New polling data on the state budget fiasco suggests the common folk, ignorant and uninformed as they might be, have enough common sense to know that when you’ve been living beyond your means for years and years, you need to need to spend less and earn more.
That is the normal course of action for ordinary working people to take when the money going out exceeds the money coming in and long-term obligations far exceed the prospects for higher income.
The LA Times/USC Poll found 84 percent of voters don’t even know that state spending has fallen in the last three years. How dumb can we be?
Yet, 70 percent support a “cap on pensions for
current and future public employees,” 68 percent believe “government workers should be required to
contribute (more) to their retirement.” and 52 percent want to see the age at which government
employees may collect pensions above the age 50 and 55 allowed today.
Even more amazing is the fact that 60 percent of voters — “including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans” — are willing to pay more in taxes as part of a budget deal that gets the state our of the economic quicksand of the perpetually expanding $26 billion deficit.
The Times repeatedly notes correctly that the budget problem cannot be solved on the backs of state workers. Of course, it can’t be solved solely on the backs of taxpayers but there’s no way to get one without the other.
Instead of our well-informed and well-compensated rules putting together a budget that balances competing interests and fixes the problem fairly, what we are getting is more cuts to welfare and health care for the poor, more felons released early and dumped onto our streets and teachers laid off.
More disturbing is the governor put “phony” numbers in his budget plan for savings from concessions to be made by unions when he never intended to save very much at all, according to columnist George Skelton.
The governor fell $300 million short of his $515 million goal in labor negotiations but insists, “I’m not a jerk, a clown or a crook….As God is my witness, I did the best I could.”
Like Arnold and Gray before him, Jerry’s best isn’t good enough.
We are sinking deeper with Democrats and Republicans fighting to protect themselves and the special interests who own them or we can listen to the voices of the common folks who know everybody has to give a little to climb out of this hole.