San Diego Union-Tribune cartoonist Steve Breen, with his depiction of a fat and robust State of California being persuaded by a treadmill salesman to exercise, may be a good analogy. While the only fast economic fix for California and the entire nation may be quintupling the budgets, leading to massive spending, the current state of politics makes any such thing suicidal in the polls and for the future. Spending has become too corrupt. Whose brother-in-law gets the money?
Time to propose a Plan B, unlike anything before proposed in the political arena. Combining President Obama´s desire fo logroll and make concessions politically, with everyone´s desire for a less-violent and less-volatile political climate, here goes:
Assemble 2 budget committees, with one committee made up of the most Liberal Democrats, and the other made up of the most Conservative Republicans. The state and federal governments would each have their own version of this two-committee system. The Liberals need to target which programs are wasteful, and need to be cut, thus going against their own political bias of more spending. And, the Conservatives need to propose additional spending plans that would save a lot more money than they cost in the long run.
Long ago, I used to write two different editorials, one in favor of an idea, and the other opposed. A news editor could buy and run either one. If you read a handful of newspapers that day, you got both editorials somewhere, under different pen names. I got to thinking that same might be the solution for the budget mess that governments everywhere always find themselves in. I learned that there is way more than one side to everything, and if you´re good at what you do (in this case legislating), then you should be able to take any side.
I kinda got excommunicated for awhile from the Democratic National Committee, only because I wrote an editorial very critical of their work the past two years (“No one at the helm of the Ship of State), and suggested they deserved to lose Congressional seats. Previous, I had written a nice speech, intended for Obama, where he says, “The Tea Party is Over. Now let us get everybody back to work.”
What other President has blown the perfect opportunity for change, with the Executive Branch plus both Houses of Congress in his hands, plus a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate? No progress, other than Hillary Clinton´s Health Care Reform, her penchant while First Lady, that went nowhere then. It was her concession for stepping down on the Presidency. Nonetheless, prosperous or blah, I can also see the idea of cooperation, so here are a few more particulars of this bipartisan plan:
I am certain that the Liberals, even though they like to spend, can find places that it irks them that the government spends so much money in a particular area. So, vent your frustrations, Liberal. Let us see you propose some spending cuts. Any Conservatives have a problem with that? Any Liberals? See what I mean? Even selecting against one´s own bias is powerful as a position to be in, as, for one thing, it allows you to block cuts that you favor.
On the Conservative side, there are thousands of ways that spending can be increased in such a way to save money down the road and from now on. Here in San Diego, for example, the Conservatives found out that it costs the taxpayers more money in hospital and jail expenses (plus police, fire, etc.) to have certain of the homeless live on the streets than if the City or County paid for an apartment for them. Ridiculous? No, fiscally sound. Anwhere the governments can spend a million dollars to save ten million, that is music to the Conservatives´ ears. Find out what and where, because now you Conservatives have charge of conserving.
And, once again, do any of you out there, be you Liberal, Conservative, or None Of The Above, have any problems with eliminating government waste? Of course not, unless you are in on the corrupt cycle of wasting taxpayer money. I expect the Liberals to cut yacht mooring subsidies and private airport subsidies for the wealthy. And, why not. I expect the Conservatives to cut programs that do not work, proposing others.
Admit the faults with your usual political position, in order to compromise. That is what makes government work. Stipulating what we agree on, first, and then let us argue from there. Who loses? Special interests, crooked politicians (but not honest ones), fake nonprofit organizations, criminals, and other gangsters. What´s there to dislike in that?
Outside of a few books and non-mainstream publications, this is the first use of my real name, even though I have ghost-written editorials in major newspapers for many years.
John Kitchin, NZ9F