Like every other dead wood and ink publication, the San Francisco Chronicle is facing hard times. What the Chronicle has going for it is credibility, which is why it makes no sense to publish every right wing hack that some “think tank” pays to distort public opinion. Today, the Chronicle embarrassed itself by publishing Elizabeth Karasmeighan. She’s now with the Cato Institute after leaving Americans for Tax Reform and you’ll be shocked to learn that she thinks the entire budget crisis is due to government spending and the solution is to cut, cut, cut. Department of Conservation? Scrap it. Environmental protection? Not needed. Mandated spending increases? Cancel them. State property? Sell it off.
Elizabeth Karasmeighan’s column is devoid of any value, she’s a right-wing tool and not a very interesting one at that. In a monopoly environment, papers can get away by unleashing such junk (i.e. San Diego Union-Tribune), but it makes zero sense now days for newspapers to litter their opinion pages with boring shills pushing a narrow agenda to screw over the vast majority of the paper’s readers.
California has a systemic revenue problem that was created by people like Americans for Tax Reform whining against government, Cato making their arguments appear academic instead of reactionary, and Republican elected officials vowing in writing that they won’t change a thing. With California’s ridiculous 2/3 budget requirements, that is all that is needed to gum up the works. The opinion page is the perfect venue for telling that story so that the analysis can have the appropriate level of vitriol that those responsible deserve, but instead the Chronicle lets Cato reprint their propaganda. When the Chronicle publishes people like Elizabeth Karasmeighan they are propping up a writer who could not make it in the open market she worships (I doubt many of her friends and family would read her blog). The relationship is such that the Chronicle lowers itself in proportion to the degree it raises Cato’s writer. Why does the editorial page continue with such an awful model instead of using a proven model (the Eve Batey model?) of utilizing voices that have proven popular online for commentary? The Chronicle would have far better content on the opinion pages and the three people who read Cato online could read on how the value of the marketplace was proven by Cato not appearing in print.
And Chronicle readers would be better informed about important issues like the California Budget.