The California Governor rocks! This is of course an opinion piece.
For those of you who aren't in the US or near California, let me describe my perspective on this whole California "budget crisis."
This story about California is very much an analogy for the individuals of the world so pay attention there's a lot to be learned here.
Historically, California paid the bills the way the Federal Government pays the bills, by borrowing from large banks and the citizens. So to prevent the legislature from passing budgets that increase the state debt, the citizens banded together and passed a law requiring the legislature to balance the budget before it can be passed.
This has had a profound impact on California by removing the ability of the government to function for several months at the beginning of every fiscal year. "How's that?" you ask. Well let me tell you. There are enough Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature that the parties have to agree with each other in order to get the budget passed. So to get a budget the two groups of "wingers" must meet in the middle. That's right folks, the right wing republicans and the left wing democrats have to agree to pass a budget. Guess what? They can't agree on anything because they are "wingers!"
Partisan politics has many healthy advantages:
- People can band together and form a group to pass laws that are needed and effective.
- People have a rally point.
- People have a central hierarchy to disseminate information.
There are many more advantages, I'm just listing a few if the healthy positive ones here for use in my opinion piece.
But it also has many unhealthy disadvantages:
- When parties are of equal size in any legislature dead lock occurs.
- Having two "teams" of people leads to battles between the parties which burn bridges and make the groups pull farther apart.
- Once you have an "us" versus "them" attitude among the voters, it is nearly impossible to find balance and compromise on decisions.
- Current legislation is often replaced by the opposite party because people are in general always unhappy with the way things are and want "change" to fix things. This creates massive inefficiencies as plans are scrapped every term. DGMS.
There are many more disadvantages...
Here is at least one unhealthy advantage. Since the parties tend to be diametrically opposed, they each tend to go to the extremes. We call the extremes liberal and conservative but there could be other extremes depending on the current topics of society and culture. This leads to fundamentalistic behavior of particular legislatures. Fundamentalists are the worst kinds of leaders we can have because they don't represent the general average of the people, they represent the extremes of a small group of individuals. When this occurs there is a tendency among the voters to try and vote in the opposite of the leaders to balance them. This causes a deadlock like the one we have here in California. This is an advantage because if the government can't do good, at least have it do no bad. We get it to do no bad by dead locking it. This is, of course, very inefficient.
I guess it was about seven years ago California had a recall vote of our "cash friendly" governor Gray Davis. The republicans needed someone to oust him and asked Arnold Schwarznegger to stand up to the challenge. His wife is a Kennedy so she knew what it meant and how to do it. Schwarznegger is a businessman as well as an actor so my guess is he agreed with great trepidation. He'd probably not admit to that, but I bet its true. Running for Governor without any direct political experience has got to be a hard decision even for the "Terminator."
This year is a bad year for the California legislature. A huge budget deficit has accrued because of lost income due to an economic downturn. The law that says the budget must be balanced so something has to give. The legislature, with its near enough as makes no difference, 1:1 ratio of democrats to republicans are at odds with each other. The democrats say, "RAISE TAXES" and the republicans say, "CUT SPENDING!" They've been at an impasse for months without any end in site.
Governor Arnold has been attempting to mediate without much success. From what I can tell he sat down with his financial advisors and figured out a middle of the road budget which raises taxes a bit and cuts spending.
Both sides said "no effing way."
Do you see how the fundamentalism is making it impossible to govern?
So the Governator did what he had to do: he declared a budget crisis and started threatening various government jobs. This pissed off a lot of people and a lot of people declared the Governator to be the worst governor of all time. They fail to see his tactics for what they are.
A month or so ago Arnold threatened the jobs of many large groups of state employees, like teachers and jail workers. This caused them to lash back at him. It did its job and brought up people's awareness of the problem.
There's a great quote from him last week. I don't have it memorized so think of this as a paraphrase.
Basically a bunch of state employees complained about how there are people who are going without medical services, and medicine because the government programs that take care of them are out of money and the companies who aren't being paid can't afford to continue the services.
Schwarznegger's response was direct. "People who are feeling the pressure need to come up here and turn up the heat on the legislature to get them to pass a budget."
This worked wonders, but isn't the ultimate reason why I love the Governator.
The democrats and republicans came together and created a piece of trash, labeled it "The Budget" and then told everyone they had agreed on a budget.
This trash included such wonderful compromises as "lets tax everyone a little more at the beginning of the year and less at the end so we can pay our bills with the illusion of a balanced budget."
Schwarznegger stood up FOR THE PEOPLE and said, "If you pass that budget I will veto it." To some he looked like an ass, but to me he's a hero.
Its so nice for someone to be in there standing up for common sense and healthy budgets.
Because he did that and because the legislature didn't think they could get a two thirds majority to override him, they met with him and modified their trash to be less trashy (don't get me wrong, I'll bet a dollar to a donut that its just slightly less trashy now). And the three of them (the gov, the democrats and the republicans) agreed and finally are passing the budget.
Arnold doesn't care about political parties. His actions show that he cares about common sense and the people more than he cares about the Republican Party. That has irritated them to no end and frankly its wonderful. The fact that he would try to mediate between the fundamentalist parties shows what a great businessman he is and what a great Governor he is.
That's why I love the Governator.
Your opinions are welcome.
Causes Brian McKee Supports
I support the cause of peace via peaceful means.