We were robbed!

Irv and Jeri are here, experiencing  below average temperatures and above average rainfall.  But if you come from the old country (Chicago), you take whatever you can get.

I’ve tried to ignore the political landscape while they’re here but find it a herculean task given the state we’re in.   The state of California, I mean.  The budget process goes on and on, we get frustrated, our bile rises, and we look around to see who’s to blame.  If you really want to know, just look in the mirror.

Proposition 13, the need for a two-thirds vote to increase taxes, and a similarly foolish rule about passing  budgets are requirements designed by us, the voters.  In a gleeful spree we happily made it so difficult to run this state that we are now enjoying the fruits of our labors.  So, dear fellow Californians, read ’em and weep.

But since you won’t take responsibility for the mess, let’s see who else we can blame.  The Governor?  No, I think he’s been an honest broker and keeps trying to be a mediator.  The Democrats?  Sure, they’re at fault for slashing expenditures, negotiating regressive tax increases and believing that those concessions would make the other guys come to their senses.

Three days ago after some nail biting negotiating between leaders of both parties, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Democrat, said “I’m very confident the governor will have this budget on his desk tomorrow morning.”  It’s Tuesday evening and the Eagle hasn’t landed.  Republicans, with their 1/3 minority are holding out for Armageddon.  It isn’t enough that the Democrats with their 2/3 majority have agreed to…

—$8.6 billion dollars of reductions to education while California is already the 49th lowest spender per pupil in the country.

—$1.3 billion in reductions to human services including cuts to monthly checks for the aged, blind and disabled.

—$880 million in cuts to higher education including a 10% reduction for the UC systems.

—$208 million in reductions to health-care funding, including the elimination of dental coverage for Medi-Cal recipients.

As if the dollar cuts weren’t enough, the Republicans also got…

—A $770 million reduction to the taxes paid by multi-state corporations.

—Environmental concessions, including a delay in the implementation of new air pollution requirements on diesel engines (cough, choke.)

—A spate of tax increases that impact those least able to pay.

Not good enough, they said.  We don’t care what our leadership negotiated for in good faith.  We signed a pre-election pledge not to support tax increases…and you know how important our pledge is.  No, we want more cuts to balance the budget.  Screw the tax increases.  Take it from the school kids or the blind guys.  Close the DMV…who needs a driver’s license anyway.  And if that doesn’t balance the budget, take away our cars, our per diems and cut our salary by two-thirds (I thought of this final idea.)

In reality, the Republicans are afraid of losing their jobs.  Their constituents would surely vote them out of office…and elect other dedicated Republicans who think more of  their job security than what the people of this state need.  But next time let’s make their replacements wear masks.  No sense having to guess who’s trying to rob us.


6 Responses to “We were robbed!”

  1. 1 Roger Conrad February 18, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Well said. I can remember how pleased people were to have passed Prop 13. Now decades later we have a State running on empty, a crumbling infrastructure and a legislature in perpetual deadlock. What a sad legacy for something that seemed to have promise back then.



  2. 2 Jerry February 18, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Great piece, Fred. It constantly amazes me that those on the right can continue to bellow about “freedom from government” while enforcing a tyranny of the minority on us all when it comes to tax policy. The 2/3 majority requirement is blatantly undemocratic on its face, and it’s disastrous consequences continue to proliferate all around us (California’s credit rating just dropped to 50th among the 50 states…now Louisiana finally has someone to look down upon).
    Joe Brewer tells it like it is on yesterday’s truthout.com: “Conservative officials enact policies that make life worse for people while claiming that things will get better. Then they draw upon these negative experiences to advance their agenda. …conservatives *want* people to have negative experiences with government. Why? Because it supports decades of propaganda – and an underlying belief that stems from their worldview – that government is the problem. In the early 1970’s, conservative elites started investing heavily in the creation of idea factories to spread their views far and wide so that they eventually became the new common sense of our culture. They had to work tirelessly for years to change the underlying values of American citizens because our long history has been devoted to advancing our most cherished values, which happen to be progressive. But, as we can see by the pervasiveness of their ideas today, this effort has been catastrophically successful.” No wonder Rush Limbaugh wants Pres. Obama to fail…


  3. 3 Nancy February 18, 2009 at 10:04 am

    As a Times columnist wrote in yesterday’s paper, there’s no evidence that Republicans will be voted out if they support tax increases. And even if they will, so what? Aren’t the Republicans against “career politicians” running government? Aren’t they for term limits? Aren’t they for limited government? Do what needs to be done for the welfare of the state, get out and move on.

    However, the Democrats aren’t blameless here. One of the things Republicans asked for was a change to some labor laws to make overtime calculations more flexible and the Democrats are refusing in deference to unions. Give the Republicans something they want non-budget related and let’s get on with it!


  4. 4 Leo February 18, 2009 at 10:20 am

    The pendulum is poised to swing the other way.


  5. 5 Steven Rothenberg February 18, 2009 at 11:52 am

    where d’ya get that great ‘robber’ photo ? Is that the new official logo on all Republican Committee stationery ?? Oh, that’s the old logo….For both republicans & democrats. Oh yea.
    Great ‘robber’ photo.

    and where do you get all your statistics ?
    and where do THEY get all their statistics ?
    and who verifies them ?
    and how can they possibly count that high ?
    oh. they just make those up too. oh yea.

    great ‘robber’ photo.



  6. 6 Harry Levin February 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    If the Republicans had a simple majority do you think we would be in the same mess? I think we would.There are some things about Prop 13 that are benificial to people like me(read retired and home owner}. The real issue is that our Republican representatives believe any tax increase is wrong instead of evaluating if those tax dollars are spent wisely. Blind idealogy is short sighted and wrong. Vote the bastards out of office.


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