Friday, December 12, 2008

The New, Improved Republican Strategery

"Let them eat cake."

That apparently is the position Senate Republicans took in obstructing the bail-out of the Big Three automakers. Unless the bill provided for draconian cuts to union workers' pay and benefits, Republicans threatened to filibuster. As usual, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid backed down and declared the bill dead rather than force the Republicans to carry through on their threat. The obstructionism worked.

The US Senate isn't the only place the tactic is working. It also appears to be the game plan in California as well, as the state legislature and the governor try to staunch the budgetary bleeding. Yesterday, a Republican leader declared budget negotiations with the Republican governor "dead" after an apparently hostile meeting, according to the Sacramento Bee. The problem? The Republicans won't talk about any budget that involves tax increases or that doesn't involve drastic spending cuts. So, they won't talk at all.

The editorial board of the Sacramento Bee likens the Republican actions to a giant game of chicken, the loser of which will most certainly be the state and its people. That doesn't seem to matter to the Republican legislators. All that matters is their agenda, whatever that is, beyond no taxes and no public services. In its lead editorial today, the Bee points to the deadly recalcitrance of the GOP and why they seem to be getting away with it.

...Republican votes are needed to fix the budget because of the state's two-thirds vote rule.

Also well known is the fact that some form of revenue increases – through taxes or other means – will be needed to help close the budget gap, which could grow to $41.8 billion by July 2010.

Yet instead of drilling down on what form of revenue increases and spending cuts would be least detrimental, and pairing those with policy changes to stimulate the economy, Republicans have issued a must-do list.

Democrats must agree to permanent spending cuts and more than 20 changes to workplace rules, environmental regulations and tax credits before Republicans will even discuss options for new revenues, Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines said Tuesday.

In essence, the GOP is saying: "We are willing to let the state go insolvent and hold up public works bonds if you don't agree to our demands."

In other words, "Let them eat cake."

The sad part is that the very business interests the Republicans are purportedly protecting are going to be just as badly hurt as the other sectors of the state. Without covering the burgeoning shortfall, by February the state could be insolvent and major public works such as highway projects will be stopped dead in their tracks. Yes, workers will be laid off and lose their paychecks, but those contractors will take a big hit as well because they won't get paid either. And those retailers who count on sales will take a big hit because no one will be able to buy anything. The Chamber of Commerce is really going to like that part of the scenario.

Apparently that just doesn't matter to those Republican yahoos.

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Blogger shrimplate said...

Love seeketh only self to please
To bind another to its delight,
It joys in another's loss of ease
and builds a hell in heaven's despite.

Off the top of my head, from William Blake. I may have missed a word or two, but I think it still captures the sort of "love" Republicans have for their fellow Americans.

6:43 PM  

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