The Abuses of Adversity

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Another wacky story from California's $38 billion deficit follies. Yesterday, a group of lefty Democrats in Sacramento held a secret meeting to discuss how they could prolong the month-old budget impasse (the one that is beginning to shutter daycare centers and schools around the state), in order to score political points against Republicans, and popularize a union-backed initiative to amend the California Constitution so that the legislature could raise taxes with a 55 percent vote, instead of usual two-thirds. Unluckily for them, they forgot to turn off the intercom. The response from ringleader Jackie Goldberg, upon learning that other legislators were listening in to her plotting on their "squawk boxes"? "Oh [expletive], [expletive]."

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  1. The 2/3 majority requirement for tax increases is the only thing that is keeping the Democrats in check at all… if they overturn that, we can sit back and watch businesses flee the state in droves.

  2. “The [microphone] switch was on, but there was no light on the switch, so we didn’t know it was on,” said Dymally.

    Wonder if they’ll find money to repair it.

  3. Anyone get the feeling that the real motivation of politicians – at least these ones – is good ole fashioned universal drives for acceptance, control, and domination?

  4. “The 2/3 majority requirement for tax increases is the only thing that is keeping the Democrats in check at all… if they overturn that, we can sit back and watch businesses flee the state in droves.”

    Which might be a good thing. Maybe we should let the Dems have complete control of one state, just as an object lesson.

  5. Anyone ever get the feeling that our 2 major parties only strategize on how to set each other up instead of running the country as they were elected to do???

    If Greens and Libertarians became the 2 major parties, would they also stoop to this low to maintain power?

  6. ^Of course they would. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be parties.

    Wow this looks bad.

  7. suspicions confirmed..we are electing the wrong people to office. Most seem to be power hungry shysters whenever we get to hear the real person speak. Note the “spin” whenever they speak on the record to the press.

  8. suspicions confirmed..we are electing the wrong people to office. Most seem to be power hungry shysters whenever we get to hear the real person speak. Note the “spin” whenever they speak on the record to the press.

  9. Don: the only problem with your plan is that I live here! 😉

  10. Max: Some might call that a feature, not a bug
    ;->

  11. Maybe all official meetings of public officials need to be taped/broadcast to the outside. This asses treat planning on what to do with our money, and how to take more off us, like it’s their own little private club fund. I’m glad no one stopped them for 90 min., #%^@ %^@# idiots.

  12. “While a delay might serve the tactical advantage of Democrats, its consequences are already being felt by students, vendors and the poor: Since the new fiscal year began July 1 without a budget, the state has already begun to cut off money to some programs.”

    Uh huh. Let’s remember: this is the party “for the poor,” “about the underprivilaged” and “looking out for the common man.”

    Gross.

  13. What’s with the censorshit?!?!

    Show me the cuss words. I’m a libertarian–I can take it.

  14. Anon12:48, you may be a libertarian, but you are also simple. Go to the original source (LATimes) and look at the quote. Were Reason to try and fill in the quote, it would be guesswork and no longer a quote. Given that, you could just fill it in yourself. I would guess it to be “oh shit, goddamit” or “oh fuck, shit.” I would be more amusing if it were something less common like “oh bitch, cunt.” But we may never know.

  15. “Anyone ever get the feeling that our 2 major parties only strategize on how to set each other up instead of running the country as they were elected to do???” -Jack O.A.P.

    Your words echo those of Leon Panetta, who spoke to California’s Commonwealth Club earlier in the year on the deterioration of both government and civil society. I’m not really a fan of Panetta’s plan for effective government — he wants 2 years’ public service from every citizen, for example, and it sounds like he’d pass a coercive law to make that “public good” happen — but he has certainly been around both the state and federal blocks a few times, and he is well qualified to observe and comment on the present degenerate state of our adversarial system.

    Panetta thinks we have sunk to the level of never-ending “government by crisis” precisely because the parties need to score points off each other, and are paying more attention to winning that perverse game, than to finding consensus/compromise approaches to society’s problems.

    Whatever I may think of Leon Panetta’s ideological notions, or he of mine, there is no denying that he knows how politics works in general, and specifically how it works in both Sacramento and Washington DC. If he notes a sea change in the capitol game, we would probably be wise to pay attention to his evidence, as well as to the thought process he uses to connect the dots.

  16. This has actually been my objection to the two-party system we have now. In short, ask yourself this question: “What happens when one party looses?”

    I don’t mean the other party wins, I just mean that one party simply looses – they end up on the wrong side of major deciding issues, they fail to produce a power, popular candidate, they do not put up an effective fight or opposition, and/or they end up simply in chaos and generally falling apart.

    You know what you end up with? Answer: One party rule (look to England to see this in action, where Labor has no effective opposition whatsoever). I’m not exagerrating to make a small point easier to see here, that really is what you get – a pretty well unopposed rule by a single party, who thus has the power and opportunity to use their position to steam roll and crush the competition so that they can put up even less of a fight next time.

    Imagine that instead of talking about government politics, we were talking about private industry. What would happen in a market if there were only two big competitors, each kept intact only by their relative balance of power, and there were huge, possibly insurmountable, barriers to entry; further imagine that those barriers to entry weren’t even “natural” (existing as a consequence of natural laws, not merely as a willing choice), but created and enforced by those two dominant powers.

    Is this not an _incredibly_ dangerous state of affairs? How could such a situation possibly be considered stable, where only one big stumble (or string of stumbles, or big strides by the other party) by one party could cause a de facto nearly unopposable monopoly?

    Isn’t that precisely why we have anti-trust laws? And yet these same principles are NOT so applied to the government itself, where the consequences stand to be far more extensive and painful, and to which there is no independent system to petition for redress of grievances (ie – there is no “higher government”).

    In a situation such as this, the results seem inevitable. Two parties – sometimes even more than two – when not faced by an ongoing external competitive threat (such that weakening the competition will not neccessarily improve one’s own position), will inevitably turn on each other (it is that rational thing to do); so long as damage done to the enemy is just as good as improving oneself (such as in any team sport, where keeping the other team from scoring is almost always as good as scoring), resource expenditure will begin to be channelled away from self-improvement to taking out the competition until/unless some equillibrium is reached.

    Now, this naturally happens anyway, and can clearly be seen in many industries (that is, companies going after the competition, such as recent commercials by Hardee’s for their “Big Burgers” vs Whoppers and Big Mac’s), but the key here is that making people buy less of a competitors product does not NECCESSARILY get people to either buy your product or buy nothing at all; wiping out the competition does not keep a new competitor from rising up, and generally people have a wide variety of choices to pick from (such as with fast food, where people can simply go to a restaurant, convenience store, or grocery store, skipping fast food altogether). But when we are talking about the government, where you can’t very well just decide to vote in someone else’s election process, the situation is far more grave.

    That, it seems to me, is the nature of our present government, and at least a partial cause of many of the problems we are experiencing today.

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