From Scrooge McDuck to Ebenezer Scrooge for Chuck DeVore

devore-tweets.jpg
Photo by John Gilhooley
As California burns, DeVore tweets.
Perhaps you missed it in our recent flurry of online and old-timey print coverage of Chuck DeVore--the Republican assemblyman out of Irvine making noise about running for Democrat Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat in 2010--but at one point Chuckles used Disney character Scrooge McDuck to take a video swipe at his presumed challenger.

Well, turnabout is fowl play, as a Sacramento-based columnist is now drawing a comparison between DeVore and the inspiration for Scrooge McDuck, the Charles Dickens' character Ebenezer Scrooge.

Banging keys for Capitol Weekly, veteran newsman-turned-journalism professor A.G. Block hones in on a quote DeVore had previously made to the Sacramento Bee's Kevin Yamamura, who'd asked the candidate what he thinks of the state's fiscal mess. Said DeVore:

"When you have an unemployment rate as high as it is in this state, it should be a signal to people to look for jobs in other states with more jobs and a lower cost of living. We have had policies subsidizing poverty in this state for years, and we can't keep doing that."
Block's reaction:

Boiled to the bones, the Irvine lawmaker seems to urge California's poor to get out and non-California poor to stay out-a less-flavorful version of Scrooge's take on the poor's mortality (it decreases the surplus population).  

But even Ebenezer Scrooge was willing to "subsidize poverty," grumping that his taxes helped support prisons and workhouses and recommending that "those who are badly off must go there." He didn't advocate setting them adrift in the English Channel.


DeVore's only example of "subsidizing poverty," according to Block, is the CalWorks program that shifts people from welfare to the workforce. It's not that the politico is against it, per se. He just finds it's taking too long for those folks still on the dole to get off it.

So, Block ringy-dingied the assemblyman.

"I'm not calling for an end to ... assistance for the truly needy," DeVore told me. "But every economist in the world-even Marxist economists-say that when you tax something, you get less of it. And when you subsidize something, you get more of it. California has the most generous welfare benefits and eligibility in the country."

That generosity, he said, has made California a magnet for the nation's poor. "People respond to economic incentives," he said. "These are net consumers of benefits."

Coupling that logic with events on the ground, Block ticked off members of the "surplus population" who'd have to hit the road for greener pastures (and assistance):

  • Folks who provide in-home services for Alzheimer's patients; Gov. Schwarzenegger wants to eliminate those jobs, or at least stop paying for the with state funds. 
  • CalWorks recipients, who'll take with them their kids who are draining the public-education system--double whammy!
  • Folks who rely on Healthy Families for health insurance for their children; Blocks suggests they check out North Dakota.
  • Non-violent inmates; Blocks suggests they get familiar with the Mexican border.
  • Folks who care for the elderly and disabled; Terminator wants to cut their pay to $8 an hour, which is interesting given that he'll be in their care soon.
Block directs his conclusion at DeVore's Assembly constituents:

One might offer the view that California subsidizes all kinds of people and institutions, from homeowners to small businesses to large corporations-even universities. Should the state end those subsidies? Perhaps Irvine homeowners should stop grubbing at the public trough. If you can't make it without a mortgage-interest deduction, get out.
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