Away back in 1998, the people of California in their infinite wisdom passed Proposition 10, a tax on cigarettes and tobacco products the revenue of which was to go to the creation of a vast new state and local early child development bureaucracy. At the time, and even subsequently Republicans have assailed the tax and its main advocate, Rob “Meathead” Reiner for this statist approach to whole village child-rearing.
What many people don’t realize is how many supposedly conservative Republicans have made small fortunes participating in skimming lucrative contracts of questionable value off of the tax proceeds.
Let’s take a look at how this works in Orange County.
Proposition 10 created Children and Family Commissions in California’s counties, including Orange County. The very name suggests typical liberal social engineering. Replete with staff, lawyers and appointed commissioners the thing is virtually opaque public-wise, and yet it starts the process of allocating millions of dollars of Prop 10 monies as it adopts programs, and more problematically, hires a plethora of consulting services. And what consulting services they are!
Let’s take a look at the OC Child and Family Commission agenda for the June 4, 2008 meeting. One item really jumps out.
$150,000 to Curt Pringle (up from $100,000 the year before) to be a lobbyist! And another $150,00 to “The White House Writers Group,” a collection of former Reagan script writers, to promote the County’s ever-so special programs and projects nationwide!
Say what? Why is a government agency that is supposed to be helping unhealthy poor kids making healthy, rich Republican adults even richer? Why do they need a lobbyist? They say it’s to protect their bureaucracy from budget raids. Really? $150,000 to lobby the legislature for a mere twelve months? Yep, that’s $12,500 per month; or, over $600 per working day! And, say, how did that Pringle deal work out for them?
And why do they need to promote themselves and their programs anywhere except inside the County? Good questions. Anyhow, $300,000 per annum could feed a lot of hungry kids; or a mere handful of grownup Repuglicans.
If anybody was wondering what Pringle’s “expertise” is, and how it will be applied to his Main Chance Choo Choo, now you know – lobbying for ever greater tax revenue in Sacramento! What a racket!
I notice that in 2008 Commission members include the John Lewis-sawdust-brained-marionette Bill Campbell, and ‘Pug talking pin-head Hugh Hewitt – both chums of our old acquaintance, Matthew J. Cunningham – another supposed big government hater.
News flash! Repuglican “consultants” like Curt Pringle not only make their livings helping us regular citizens “navigate” the treacherous waters of the big government they helped create, they also make big incomes for themselves and their underlings by reaping government windfalls – like Prop 10 revenue redistribution.
Well, the original critics of Proposition 10 were right on the money. But now it looks like some of them are in it – but good.
I’m going to be giving the branches of the Children and Families Commission tree a real good shake, and it will be interesting to see what other strange fruits fall out of it.