Who killed the general fund?

To answer that, you’d need a list of suspects long enough to fill an English murder mystery.

And they’d all be guilty of course.

I’m back up to date in reading ballot initiatives – at least all of the ones filed this year – and I think Gov. Jerry Brown was only half right when he predicted a “War of All Against All” in California politics.

What we have is a war of all against the general fund.

It doesn’t matter whether the proposal in question seeks to raise taxes or cut spending – or do something else entirely. Initiatives of all kinds take a blast at the general fund. Some take money out of it. Others remove programs from it. And some reform measures put new restrictions on general funds that would make it harder to balance the budget.

Brown himself is very much a warrior in this onslaught; his tax hike initiative proposes to cut nearly as many billions out of the general fund as it would raise in taxes.

One can bemoan this state of affairs—certainly I have—but it shouldn’t be surprising. The California state budget is like the world. And out in the world, the center cannot hold.

General things – whether they be general funds, general-interest publications, general stores – are under assault from all sides. The niche businesses or niche interests want to carve out their piece. The wealthy and powerful and big want to starve them in the name of preserving their own funds and power.

And who fights for the general fund? No one of course. The vague middle can’t match the intensity of the niches or the resources of the big.

Maybe the general fund could hire its own army.

But it couldn’t afford the pensions.