Government Spending

Saving California's Children Against the "secular Taliban"

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Remember L.A. Times columnist Tim Rutten, and the made-up "single mother working…part time" who he manfully aims to defend against the ravages of "ideological" solutions to California's budget cuts? They're baaaaaack!

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger insists that the only way to close the estimated $24-billion budget gap is to throw children in need of health insurance, the ill, the elderly and tens of thousands of the working poor -- many of them single mothers -- to the wolves of self-reliance. The Democrats, naturally, resist, but offer no workable alternative plan to close the deficit. The Republicans stand apart, like some secular Taliban, and chant "no new taxes" -- ever, for any reason.

Go ahead and read that passage again; it's that good.

Later, our working class hero, who has been earning (mostly generous) Times paychecks since I was four years old, issues this cri du media.

why it is so often considered sentimental or softheaded to point out that there are moral dimensions, and not merely fiscal considerations, at play in these budget deliberations? It's the implication that [advocates for government programs aimed at the poor] speak out of otherworldly sentimentality that allows most of the state's English-language news media and commentators to routinely kick…statements on social justice issues into a well of silent indifference.

Most of the state's English-language news media and commentators are indifferent to the lowly victims of budget-cutting? Really? Here's a small sample of headlines from the top California English-language newspapers from just this week:

Panel seeks to save services from governor's ax
Sun Valley area health workers say planned budget cuts would affect millions
Stray pets a target of state budget cuts
Calif wants to cut legal aid attorneys for poor
As L.A. County spun its wheels, children died
Novato cuts school bus service for most students
Ill-conceived family planning cuts
Basic-aid districts to share the pain
Advocates for long-term care residents hit by budget cuts
California's budget cuts: Deep to the bone, shallow to the roots

It's like that every day, at least on planet non-Rutten.

I don't give a rat's ass about, let alone understanding the meaning of, "otherworldly sentimentality"; what I consider "softheaded" are appeals to sentimentality in the utter, yawning absence of analysis or even expressed concern about WHAT ALL THAT DAMNED TAXPAYER MONEY IS BEING SPENT ON INSTEAD OF HELPING POOR PEOPLE. Did the cost of California welfare programs increase from $100 billion to $140 billion during the comparative good times between 2003 and 2007? No? Then whatever accounts for that increase should be the biggest target of wrath among single-mother-protectors of the world, not the imagined slings of Talibanesque he-wolves.