Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Microcosm


Using some sort of arcane rules, minority Republicans in my state's legislature recently pulled off a coup of sorts: they briefly took control of the budget process, giving themselves a chance, after months of claiming they could do it, to produce a balanced one, that paid for education and didn't raise taxes. It's a microcosm, of course, because, on a smaller (and therefore, one might presume, a less daunting) scale, it's exactly like what U.S. House Republicans and all of their presidential candidates are claiming they can do. Here, in the other Washington, when given their moment in the sun, they failed like a Newt Gingrich marriage:

They exploded one of the enduring myths of local politics. The one that claims there's so much waste and bloat in government that we can slash it without affecting the important stuff.

This myth has dominated politics recently. ...

But those days are over, at least at the state level. ...

How can I say that categorically? Because the rebellion in Olympia just proved it.

The 25 senators who wrested control from the liberals last weekend have spent months arguing that they could balance the budget with mostly pain-free prescriptions such as "resetting priorities." No need for accounting gimmicks, they said. Or cuts to the state's top priority, education. Most of all, there's no call for new taxes, because there's plenty of fluff yet to cut.

But when they got control for eight hours to pass their own budget, they failed to live up to any of the rhetoric. This budget included its own gimmick — a skipped payment into the pension system. Worse, it cut both public schools and the state's university system, two things the budget hawks earlier had insisted wouldn't be necessary.

[...]

So Republicans ended up cutting schools instead, including trying to permanently cancel a mandate from voters for lower public-school class sizes (a cancellation which they euphemistically call a "reform"). Some of their own members apparently fought these cuts. But in the end they couldn't figure another way.


Once again we see the choice before us: Recognize our needs and find ways to pay for them; or put Rs in charge and, in the name of maintaining historically low tax rates on the historically well-off wealthy, watch our future slip away. It's obvious, and it's happening. In my state, it's education that suffers the most. Education. Rick Santorum may think it's the stuff of elitist snobbery, but some of us with a toe remaining on the firmaments know the future depends on it. And -- surprise! -- Congressional Rs won't balance the budget by cutting NPR, NEA, and Planned Parenthood.

What's not in doubt, because it's all around us already and they don't even try to hide it, is the devastation that will follow a Republican takeover of government. What is in doubt -- serious doubt -- is if Democrats can get people to see it. Given the combination of Democratic message ineptitude and R brilliance at deception, along with the expressed desire of their base to ignore reality, it's a tall order indeed.

[And in case anyone needs a clearer vision of the future if Rs are in control, check out what just happened in Pennsylvania, cradle of our democracy:

Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed and where the U.S. coal, oil and nuclear industries began, has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients.


Clearly, writing about this is neither partisan nor hyperbolic. Fact is, there's stuff like this that I see every day, but just gets too emotionally burdensome to write about it all. So I limit myself to a couple of posts a day. The party of god, in the pursuit of corporate profit and payola, is happy to destroy everything else about America. It's as undeniable as it is unsustainable; and they -- and their buffaloed teabagging supporters -- couldn't care less. In the case of the perpetrators, they're out to get theirs in their lifetime, not caring about who or what comes next. In the case of the teabaggers, they're too fully befuddled and exploited to notice. It's way beyond appalling.

5 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

"Historically Well-Off Wealthy"?
thats a high-falutin' way to say "You",
or "Me"
C'mon Sid, don't tell me you pulled in less than 1/2 a million last year...
Jeezus, MRS Drackman almost makes that much, if you count the lottery winnings and what she'll potentially inherit from her Old Man, I mean "Dad"...
I know you don't really operate that much anymore(thank God), but just the interest on your Social Security should be enough to buy a tank of gas or 2...

Frank

Sid Schwab said...

Sigh. I don't know why I bother.

Frank Drackman said...

I'm Confused Sid,
my trusty Wiki-pedia says there's only 22 RepubicKKKLans in the Washington State Senate, and 27 DemoKKKRats...
SO.......................
unless Y'all(HT Mitt Romney) can't count, seems like its YOUR party thats causin the Problem..
Cause 27 was more than 22 last time I checked...

Frank

Sid Schwab said...

I covered that by referring to "Using some sort of arcane rules..." It's not as if you've ever shown interest in actual details or making comments you've never made a hundred times before. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But, since I'm slowly turning you into a political junkie and constitutional technocrat, you can read this. And then, to show your gratitude, you can address the point I was making with thoughtful analysis and, if you can find a way to do it, persuasive refutation. Try it. An alternative to reading Money Magazine in the O.R.

Frank Drackman said...

"Some sort of arcane rules"?
Oh, you mean represenative Democracy, well Washington's a young state, y'all(HT Mitt Romney) will figure(Southern for "Solve")it out eventually.
And it might just be a Jaw-Jaw thang, but "Down Here" we call it "Bi-partisan-Ship" you know, when both sides agree on something important, you know, like the Iraq War, DOMA, Bush, excuse me, OBAMA Tax Cuts.
and just a friendly tip, y'all(HT Mitt Romney) need a lottery.
All your kids gotta do is have a 3.0 and College is free, even for a rich basterd like me...
LOTTERY!
OK, so there's old people pan handling on the corner, someones gotta balance the budget...

Frank

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