Jerry Brown, the former California Governor and current California Governor hopeful, was on site at Google yesterday. I attended the 1 hour talk where Eric Schmidt played a soft Charlie Rose.
At the end, I asked a softball question myself. And I got a politicianâ€™s answer.
I asked, â€œCalifornia taxes â€“ are they too high, too low, or about right?â€ Brown initially pointed out that during his administration as Governor of California, there were no new taxes (1975-1982). Then he went on to talk for quite a while, and basically said he didnâ€™t think we should raise taxes, but he didnâ€™t think that state financed programs should pay the price of the $11T of wealth lost due to the Wall Street debacle. (He implied that the stateâ€™s budget problems are related to that, which is at least partially true)
Sadly, Gov Brown wasnâ€™t completely truthful with me. A quick search through Google reveals an article dated Sept 18, 1981 which proves that Brown did at least increase one tax. I donâ€™t really mind so much that he had a tax increase in 1981. But he was quite emphatic in his reply to my question that he had never raised taxes as Governor. Ok â€“ he embellished.
So, to summarize his politicianâ€™s answer: he doesnâ€™t want to raise taxes, and he doesnâ€™t want to cut programs. He didnâ€™t actually answer my question, and in his reply he didnâ€™t stick to just the truth. It wasnâ€™t a horrible lie, and could even be chalked up to a minor mistake. But isnâ€™t this what we expect from politicians these days? Nobody really expects him to just be straightforward anymore.
As for me, I liked Brownâ€™s overall talk. I wonâ€™t vote for him, though. We need serious change in California, and the existing bureaucrats have proven they canâ€™t do it. I donâ€™t know if CEOs and business people can do it (obviously actors canâ€™t do it), but Brown loses the vote because heâ€™s been a career politician too long. Is that age discrimination on my part? Ha! Call the EEOC!