Thursday, July 02, 2009

Clown Show updates, East and West... 

In New York, some analysis of the lunatic behavior of the divided State Senate leading to the lock-up of the state government -- how all the petty factions put protecting their turf and extracting "payback" from their enemies ahead of any kind of responsible governing.

How do they imagine that they will escape accountability for this, in some future election?

Heck, they don't have to imagine it, they know they will. Key words from the story (with my emphasis)...

Yes, all of this sounds ridiculous. But key here is that lawmakers don't see any incentive to act responsibly. They know that the public rarely holds them accountable for misbehaving. By the time they're up for re-election, they figure, voters will have forgotten that they held state government hostage... [NY Post]
Not only will most voters have forgotten, but most who haven't forgotten won't care enough to do anything about it (if you are a Democrat will you vote Republican in 2010 or 2012 because Democrats closed down the government for a month in the summer of 2009?). And as to the small number who do care enough, they won't have the chance because they won't have a choice -- the state legislature is fully gerrymandered so that over 90% of legislators are guaranteed re-election.

That's why these guys are able to close down the goverment to pursue petty personal vendattas and turf wars at the cost of the citizenry -- they aren't accountable to anyone for anything.

The only consolation is, gee whiz, at least they aren't passing laws and legislating in the same way!

Meanwhile, over on the Left Coast, the great state of California finds itself paying a good number of its obligations with IOUs, instead of money, as it enters a new fiscal year with a $26 billion deficit. This after all proposals to close the deficit have been stymied by Democrats who refuse to cut spending and Republicans who refuse to increase taxes.

However, as to those obligations being paid with IOUs and money, it's interesting to see who's getting paid with what.

[] Getting IOUs: Grants to aged, blind or disabled persons; people needing temporary assistance for basic family needs, persons with developmental disablities; people in mental health treatment, small business vendors -- the needy and/or politically weak.

[] Getting cash: Legislators, legislative employees and appointees; the public employeesí retirement system; health care service payments to institutional providers (as very much opposed to the people getting IOUs); the University of California -- the very legislators and interest groups who own them behind them who've caused the crisis.

How do these legislators imagine they can escape accountability to the public for this fiasco they have created?

Well, the California state legislature is totally gerrymandered too.
Modern American politics is dominated by the doctrine that government is the problem, not the solution ... You don't have to be a liberal to realize that this is wrong-headed.
-- Paul Krugman