Friday, July 24, 2009

What would Jesus do if he lived in California?

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.


Picture credit

11 comments:

Wormwood's Doxy said...

They will tell you that it's the job of individuals and the church to take care of the poor.

Then you should ask them if they tithe.

The young fogey said...

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.

Here we're singing from the same hymnal.

it's margaret said...

Yeppa. Yep. And public employees are being told not to work as much as up to 5 days a month ---without pay. It's gonna get crazy.

JCF said...

Preach it, Sista!

[Sincere question, YF: what does it say to you, that a atheist lesbian preaches the Gospel so much better than most Christians do?]

The young fogey said...

I'm not surprised or shaken, JCF. My political influences are the late Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, neither of whom AFAIK were fans of the church or Christians. (Both were Jews; Rothbard an atheist.) God moves in mysterious ways: he created the church as his means of grace but he's not limited to anything.

IT said...

Reminder of blog policy:

This is not an open forum and we make the rules. Behavior that would have you escorted our of our living room, will have your comment deleted here. Posts that are insulting or inflammatory will be removed at our discretion.

To John/Sheldon/Mark/Hugo/whatever your name is: this is the only time I will address you. Your obsession with stalking and insulting members of our community across all our blogs is becoming tedious and abusive.

We understand that you do not like us, so it makes no sense that you persist in coming back among us. We suggest you find a community more to your taste. It's a big internet and you needn't spend any further time in our corner of it. We will delete your further posts here at FoJ and we recommend that other friends of MadPriest do the same.

Dahveed, I removed your comment when I deleted the troll post.

Erp said...

Weep?

A trader, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
E'phraim has said, "Ah, but I am rich,
I have gained wealth for myself":
but all his riches can never offset
the guilt he has incurred.

Brad said...

Does this include services for illegals? Because you can fund these services for those already in California, but if people in Latin America hear that 'free' services are available in California, your chances of EVER balancing your budget, controlling urban sprawl, reducing demand on very strained aquifers and cutting down on pollution will all be sacrificed to the demands of an immigrant lobby that will only continue to grow and demand more and more for itself.
Your state is gaining the uninsured, the uneducated, the unprogressive; those with educations, skills and cash have been upping stakes and leaving for lower tax areas elsewhere.
If Oregon and Montana weren't already sick of Californians before, they ain't seen nothin' yet.

Anonymous said...

Brad,
Too late, we are. First they come, then they complain we're not like California. Can we ship them back? We've got hundreds/thousands of empty railroad boxcars here....:)

A Montanan

Марко Фризия said...

What would Jesus do if he lived in California?

Maybe he would make plans to relocate to Iowa or Vermont?

Brad said...

Marko, that sounds like someone who claims to "celebrate diversity" but then moves to an all-white area.
I keep hearing this from gays who demand openness-but visit places like Provincetown and you'll see that, demographically, it's basically Vermont with sanddunes. What little diversity it has, the Portuguese fishermen and their families, are being priced out of their old town by the influx of rich gays who drive up the price of everything from housing to water to food.
Some "celebration of difference".