Not Enough Shock Doctrine
Digby mentioned the enormous corporate tax cut embedded in the California budget deal, the only permanent tax change in the whole bill. She didn't mention that the deal actually hadn't been secured. For some insane reason, they announced the "deal" before getting the votes, which only empowered the few Republicans needed for passage. So there was an all-night session, on Valentine's Day, which ended up falling one vote short in the State Senate. In between we were treated with much hilarity, including the GOoPers in the State Assembly trying to oust their Minority Leader for daring to even put together this deal, and then the ringleader resigining his Minority Whip position in protest. The key vote in the Senate objected to any money being used for children's health programs and ultimately torpedoed the deal on those grounds. Despite the fact that there was this huge corporate tax cut, and worse, a hard spending cap which would really drown state government in the bathtub, Republicans couldn't abide what were essentially flat or even regressive tax increases. Brian Leubitz pretty much sums it up:
This process has been a disaster. The worst of everything that we've been going through for months, even years, with the Republicans. This is a fancy stick-up, with a patina of legitimacy. Who knows if a deal will be reached, but at this point there can be no question from the High Broderists who caused this. Every newspaper, every television station, every radio station should do what the Media News group did and call out the Republicans for their stickup of the state.
So now the state will get a lot of stimulus money that they probably can't even use because they don't have the cash reserves. The education cuts, most of which have to happen by March 15 to prepare for the next school year, will come down hard, maybe harder than necessary. Welfare recipients and students and those expecting a tax refund won't get their money. And the state will spiral downward, cutting against any upward movement from the stimulus.
This is what happens when the entire process is co-opted by an anti-tax jihad that's been in place for 30 years, when the media just de-camps and a state of 38 million is governed under virtual secrecy, and Republicans are emboldened to ask for more and more and more with absolutely no political consequences. If you thought national sausage-making was abhorrent, welcome to California.
Is it time for a federal mediator yet?