Monday, March 4, 2013

When Failure Becomes the Only Option

Yeah, Republicans, I'm talking about you.

And I was governor why?
Californians observed this at work during Arnold Schwarzenegger's term as governor and the beginning of Jerry Brown's. The short story is that we had a surplus under Gray Davis, and then after an energy crisis we eventually learned was faked by power generators and energy traders -- most notably at Enron -- who gamed the market, Davis was recalled, bringing on the Terminator.

And I was thrown out why?
What followed was a series of economic disasters as minority Republicans refused to let us deal with our fiscal mess by never, ever allowing taxes, which were cut during the fat years, to go back up. Thus we lurched year by year from crisis to crisis and budget deficit to bigger budget deficit. Californians remember this well. Americans might recognize this pattern from the Bush years: Cut taxes, keep spending, go further into debt, and call it "letting the people decide what to do with their money."

I know why I was elected.
Then, Jerry Brown came in, took on the agendas of both Republicans and Democrats (while slightly favoring the Democratic priorities of education and government services), and finally through the initiative process -- heaven knows the minority Republicans in the legislature would never cooperate -- won the cooperation of the people in several revenue increases. Combined with sensible, survivable, spending cuts, California is on its way to fiscal health, without giving away the store with tax breaks to beg corporations to do business in the largest economic state in the nation.

As a side note, the Republicans have lost so much popularity that they've lost enough seats in both state houses that they now hold less than a third of the seats, which means they can't stop tax and budget bills that wrongheadedly require a two-thirds vote. So this week, the CA GOP held their annual convention where they said OMG we've got to change. They even had Karl Rove speak, his key exhortation being "Get off your ass!" In other words, the solution the Republicans need to implement is Stop Being Republicans. Good luck with that.

Hey, I fixed the national GOP but good.

This story is mirrored on the federal level in Washington DC, except for the part where the minority Republicans still can stop any fiscal solutions to move forward. And so we lurch from crisis to crisis, with each act in the drama amounting to one fiscal failure after another. Success? A forgotten word, an impossible word.

As we lurch from self-inflicted failure to self-inflicted failure and ginned-up crisis to ginned-up crisis, a consensus builds in Washington: What we're really doing is failing to come to terms with what our real solution is, and that's to cut Social Security and Medicare, as well as any programs that help the poor and middle class, such as food stamps, unemployment insurance, SCHIP, Medicaid, and other programs aimed at children, the elderly, and others in need. Funny thing is, this is not what the American people, as all polls inform us, want Washington DC to do. They prefer increases in taxes to fund these vital programs.

Americans: We're pretty sure you're not doing what we want.

What do we see instead, and what can we expect for the foreseeable future? The opposite of what the people need. The minority Republicans -- face it, every honest person acknowledges where the blame lies -- have guaranteed that failure is our only option.

For that, Republicans, we offer our heartfelt thanks.

Note. Please don't say "the Democrats do it, too" or "the Democrats are no better." The Democrats, however ineffective in the current climate, do support programs and policies that the American people want, and the polls have been showing this for a long time.

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