Monday, November 2, 2009

Will India be like(gasp!)California?

No, this is not a compliment -
California vs. Texas: The Verdict Is In


Texas has usurped the leadership position that, decades ago, belonged to California. Today California is in decline, likely irreversibly so. William Voegeli draws the sad but instructive comparison in the Los Angeles Times:

In America's federal system, some states, such as California, offer residents a "package deal" that bundles numerous and ambitious public benefits with the high taxes needed to pay for them. Other states, such as Texas, offer packages combining modest benefits and low taxes. These alternatives, of course, define the basic argument between liberals and conservatives over what it means to get the size and scope of government right. ...

California and Texas are not perfect representatives of the alternative deals, but they come close. Overall, the Census Bureau's latest data show that state and local government expenditures for all purposes in 2005-06 were 46.8% higher in California than in Texas: $10,070 per person compared with $6,858. ...

Confronted with a stark choice between government dominance and freedom, Americans are voting with their feet:

One way to assess how Americans feel about the different tax and benefit packages the states offer is by examining internal U.S. migration patterns. Between April 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007, an average of 3,247 more people moved out of California than into it every week, according to the Census Bureau. Over the same period, Texas had a net weekly population increase of 1,544 as a result of people moving in from other states. During these years, more generally, 16 of the 17 states with the lowest tax levels had positive "net internal migration," in the Census Bureau's language, while 14 of the 17 states with the highest taxes had negative net internal migration.

So are higher taxes and greater public expenditure in California worth it?-
But those higher taxes in California must be going somewhere. Why aren't they benefiting those many thousands of citizens who are leaving the state for greener pastures?
In what respects, then, does California "excel"? California's state and local government employees were the best compensated in America, according to the Census Bureau data for 2006. And the latest posting on the website of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility shows 9,223 former civil servants and educators receiving pensions worth more than $100,000 a year from California's public retirement funds. The "dues" paid by taxpayers in order to belong to Club California purchase benefits that, increasingly, are enjoyed by the staff instead of the members.

I'm afraid the dynamic 2-in-1 do-badan-ek-jaan* superhero team of Chacha Manmohan S.Gandhi(as Sauvik Chakraverti so wonderfully likes to put it) is rushing India towards the failed California model -a numerous high-caste of sumptuously paid and pampered inefficient and corrupt public employees, large-scale(rather, huge-scale) spending on 'social' sectors in the name of the poor, higher taxes whether directly or indirectly(see all the goverment controlled charges increasing all around you -from transport to vegetables to electricity).The 2-in-1 team likes the 2-step tango -massive amount of spending(as if it is their baap's* money) and massive amount of debt(which we and our children's and our grandchildren's baaps will have to pay off).

We have only just begun to nibble on the fruit of partial liberalisation of the Indian economy. The 2-in-1 team is poisoning the fruit with it's 'social' obsessions.

Only it will be much worse in India because-
the size of Indian babudom is much larger and their predatory grasp much stronger,
their level of corruption and venality cannot be matched (not even close) by the Californian babus,
all of India will be California and there is no Texas to escape to.
(emphasis mine)

*The colorful Indian language translator-
       do-badan-ek-jaan - two bodies but one mind

       baap - father
       babu - (derisively) bureaucrat