Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy,
Is Jerry Brown really going to go to the voters with an all-cuts budget? Is he really going to roll the dice that they’ll pass needed new taxes? This is really scary!
–Hopeless in Hopland

Dear Hopeless,

You gotta love Jerry Brown.

Sure, he may be facing a Legislature that makes the Hatfields and McCoys look like a hippy commune, battling over the kind of budget crunch that’s likely to snap the arm off of any politician who tries to reach under the hood to fix it.

But still he waltzes into town dressed like a Sopranos character, apartment shopping with all the gusto of a young professional who just got his first four-digit paycheck.

Dressed in his jogging sweats he took a look at 1530 J and liked what he saw. You watch, that means he’ll walk right across Capitol Park to work on his first day in office. All the photographers will be there to grab the shot, and they’ll be huffing and puffing to keep up with this swaggering septuagenarian.

And he just promised a budget in 69 days (snicker snicker). His eyebrows may say Methuselah, but his attitude is pure Justin Bieber (not that I actually know who that is).

Yep, that seems to be what the press is focused on, the lifestyles of the rich and gubernatorial. Of course, that’s what the press has focused on for much of the last seven years, and result has pretty much been plagues and locusts. If we get to raining frogs, we could at least call it drought relief.

And it’s not really Brown you wanted to talk about. It’s the voters, and your lack of faith in them.

And you’ve got a point. Here’s my scenario for what is likely to happen next: Brown puts forward a plan that mainly dings the very rich, but just enough of the voting public is too stupid to get what’s at stake. Big money buries the whole thing in a moist pile of lies.

It’s a lie that you can smack sense into anyone. When the going gets tough, most people turn to comforting solutions. Tax cuts for the rich may not make sense if you’re thinking in terms of sound fiscal policy. But psychologically speaking, they’re the public policy equivalent of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, a comfy couch and a Lifetime Original Movie all rolled into one.

Terrible budget cuts will follow, disabled children will wander the streets in feral packs. The voters will still be demanding that the problem get fixed by finding waste, fraud and abuse that mostly doesn’t exist, and right wingers will talk about how all of this somehow proves that government doesn’t work.

It’s the Wal-Martization of California politics. Soon we’ll have a banana to go with our Republic.

Time to make a smoothie – with some JWR.

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