• California's Direct Democracy is a mess!


"Politicians cannot be trusted with a monopoly of power over other people's lives.  Thousands of years of history have demonstrated this again and again."


Wise words from the great economist, Thomas Sowell, and whether it's at the local, state or federal level, we are getting a front row seat for how worse a problem can get when the people in charge are not even trying to help.  

I learned this morning after reading it on Words Worth, a local news blog, that Sacramento is going to start enforcing new rules about how pigs can be raised by pork producers.  Two years ago the voters passed a proposition stating that we wanted pigs to have more room to move.  We said the same about cows and chickens, too.  According to what im reading, the cows and chickens now have more space, but the pigs still do not.  Instead of working with the industry toward compliance, the state is pushing forward and might just push out several key pork producers.  Some estimates say the result could be a 60% rise in pork prices.  

This is another example of why California's " Direct Democracy" model is not a good one.  In a direct democracy, you and I have the power to make laws.  All we have to do is raise some money and collect signatures.  Collect enough, give the proposition an interesting, catchy name and description, and boom, it gets passed by a majority.  There are two fundamental flaws with direct democracy.  The first is obvious, that is, that when the people get really emotional about something, they pass a blanket law that forces the government to make a mess enforcing it.  

The second reason direct democracy is awful, is because it allows our state assembly to do nothing important.  It is a lot easier to let the people collect signatures and get fired up about a wide variety of issues.  As we worry about voting yes or no on propositions, our politicians sell influence and fundraise for their own campaigns.  I would prefer them to just take a vacation and do nothing all year, but if they are going to meet, it ought to be to solve problems.

Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.  This is often true about laws.  As Tacitus of Rome once said "The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state."  California's Direct Democracy system proves him right, year after year.


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