Rep. Tom McClintock made a visit to the Gold Country Aug. 8, to speak at the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association’s annual Fundraising Barbecue held at the Pickle Patch restaurant in San Andreas.
McClintock represents District 4 of California, which encompasses 10 counties stretching from Nevada County in the north to Fresno County in the south. Calaveras County is included within those boundaries.
The Calaveras County Taxpayers Association is “a nonpartisan citizen’s advocacy group committed to promoting lower taxes and efficiency in the administration of public business,” according to its website.
Other speakers included Calaveras County Administrative Officer Albert Alt, James S. Burling of the Pacific Legal Foundation and Eric Eisenhammer of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
McClintock was the first speaker to address the crowd.
“I just wanted to say to the Calaveras Taxpayers Association: You’re right and you’ve been proven right by the policies that we’ve implemented in Washington, D.C,” he said.
Trump’s policies have led to the largest regulatory rollback and one of the biggest tax cuts in U.S. history, McClintock said. He cited an annual average growth rate of 1.7% under Obama, and a 2.8% average economic growth under Trump.
“When you reduce the tax and regulatory burden on an economy, it expands and prospers. When you impose taxes and regulations on that economy, it withers and shrinks,” he said.
McClintock said that too much spending, rather than inadequate revenue through taxes, was primarily responsible for the nation’s deficit.
“The reason the deficit is growing is not a lack of revenue; it’s because our spending continues to grow three times faster than our revenue growth,” McClintock said. He argued that wasteful spending has led to an unsustainable deficit.
“The interest on the $22 to $23 trillion dollars of debt that we’ve now accumulated amounts to about $400 billion a year,” he said. “That is simply unsustainable. It’s one of the long-time mortal perils that our country faces, and we are going to have to bring it under control, or the markets will bring it under control for us – that ends in what’s called a sovereign debt crisis … when credit markets simply stop loaning governments money.”
McClintock compared current discord in Washington, which he characterized as a struggle between freedom and socialism, with the political turmoil leading up to the Civil War.
“Every now and then in the history of a civilization, there are two completely antithetical principles that simply cannot coexist,” McClintock said. “We’ve already been through one episode like that in the mid-19th century … Lincoln understood that freedom and slavery simply could not coexist. We tried to hold them together in an unstable alliance for a few decades … but one had to prevail and the other had to fail.”
McClintock compared socialism with slavery, and argued that socialism and freedom could not coexist.
“Slavery and socialism are two sides of the very same coin; both spring from that principle that, ‘You work, and toil, and make bread, and I will eat it,’” he said. “We can’t compromise (between freedom and socialism) … We ultimately have to become all one thing or all the other, and right now, as in Lincoln’s time, the agitation for socialism is on the march, and the agitation will not cease until a crisis has been met and passed, and I wonder if that crisis might not be the upcoming 2020 election.”
McClintock said that the outcome of the battle was up to all Americans.
“That is going to be up to us, every single one of us, as Americans, to educate our fellow Americans over these basic principles of freedom, free enterprise, that have produced the happiest, and most prosperous, and most envied nation in the history of human civilization,” he said.
Al Segalla, president of the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association, said the annual event is held in the name of preserving freedom.
“(We hold the meetings) to try and get expert information on state issues, and federal issues and local issues,” Segalla said. “We’re a dedicated group, and if we can help create an environment to preserve our freedoms for our children and their children, we’ve done our job.
“We believe we’re moving into socialism, which is very destructive to individual rights. In the Constitution, the Fifth and 14th Amendments, you’ll read three things – life, liberty and property – but the purpose of government, according to the Constitution, is to protect those rights, never to oppress them,” he said. “We’re trying to spread awareness of the Constitution, and encourage young people to read it.”
Several years ago, the group held a composition contest for children, with the winner presented an award by Rep. McClintock.
“Our issues are not just county issues, they’re also state issues, and much of the problem that we have here is caused by the state. We’re a rural county and we’re dominated by a legislature that’s controlled by the high population areas, like San Francisco and San Diego, so the policies they put out tax us and benefit them,” Segalla said.
Segalla believes that the biggest issue currently facing the county is the General Plan.
“(The General Plan) is so complicated and intrusive that it’s hard for an ordinary person to put time aside to try to become aware of it,” Segalla said. “The state, through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), basically plans to expand government control on property, whereby control of property will shift from the property owner to government … so we’re trying to expose that to protect property rights.”
Segalla also attends Board of Supervisors meetings on behalf of his organization, and hosts a local public access television show, Taxpayer Alert.
“We have a program twice a month, and we try to get the best brains we can … to share ideas, so the taxpayer and the public can get a pretty good idea about what’s happening in the county,” Segalla said.
Segalla said that it was the organization’s 10th year holding the event, and the third year holding it at the Pickle Patch.
“When we deal with something that’s so serious, like preserving our freedom and our Constitution, it’s amazing how people come here and have such a good time,” he said. “This is a delightful event.”