A time-tested Christmas joke describes the four stages of life: First, you believe in Santa Clause. Second, you don’t believe in Santa Clause. Third, you are Santa Claus. Fourth, you look like Santa Claus.
As they look down from their lofty perches in the State Capitol, members of the political ruling class see taxpayers as perpetually being in the third stage, supplying a never ending supply of goodies (i.e., tax revenue) to be collected by lawmakers and bureaucrats, and kept, or redistributed, as they see fit.
When taxpayers look back at the politicians, they see them in the juvenile first stage, naively believing in Santa Taxpayer who can effortlessly fulfill their every desire and whim.
Of course, taxpayers can best be described as being in the cynical second stage. They don’t believe in Santa Claus, they work hard, they understand there is no free lunch and they are wary of politicians who try to buy voter support with the money they have extracted from our wallets and pocketbooks.
However, if Santa Claus does exist, here is a list of requests that taxpayers might send to the North Pole.
- A $39.95 toy train to go under the tree. This will be less expensive, and just as useful, as the $100 billion bullet train the governor and the Legislature want taxpayers to put in their stocking. Based on the current estimate of costs, the dream train for “good” politicians will cost a family of four over $10,000.
- Gas tax relief. Counting carbon penalties, Californians pay the highest gas taxes in the nation. Most working Californians, who need their cars for work, cannot afford to drive Teslas. While less expensive alternative fuel vehicles are developed, average folks on modest incomes don’t need to be faced with having to make a choice between being able to fill the gas tank or the grocery cart.
- Time to catch our breath. In an already high tax state, where the government is running a hefty surplus, taxpayers would like to see a moratorium on tax increase proposals and on efforts to undermine Proposition 13 protections.
- Reversal of both state and federal policies that have led to the 30 hour work week, instead of the 40 hour week, being considered the standard for full employment.
- For those taxpayers who have reached the fourth stage of looking like Santa Clause, they wish for a normal life in retirement so they don’t to have to work late in life. That’s a big ask in California because high taxes, which allow government workers to retire comfortably, make life difficult for other seniors who aren’t so lucky.
Asking for more, such as having the politicians stop treating taxpayers like second-class citizens, might seem greedy. So Santa, if you could just deliver any of our wishes above, we would be very grateful.
P.S. There is nothing wrong with looking like Santa Claus.
Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.