As you all know by now, here in California we have a completely dysfunctional political system. The legislature is hyper-partisan and unable to govern. Thanks to a law stating that all taxes and budgets must have a super majority, a small rump of radical right wing Republicans basically can dictate policy to the majority. (Of course the irony that you can eliminate the rights of a class of people with a simple majority, but not raise taxes, is not lost on me.) With an initiative process out of control, vast swaths of the budget are committed to this and that policy. Courtesy of long-ago Proposition 13, property taxes are a mess. Now, the state (which boasts, when it can, the 8th largest economy in the world) is lurching towards an agreement on a budget deficit that essentially eviscerates any social programs and raids local coffers of cities and counties, leaving them denuded.
Because, of course, we can't raise taxes. Uh-uh, not even on tobacco and alcohol. And people who get services should be the ones who pay for them, so raise those tuition fees! Never mind that the state's public education system has, over the course of my 46 years here, plummeted from one of the top in the nation, to one of the worst, right down there with Mississippi. Never mind that the state universities, once a crown jewel that drove the state's economy with innovations in biotech and Silicon valley, are contracting, reducing enrollment, and the faculty start packing to move elsewhere.
And apparently, leaving poor kids unvaccinated and the public health system unfunded isn't a problem to some ( which is funny, because last I checked, flu viruses and pathogenic bacteria don't check your wallet before they hit you). And wildfires don't care how big your tax break is. And even a Lexus can lose a tire in a pothole.
But of course we can't release anyone from prison. That's the one thing the Republicans are adamant about (the prison guards' union is big here). Since those perpetrators of victimless crime need to sit in cells costing us a fortune. And of course, you ahve to have a place to put the young people if you don't educate them and give them a future.
This obsession with NOT raising taxes is insane. BP and I are comfortably off and (thankfully) our jobs appear stable. We understand that our taxes contribute to the world in which we all live and we should pay more when needed. I don't want sick, hungry and uneducated kids prowling the streets. I want there to be reasonable public transit and the potholes to be filled. I want our universities to compete and build a better future for all of us. I want the public health system to monitor swine flu and discourage tobacco, drug and alcohol use. I want people to have decent health care and job opportunities, and a hand up when they need it.
As I get angrier and angrier at the Legislature, I realized something. I bet that most of those passionate anti-tax Republicans think of themselves as good Christians. I wonder how they resolve their faith and its call to care for the least sparrow, with calmly slashing the social safety net, and stepping carelessly over the homeless in the street.