Are the people going to the polls more trustworthy than the people they are voting for?
The latest Field Poll tells us a lot about the mindset of the California electorate. According to the poll's findings, voters believe that they can be trusted to "to do what's right" on major policy issues more than lawmakers in Sacramento.
Fair enough. So let's look at the wisdom of the voters in recent years. In something of a pincer movement, Californians have piled on new expenditures while stripping away the ability of elected officials to raise funds for those commitments.
One result was the dismantling of higher education, which is the largest spending area left without mandates. Thirty years ago, the state dedicated 10 percent of the general fund to higher education and 3 percent to prisons. Today, the state spends less than 8 percent on higher education and 11 percent for prisons.
But wait, someone might say. The voters never said that the state should make those changes. But the voters have said as much, by making ballot choices in the other areas.
So, are the voters smarter about policy making than elected officials? The answer to that question may not be as clear as we think.