Prop's 1D & 1 E on California Special Elections ballot
I don’t really miss the boys in the Bush/Cheney/Rove cabal. Sure, their foibles were always good copy, but in their last year, writing about them was almost too easy, kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. And the reality is, the price of the entertainment was too high. As the torture memos revealed in the past few days have shown us, these guys had the ethics of Nazi prison guards. They were doing real damage.
Still, if anybody is missing the selfish, immoral, thoughtless kind of behavior that made the Republicans the Republicans these past few years, its on full display in the political travesty called California’s special election, which is scheduled for May 19.
Lacking the juice to deal with California’s budget crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut a budget deal predicated on the passage of a series of state initiatives requiring voter approval. Most odious of these are props 1 D and 1E, which would raid hundreds of millions of dollars raised and set aside for children’s and mental health services, and use them to patch the budget.
Schwarzenegger and his rich pals call this approach to the budget “shared sacrifice." But before you buy into that line, you might want to ask just who’s sharing, and who is sacrificing?
It’s not the fat cats at Chevron oil. Despite record profits of $24 billion last year, they helped beat back an oil extraction tax that could have pumped more than a billion dollars of oil industry revenues into California’s coffers. And you might notice that the big boys in the booze business somehow managed to avoid any increases in alcohol taxes in the new budget deal.
I guess its just coincidence that these same industries and other usual suspects just happen to be among the largest contributors to the governor’s campaign for the budget initiatives. Chevron is at the top of the list, giving $500,000 to the Governor’s campaign for the measures. I guess that’s their sacrifice.
No one can deny that California faces real and very difficult budget problems. But the reality is that the budget measures on the May ballot are little more than a sop to California’s republican legislators who refused to go along with any tax increases that might have helped to ease the budget crisis. Instead, they chose to protect their powerful friends like Chevron, and are instead seeking to balance the budget on the backs of California’s least powerful residents – children and the mentally ill. That’s not shared sacrifice, that’s business as usual. Karl Rove himself couldn’t have done better.
Check out the Shared Sacrifice? video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CQnCvGj0GY