Thursday, February 3, 2011

The View From The Back of the Bus, California GOP Edition

For whatever reason, this article about the California GOP's pointed refusal to "help" Jerry Brown raise taxes was the above-the-fold headline of the SF Chronicle the other day. Actually, the reason is obvious. No matter how many liberals are elected to the Legislature/Governor's Mansion, the root of California's fiscal crisis is always the same: the GOP. It's kind of like how riots in Egypt are somehow Israel's fault.

A day after Gov. Jerry Brown challenged Republicans to put tax measures on the ballot and chided them for not having an alternative plan, GOP leaders said that proposing a balanced budget is the governor's job, not theirs.

Speaking to reporters after the speech Monday, Brown said of Republicans, "Just show me an idea. I've had drinks with people, but I haven't gotten any paper or any articulated position other than 'no' or 'no for now but check back later,' " Brown said.

But Republicans said they have for years put out ideas for changing the state that have been summarily rejected by the majority Democratic Legislature, and they have no reason to expect something different. The challenge from Brown is a red herring, they said, and an attempt to knock Republicans off their message.

"The governor is the one who is supposed to prepare a balanced budget," said state Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar (Los Angeles County), who is the top Republican on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. "The governor put out his own budget with an $11-to-$12 billion hole in it. That's not our responsibility, that's his responsibility."

He added later, "We're the minority party here, we don't have a lot of say."

That's right, we're just sittin' here in the back of the bus (or is it by the side of the road?), drinking Slurpees and havin' a grand old time. That's the life. We heard a lot of big talk during the campaign about how Jerry Brown was going to make the tough choices. Well, we're watching.

The fact is California's fiscal crisis is entirely the result of Big Government progressives, abetted by a handful of (since defeated) moderate Republicans and (sneer) the former "Republican" governor. If Jerry Brown can explain where in the GOP platform it requires us to go along with tax hikes, unsustainable pensions, fat public sector union contracts, and boondoggles like High Speed Rail or stem cell research, then maybe we'll go along. But we all know he can't.

There is literally no rational political reason for California Republicans to sign on to Jerry Brown's solutions to the fiscal crisis. For one thing, his solutions are intended to preserve progressive governance, not reduce it. For another, California's fiscal crisis is a crisis of progressive governance, not the result of the usual bugaboos like tax cuts and "deregulation." If liberals think raising taxes are the answer, they are welcome to try.

1 comment:

  1. I'm willing to give the guy a chance, because he at least mouths platitudes about reducing our budget deficit--which is more than any other Democrat has done. I don't care whether the person who gets our budget under control has a D or an R after his name, I just want it under control.