State senator Tom McClintock (R–Thousand Oaks) likened the assembly of Camarillo Chamber of Commerce members to a “summer semester for political junkies” during his Oct. 12 address.
He began by waxing eloquent on freedom, which he said “increases prosperity in a free society.”
“Not labor,” he said. “What creates wealth is freedom.”
He related his distaste for governmental regulations by using a simple example: the sale of a cup of coffee.
“When a third party sticks his nose in,” he said, “every one of those conditions decreases the value of that transaction.”
McClintock’s goal was to relate the state of Sacramento public policy. He began by railing against the recent budget stalemate, when it took nearly two months for the state senate to agree on a scheme for the fiscal year. It was an impasse that forced many agencies, from public health to community colleges, to dip into their reserves.
“The numbers are nothing short of appalling,” McClintock said of the current budget, calling current state fiscal policy “the same kind of flim flammery that got Enron into trouble.”
He alleged that the budget “pretended a lavish income” of revenue that did not exist in the state.
“Now we receive news that our revenues are shrinking by nearly 1 percent” as compared to the previous fiscal year, McClintock said. “Last year produced the biggest deficit in California history.”
He predicted that when the current fiscal year comes to a close, the state will have an overdraft of about $10 billion.
McClintock was skeptical of Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed plan for universal health care within the state. He took issue with the statistic that 6.5 million of Californians are not insured, and that most taxpayers shoulder a “hidden” burden of $1,200 a year to cover their health care.
Of that 6.5 million, McClintock said, “45 percent will acquire [health insurance] within four months. These are not chronically uninsured; they’re just changing jobs.”
Of that, he said, 2.5 million are illegal immigrants (statistics cited in the governor’s health care proposal put the number at “approximately 1 million” undocumented workers). In addition, McClintock said, 1 million of the uninsured earn over $50,000 a year, and an additional 1 million were eligible for Medical benefits.
The governor’s healthcare proposal, said McClintock, is “based on utterly bogus assumptions.”
He rejected the governor’s notion that each California citizen should be mandated to carry medical insurance, and that
“There are problems in health care,” he said, “but they’re due to four decades of government involvement in a system that once worked very well.”
He likened employer-provided health care to employers mandating which grocery store their employees shopped at.
“We need to extend to individuals the same tax breaks we give to companies,” he said, adding that “insurance only makes sense for things that bankrupt us,” and that for “everyday costs” in medicine, individuals would do well to pay costs out of pocket, rather than pay a higher insurance premium.
To that end, he said, he had authored state senate bill 365, which aimed to allow out-of-state health insurance providers to offer coverage to Californians without first obtaining a license from the department of managed healthcare. This, McClintock said, would have increased Californians’ health care coverage options.
The bill was introduced in April of this year, but failed to pass through committee.
McClintock, introduced as a “pro-business” politician, warned the chamber members that they needed to stay active and engaged in public policy, lest bureaucracy hinder their ability to do business locally.
“Thank you for maintaining faith in California,” McClintock said in closing, “by staying here to do business.”