning, they can still get richer, just not filthy rich), then we can retain democracy. Is that clear?
In California, Prop 13 has been a huge obstacle to taxing the rich. To reigning in their power.
I think I’ll try to get a little more sleep before we go to some special communities in Cuba tomorrow, starting in about 4 hours.