The television ad features a portly man at a restaurant table, being brought plate after plate of heaping portions, as the announcer mockingly says, "Tell him it's time the people took control of gluttonous government spending."
The commercial aired in the fall of 1979 as part of the ultimately successful campaign for Proposition 4, a constitutional amendment to limit government spending.
If there's one thing that Californians really want when it comes to ending the state’s seemingly endless cycle of fiscal chaos, it's a strict cap on government spending.
Except when they don't.
Those of us in public radio and TV are quite familiar with big pitches for big cash (tote bag, anyone?) on a semi-regular basis. Perhaps that's why the 48 hour pledge-a-thon by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders that begins today feels so familiar.
The rhetoric in support and opposition of the marquee measure on next month's special election ballot is fairly simple. The measure itself is anything but.
A close examination of Prop 1A finds it's neither the tight spending cap nor ultra-prudent rainy day fund it's often made out to be. As often is the case in politics, the truth is a little more complicated.
And now, the latest developments from the "Clear as Mud" files... everyone who's anyone around the state Capitol wants to know whether California's share of the federal economic stimulus package is large enough to allow some of the less-than-loved budget decisions to be rescinded.
But finding an absolute answer to that question... well, that's what has landed us in the muddy water.
With all of the talk this week, and this budget season, about a new constitutionally mandated cap on state spending, we decided to take a wider view of the issue.
On this morning's edition of The California Report, I reported not just on the spending cap proposals being talked about by both legislative Republicans and Governor Schwarzenegger, but also a look back at why some say the state's exisiting spending cap (yes, there's already one on the books) was modified in 1990.
The story is about 2:40 into this morning's program, which you can hear below.