Friday, January 16, 2009

LA Times: Hand-Wringing Over the Budget

The Los Angeles Times published yet another in a long line of hand-wringing editorial over the California budget crisis:

Editorial: Listen -- California is Almost Broke and We Need a Budget
The Los Angeles Times, Friday, January 16, 2009

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was right to devote his State of the State address Thursday to California's imminent fiscal collapse. The state is about to run out of money, and there is little point in laying out an ambitious legislative agenda if he and lawmakers can't even balance the current budget.

. . .

The masters of the message so far have been political opinion makers and special interests, who argue that any solution is fine as long as it doesn't raise taxes, or cut schools, or hurt the poor, or furlough state workers, or stall progress on the environment, or drive away business. The point Schwarzenegger tried to make Thursday is that all those interests have to take a hit for the long-term good of everyone.

True. However, one element is missing: those arguing any solution is fine so long as it maintains the undeserved monopoly of power by Democrats and Republicans. Editorials and commentary pleading for "bipartisan" or "post partisan" solutions that don't mention independent individuals, groups, and parties like Greens and Libertarians, aren't serious and usually a cover for taking one partisan side or another in the tiresome struggle between "liberal" Democrats and "conservative" Republicans.

How exactly do "masters of the message" work their wicked ways? For example, when Los Angeles paid School Superintendent David Brewer a jaw-dropping $517,500 just to go away, Republican "conservative" demagogues can argue taxes for public schools for "Those People" are wasted. When everybody racialized the Brewer debacle (like everything is racialized in L.A. politics), Democratic demagogues in my neighborhood can argue Admiral Brewer's golden yacht was about not "disrespecting" our community.

What rubbish.

Politicians win. Kids lose.

No comments: