Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Preliminary California Election Results!

Well, at least one ballot can be considered good and counted. That's because I'm telling everyone how I voted:

President and Vice-President: Bob Bar and Wayne Allen Root

I generally avoid voting for third party candidates. Additionally, I feel that the LP shouldn't blindly run a candidate every election. Instead, they ought to use its members as leverage, "auctioning" off the LP endorsement to the party that puts the most pro-libertarian offer on the table. So long as the LP says, "We're not going to vote for either of you, no matter what," both major parties will continue to write the libertarians off as lost causes, and as people whose views needn't be accommodated. The LP will inevitably siphon off votes from the more "libertarian" of the two candidates, leaving the greatest Big Government advocate as the winner.

A lot of my thinking about the relative usefulness of the LP derives from a short, but brilliant analysis by Cato scholar, William Niskanen.

I'm a pretty loyal Republican, and vote for Republicans the majority of the time. So why did I vote for the "Chowderhead" (according to Jack Shafer) from Georgia? As much as I admire his heroism, McCain seems to alter his opinions about the economy each day, and has no coherent economic philosophy. I disagree with him (and especially with Palin) about most social issues. I'm by no means a pacifist, but it's certainly time for the war in Iraq to end. I live in California, where my choice doesn't matter, anyway. However, I do hope that the GOP sees a lot of unexpected votes for the LP ticket, and realizes that many of these voters are members of the GOP, or are GOP-leaning independents. Maybe then, the party will try to win us back.

United States Representative: Charles Hahn

Hahn doesn't mention any social issues on his website, which is generally GOP code for "I care much more about fiscal issues." He says, "I do not support the 700 Billion Dollar bailout of Wall Street companies who made poor business decisions." He is a fellow health professional (dentist). He has black belts in Black Belts in Judo, Jiu Jit-Tsu, and Tae Kwon Do. I don't like Adam Schiff. Moving on....

State Senator: Teddy Choi

I know nothing about him. The sole reason for my vote is that the Democrats keep pushing for bloated, wasteful budgets, and there needs to be some balance up North. Whenever there's an increase in revenue, there's suddenly a exponential increase in spending. Private sector jobs have decreased, but we constantly hire new government workers. We have LAUSD teachers paid to show up and play cards in warehouses, because they are deemed too incompetent to teach kids, but too, I don't know, something, to be fired. The Democrats in Sacramento continue to defend schools with abysmal graduation rates, so long as the politicians receive enough donations from the teachers' union. They keep making stupid rules and restrictions regarding health care. Basically, any Republican with a pulse, who is running for state office, gets my vote.

State Assembly: Brian Fuller See above.

Proposition 1A: High-speed train: No
They say it will cost $19.4 billion and "probably" over $1 billion annually for maintenance costs. Do you know any contractors that charged what they quoted you initially? Exactly.

Proposition 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals: Yes

Unlike many libertarians, I believe that animals have (minimal) rights. I am concerned that this proposition won't actually decrease the number of confined animals in California, but simply lead the offending farmers to mosey on over to Nevada. Were we to impose a tax on non-humanely-raised meat shipped to California, this would partially accommodate for the negative externalities of animal mistreatment, and would avoid specifically punishing California farmers (The farmers would still face a comparative disadvantage for meat they sell in other states). Nonetheless, I am not sure how significant these effects will be, and I think it's fundamentally wrong to treat animals inhumanely. I voted yes.

Proposition 3: Children's Hospital Bond Act: No.

Money is fungible. They claim it's for children's hospitals, but it is really just money added to the health care system that can be spent however they want, provided that children's hospitals get a certain percentage. We need to reform the health care system, and the worst way to do so is to throw more government money at it. Additionally, I find the commercials with Jamie Lee Courtis telling us that "Prop 3 doesn't raise taxes" to be very dishonest. Of course it doesn't raise taxes. It's worse than that. It's a bond with no specifications for how it will be paid for. It's just debt that gets added to the balance sheet.

Proposition 4: Waiting period and Parental Notification before Termination of a Minor's Pregnancy: No.

I generally believe that minors have too few rights, rather than too many.

Proposition 5: Non-violent drug Offences (AKA marijuana bill): Yes

This is the only state measure that saves us money (2.5 billion!). If you're a fiscal conservative, do you really want to pay for the room and board of a marijuana user in jail for 20 years? If he wants to go to rehab, let him go to rehab. Otherwise, let him do whatever he wants.

Proposition 6: Police and Law Enforcement: No.

Some of the gang-fighting provisions sounded fine. However, you lost me at "Increase penalties for several crimes including... using or possessing to sell methamphetamine."

Proposition 7: Renewable Energy Mandate (20% by 2010): No.

I am not a global warming denialist. I believe we should tax carbon emissions, to account for its negative externalities. However, we should not fight global warming by mandating the use of some mythically economically and environmentally efficient, as well as feasible to implement "high-scale" alternative energies, that have yet to be created. Some sources of "alternative energy" are useful (solar panels pay for themselves in about 20 years, and they are becoming cheaper). However, there is absolutely no way that they can provide 20% of California's energy by 2010, even assuming we had enough short-term cash to invest in so many of them. We all know that the energy companies will instead use biofuels, which have proven to be an all-around environmental, economic, and "global well-being" disaster.

Proposition 8: Ban on Gay Marriage: No.

Ideally, "marriage" would be a term unfamiliar to the state law books. It amounts to one giant source of discrimination against single people, who are most likely to be low-income. However, denying a right to one segment of the population, as well as adding a provision to the constitution regarding marriage is altogether shameful. GOP, if you want to know why you're losing a lot of us....

Proposition 9: Victims' Rights in Criminal Justice System: No vote.

I have no clue about the merits or lack thereof about this one. Victims' rights sounds good, but the fact that its a constitutional amendment leads me to think that this bill is a bigger deal than it seems. I'll leave this one to my fellow Californians.

Proposition 10: Bonus Bucks for Alternative-Fuel Vehicles: No.
Why can't we just institute a Pigovian tax on carbon emissions, for G-d's sakes?

Proposition 11: Redistricting: YES.

This is one of the most important measures on the ballot. Ever notice how our state district map looks like a Picasso piece, with lines and loops winding around indiscriminately? That's because the incumbents carved them out, to insure their own re-elections. This bill sets up a group of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who sit down to map out the districts. A computer algorithm would be best, but I will not tut-tut this important measure.

Proposition 12: Veteran's Bond Act: No.

I love Vets, but the Department of Defense has a budget, so why can't they spare a dime? You know Federalism is dead when the federal government controls education and health care, while the states are called upon to do one of the few legitimate jobs of the federal government: Caring for our veterans.

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