Congressman Salud Carbajal’s bounced check to Santa Barbara County

May 21, 2024


Santa Barbara County supervisors recently congratulated themselves for putting a dent in the homeless population, albeit they were forced to admit that, after spending some $130 million over the last couple of years, the homeless population continued to grow regardless.

While stating that “the end of COVID-era eviction moratoriums, emergency-housing vouchers and rental assistance programs are impacting the ability for people to remain housed in our community,” they did not acknowledge that all this spending had an inflationary effect. Unfortunately, Gavin Newsom’s administration spent even more money, over $24 billion, without bothering to create any measures to track the “results” of the spending.

The inflation caused by these types of government subsidies is one reason people are struggling with poverty, including people who are homeless because of the area’s high rents.  For instance, Lompoc has some 30% of the Section 8 housing (subsidized housing) in Santa Barbara County. Section 8 pays so much money to landlords that regular renters who don’t qualify for Section 8 can’t find an affordable rental due to the inflationary impact the program has on this impoverished city.

Another reason people are struggling? Regarding the cost of food and consumer goods, the war our supervisors, governor, and president have been waging against fossil fuels has driven up the price of absolutely everything. The insult to injury? Billions in federal and state monies went to green energy projects and subsidies for electric vehicles and the like, including an electric charger in Cuyama. These projects can’t rely on private sector investors alone because they don’t pencil out.

Moreover, the reason the county had an “extra” $130 million to spend on the homeless was because our federal and state government sent them money that they themselves didn’t have to spend!  Add it up!  Covid $ (70% of the populace made more money by staying home than going to work!), some $30 billion in unemployment checks that CA sent to people who did not qualify to receive the funds (now the CA unemployment fund is broke!), and trillions in ARPA money (money that was printed or borrowed!)!

When politicians give away trillions of dollars that was not generated by economic activity in the private sector it serves to create inflationary pressures on the very problems they are now trying to alleviate. The state of California, for instance, went from a $100 billion “surplus” to a $78 billion dollar deficit in one year. One year. $78 billion is more than the state budget of 41 states.

And Newsom wants to be our president? In essence, county supervisors realize our house is on fire, but they are hosing it down with borrowed cash, which is the fiscal equivalent of gasoline, making everything worse.

Margaret Thatcher famously observed something that is still lost on socialists. Namely, socialists eventually run out of other people’s money to spend on their programs. Unfortunately, this lesson is lost on our electeds as monumental losses trickle down to each of these levels of government. That is not to mention $1 trillion in household debt.  Or have you not noticed?

Have you ever visited the The U.S. Debt Clock? The website should be renamed The US Debt Bomb! The numbers are staggering. U.S. national debt is $34 trillion. Social Security liabilities are $27 trillion. Medicare liabilities are $41 trillion. Congress has no plan to address these federal catastrophic shortfalls which exceed $100 trillion.

I mentioned our national debt at a county supervisors meeting when U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal was still a county supervisor, and he scoffed, as he had no concept of our debt crisis. Now in Congress, he is one of the people spending us into oblivion, going as far as to present photo-op “checks” showing himself as the payor of the funds to various community programs in his district. How apropos is that?

Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and host of The Andy Caldwell Radio Show, weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on News-Press Radio AM 1290.


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George Washington said, when he became president, Do not have political parties! It will divide the country and the USA will be no more.

It’s time to stop making the problems our country is facing about political parties! That doesn’t solve them.

How about voting for people who care about our country and the people who call themselves United States Citizens? Not people who want to become rich off our hard earned money and know nothing about budgets or keeping a country running. Why are the representatives we the people voted for, doing nothing but getting rich?

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”–PM Margaret Thatcher

I once heard of a movie, ” A Day Without A Mexican”. As I think of what that would be like and compare it to A Day without County Government, there is no doubt that Mexicans are essential.

I agree with Mr. Andy Caldwell!

As a SB County Supervisor, Salud Carbajal showed us he doesn’t understand free market economics, his vision for our county was based n socialism. Now, as a US Congressman, Carbajal continues with his idiotic tendencies as he participates on driving the American economy into the ditch.

