Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Direction of anger?
I am watching the Joint Budget Committee of the California Assembly and Senate seeking to cut the California budget in response to the national and economic economic crisis. The cuts proposed by the Governor’s office and the response of the Legislative Analysts Office are extreme. For example the U.C. and the CSU would lose $1.4 this year and 583 million next year. In health care the state would eliminate care for Alzheimer’s patients, eliminate AIDS testing,
Cal Works, and health insurance for over 900,000 children. These are only the beginning.
Question, how do we try to direct the anger? Is the appropriate anger aimed at the Legislature, the voters, the non voters, the bureaucracy?
Reading the blogs you would think that teachers, police, firemen and state employees caused the crisis.
California's k-12 education system is in large part in crisis because it is underfunded. Contrary to the wishes of the voters, politicians continue to fail to adequately fund our schools. Legislators only have a 23% support in the public. When comparisons include cost of living, California ranks 47th out of the 50 states in per pupil expenditures. Our schools are suffering. This is unacceptable.
California, and most other states, have a budget crisis as a result of the national economic crisis – significantly a banking crisis. The robber barons of finance capital have stolen the money, they have looted the treasury and our pensions and now they want to return to business as usual without any significant reform of the economic system. Just give them more tax payer money to bail out the banks.
The severity of the national and international economic collapse has created budget shortfalls for state and local governments. Economist Dean Baker, says "Since many states are required by their charters or constitutions to balance their budgets, states will end up using federal stimulus dollars to offset these shortfalls." It currently looks as if much of the stimulus package will be used to back fill state budget shortages which sharply limits the potential success of the stimulus.