The main casualty of Proposition 13 within California— and perhaps without—is the dominant politics of the last 40 years. Welfare-state liberalism has almost vanished from the state’s political spectrum. The welfare state itself still limps along, more feebly than before, but without benefit of audible defense. In this state of sects and movements, it doesn’t even rate a cult.
Consider as a case in point the Democratic turnabout on the state spending limitation. This idea was first introduced in 1973, when then-Governor Reagan proposed that state expenditures be held to a fixed percentage of citizens’ personal income. With some effort, one can remember how mainstream Democrats opposed the limitation, how they viewed with alarm its potential effect on government services, and how it met resounding defeat at the polls....
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