Locally, the Santa Maria Valley has been ill-served by supposed conservative leaders like Steve Lavignino and Bob Nelson. Both of these bureaucrats supported the Dignity Homeless Center against their better judgement. Now, local taxpayers have been on the hook to support this boondoggle, and our local government is unable to move the needle on the homeless issue despite spending millions of dollars.

Whether it be Carbajal on the left, or Lavignino and Nelson on the right, we deserve better leadership than these men are displaying.

Republicans are always worried about debt until they get into office. They railed against Obama because he added to the debt, mainly through bailing out banks and auto makers during the Great Recession (a result of failed Republican policies) as well as giving tax breaks to the middle class and instituting Obamacare, which cut the number of uninsured by half.

When Trump was elected it only took them a year to ram through a huge tax cut—88% of which benefited the morbidly wealthy, including the president himself, who by his own admittance, and a court’s ruling, hasn’t paid his fair share of taxes for decades, if ever.

Not only did Trump’s tax cuts add $7.8 trillion to the national debt, it also fueled the subsequent inflation we are still fighting. When we needed money to help Americans during Covid, the Republicans had already squandered it, forcing Trump and Biden to borrow.

Andy is right about one thing,”When politicians give away trillions of dollars that was not generated by economic activity in the private sector it serves to create inflationary pressures.” That give away was to the rich who tend to horde it. When money is given to the working and middle classes, they spend it, helping the economy.

Moreover, Andy is always good at pointing out problems, but where is his solution to the homeless. A dirty little secret about MAGA folk like Andy is that they would spend three times as much to incarcerate the homeless. And, how much will the deportations cost that Trump has proposed? You can be sure it will be far more than what Democrats have spent to put forward reasonable solutions that don’t dehumanize people.

Always going to get down voted by Trump zealots anytime you speak truths about their failed insurrectionist, twice impeached, six times bankrupted “financial genius” ex-president.

Geez. I gotta weigh in, even though I know that the usuals will vote me down out of hand.

I will be the first to admit that government could use a lot more oversite. State and federal. Lots more. But housing the homeless is cheaper than allowing them to continue on the street and then dealing with the complications of that mess.

There is no mention in this opinion piece about the massive corporate appropriations of housing, which leads to monopolization of the market and price fixing at inflated profits. That is happening, bigtime. I do not believe they should be allowed to do this.

Not to mention the across-the-board record profits that corporations are making, at consumer’s expense, in just about every other area of our economy. Windfall profits are what is actually driving up inflation. Period. I don’t think that should be allowed either. And the more they have, the less they are taxed. When their tax rate was high, they gave that money to their employees instead and they invested in infrastructure and expansion, creating more jobs. I’m old enough to remember those days. Middle class, and all that.

And “trickle down economics”? That was the beginning of the end of our middle class. I was there. If you consult the timeline, it is quite clear. Furthermore, the democratic socialist countries of Europe are enjoying a much higher standard of living and satisfaction with life for everyone. We are about 25th right now on the international scale. Those countries are still voted way above us for engaging in international business as well. We are around #6. Oh, yes, and they don’t have a “homeless problem”, either. But go ahead and pretend that is not the case. Because pretending has always made so much more sense.

Blame the homeless. They certainly can’t fight back. Or the immigrants who keep your food prices down so that the Agribusiness barons can inflate them beyond all reason (you know, the five corporations that own 90% of the food business, who are reporting record breaking profits on your backs). And continue to promote politicians who give tax breaks to people like Musk, Bezos, Buffet, etc. Those three already have personal pocket money in excess of half a trillion. But that is so cool. What’s a few hundred thousand people on the street when we can have private citizens with hobbies like personal space programs. GO America!

And, much like the “Obama is after you guns!!!” paranoia, the “Newsom is running for president!” rhetoric has about as much evidence to back it up. It would be helpful if people would stick to facts, rather than pull figures and statements out of their darker recesses, and come up with some actually better plans. The “bash the libs” approach, in place of actual concern and creativity works about as well as just throwing our money at an unregulated system.

Voting for people (on either “side”) whose campaigns are financed by corporate conglomerate money is like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.

Well said.