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This is what we've been dealing with since 2007 in California. The entire political establishment, backed by the media, has argued that budget cuts are simply necessary. Nobody in the state capitol or the mainstream media has asked what the impact of those cuts on the unemployment problem is, and so every year since 2007 we've seen one Hooverite budget after another.

Only lately have Democratic leaders started to argue that budget cuts worsen unemployment. But we've seen them pledge to resist cuts in the past and get wedged into supporting them when Arnold Schwarzenegger and the media argued that not making cuts risked California's credit rating or cash flow.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
California is ridiculous. I was there when Gray Davis was recalled and I remember Schwarzenegger campaigning on the issue of Gray Davis' budget troubles and specifically Davis' intention to reintroduce vehicle registration fees. One of Schwarzenegger's first acts in office was to call a state budget emergency, and seven years ago here we are...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:49:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean seven years later, not ago...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:21:48 PM EST
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With Jerry Brown on his way to be Governor, that's an understandable mistake....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:29:07 PM EST
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Moonbeam won't be able to do much until the Super Majority Rule for raising taxes is revoked.

Despite some factors being out of the state government's control, ultimately California is badly managed.  The combination of interests vested in the Post World War II status quo frustrates and defeats those interests who wish to adequately respond to the situation.

That can be changed but it will require political will, requiring the supine electorate, those who want change, to get off their lazy asses and vote.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:47:04 PM EST
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Indeed. I wrote about that recently at Calitics - California's institutional sclerosis. The lack of majority rule was implemented in 1978 due to a desire to maintain the mid-20th century status quo. It remains in place because it helps maintain the late 20th century status quo. As you rightly say, those vested interests succeed in blocking any changes.

It's proved rather difficult to rally the public to fight against this - and I've been trying to do it for 2 years. That experience has led me to conclude we need an animating vision to pull such a movement together.

Of course, we also need money. Lots of it. And it's just not there, at least not right now. Perhaps a clear agenda and vision can produce that too.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:26:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two years?  I tried for fifteen.  

And got nowhere.

A combination of the agricultural, banking, real estate, and automotive industries have been in control of California since ... well ... forever.  Allied with the GOP they have stymied taxation of the income producers: agriculture, banking, real estate, & etc. by foisting the ever increasing tax burden on individuals.  They then 'flipped' the debate by forbidding any increase in taxation on anybody which starved necessary infrastructure and other Public Works.  

Almost simultaneously the damn fools passed Term Limits which shifted political power from elected officials to political insiders, of various sorts, which has resulted in political power being concentrated in people that do not, are not, and cannot be held publicly accountable.

Thus real political power in California is essential private.  Thus elections are essentially meaningless.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:42:48 PM EST
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I salute your perseverance. I often tell people that working in CA politics is like standing right outside the control chamber at Chernobyl, pounding on the glass screaming "you fools, you're doing it all wrong, you're going to kill us all" and realizing they can't or won't hear you.

Your assessment of the political landscape in CA is quite accurate. And as you note, they've rigged the system so that it is virtually impossible to change it. They've effectively destroyed democracy in California.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 01:09:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I may be stupid.  But I'm stubborn.  :-)

California politics makes me think of 10,000,000 people standing around throwing hammers in air and then observing, "Gosh.  It's raining hammers."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 09:12:04 PM EST
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And I salute your perseverance!
by sgr2 on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 05:45:35 AM EST
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Ironically enough, Arnold relented in 2009 and agreed to increase the VLF. It was barely noticed by the public.

This state's politics are ridiculous, primarily because of a belief that we can have low taxes and high quality services. Prop 13's passage in 1978 was an attempt to protect the privilege of white suburbanites by imposing austerity on everyone else. It was intended to break liberal government.

What we're witnessing now is the delayed outcome of that vote. In the meantime, successive asset bubbles were used to provide the illusion of balanced budgets and prosperity, with the collusion of Democratic legislators and Republican governors. That policy is no longer tenable, but until now, the desire to have a political coalition of the Democratic legislature and the Republican executive has remained, usually meaning Democrats have acquiesced to austerity.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:23:26 PM EST
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I was told that in 2008 the CA League of Women Voters sponsored an initiative to completely change the apportionment process. The idea being to make it less partisan and reduce the number of safe seats. The commission responsible for it is in the process of forming now, and the new districts are supposed to be in effect 2012. Shouldn't this be very positive development?
by sgr2 on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 04:40:54 PM EST
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I opposed Prop 11 - it's rearranging deck chairs at best, at worst an attempt to push the Democratic Party to the right and reduce the number of Democrats CA sends to the House of Representatives.

Partisanship is not CA's problem. A lack of democracy is.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 01:07:05 AM EST
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Thanks for elaborating, Montereyan.  Just took it at face value because the person who mentioned it to me (political activist/long-time Dem in the Oakland area), seemed to think it was a good idea. Can't see why he'd be in favor of things moving to the right and less Dems in the House, though. I'll definitely have to inquire further on this.
by sgr2 on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 03:34:28 PM EST
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The essence of the Republican program:
massive government benefits with no taxes, but not to people of the wrong color.
by rootless2 on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 08:43:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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