The Politician’s Answer

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 politician’s answer.

I asked, “California taxes – are they too high, too low, or about right?”  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 didn’t think we should raise taxes, but he didn’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 state’s budget problems are related to that, which is at least partially true)

Sadly, Gov Brown wasn’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 don’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 – he embellished.

So, to summarize his politician’s answer:   he doesn’t want to raise taxes, and he doesn’t want to cut programs.  He didn’t actually answer my question, and in his reply he didn’t stick to just the truth.  It wasn’t a horrible lie, and could even be chalked up to a minor mistake.  But isn’t this what we expect from politicians these days?  Nobody really expects him to just be straightforward anymore.

As for me, I liked Brown’s overall talk.  I won’t vote for him, though.  We need serious change in California, and the existing bureaucrats have proven they can’t do it.  I don’t know if CEOs and business people can do it (obviously actors can’t do it), but Brown loses the vote because he’s been a career politician too long.  Is that age discrimination on my part?  Ha!  Call the EEOC!

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