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Republicans Save Big Government

Just When Dems Finally Turn on the Great Society: One of new California Governor Jerry Brown’s best ideas for closing the state’s budget gap was abolishing Community Redevelopment Agencies, which currently soak up 12% of property tax revenues and typically spend them on huge, hideous eminent domain projects that benefit big developers (and the pols they then support).  If there’s a failed liberal Great Society idea, this is it. (It was even a failure during the Great Society itself, when it was known as “urban renewal”–such a failure that the anti-LBJ Democratic party platform of 1972 criticized it.)

Democrats in the State Assembly actually voted against the Community Redevelopment ”secret governments,” as Steven Greenhut calls them. But Brown needed a 2/3 vote. He didn’t get it, because all but one of the Assembly’s 27 Republicans either voted to preserve the CRAs or failed to vote at all. Greenhut was not amused.

  • Murgatroyd

    Perhaps they came to recognize it as a monster, and wanted to do the right thing by getting rid of it?

    The Democrats not only created this monster, they’ve been feeding it and telling us how great it is for more than half a century. So now suddenly they tell the Republicans it has to be killed? Just in time to prevent the monster from being harnessed by Republicans for their own nefarious ends (e.g., a ridiculous, and ridiculously expensive, downtown football stadium for San Diego). The Democrats are right — finally! — but if I were a Republican I’d be suspicious.

    Why didn’t the Democratic politicians notice any sooner than this that the monster needed to be killed? And next year will the Democrats just as suddenly vilify the Republicans for murdering this wonderful, useful, successful program?

    How do the Republicans reconcile continuing to support the existence of this monster? Madness.

    Well, “continuing to support” in some cases simply meant not voting at all … What, the Republicans are frogs who have to jusp when the Democrats tell them to? Sounds to me like one side of the aisle didn’t do very much to cultivate cooperation with the other side of the aisle. Maybe if the Democrats try again, with little bit of traditional “what’s in it for me?” politicking, they’ll get further next time. Fifty years of Republicans expecting Democrats to do the right thing just because it was the right thing to do has gotten them nowhere, so why should the Democrats expect to be successful with that approach?

    While we’re at it, how do the national Democrats continue to support these programs? Hey, look at the how the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Kelo v. City of New London. Which Justices stuck it to the Kelo family and expanded the government’s powers of eminent domain to the point of absurdity? Which ones decided that “public benefit” was exactly the same thing as “public use”? Hint: It wasn’t the Eeeeevilll Conservatives.

    Both parties have been stupid and evil. The mix varies occasionally, but you can’t pin the blame on just one side.

    • randomerror95

      Point is, we’re in a fiscal crisis. It’s not that it’s not understandable why the Republicans did this – for political reasons, and out of spite – but it’s a really bad move for our state.

      If you read the last part of my post, you’ll notice that I apportion blame to both parties. The nature of budgetary negotiations in California is such that either side has the power to screw the other (if it sticks together), due to the 2/3 requirement. For a variety of reasons, this is exactly what happens, every year. The politicians screw each other for short-term political gain, and the taxpayers get hosed year after year, as our budget goes deeper in the red and our bond yields go up.

      We need a new Constitution in California or we are doomed.

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  • Murgatroyd

    Greenhut makes some good points:

    * The Republicans are stupid. Yes, they are. So are Democrats, but in this case we’re examining the stupid actions of stupid Republicans.

    * Republicans are the henchmen of Big Business. Yup, just as California Democrats are the mindless minions of Big Labor.

    * The truth is California Republicans do not believe in limited government. Yup.

    But add to those points a few more reasons that this outcome was entirely predictable:

    * Why should the Republicans cooperate? Centrist “Kennedy Republican” Arnold Schwarzenegger repeatedly tried to work with the Democrats and got kicked in the teeth for his efforts. Payback is a bitch, ain’t it?

    * Most of the Assemblycritters probably hadn’t studied — or even thought about — the issue. It was easy to be reflexive: “If they’re for it, I’m agin’ it!”

    * Democrats own California government. If the state tanks on their watch, it’ll be easy for the public to pin the blame on them. If you believe the state will go down the tubes no matter what, then why appear to cooperate with the people who are in charge of the failure? Why not just watch from the sidelines? “The worse, the better, comrades!”

    Stupid, kind of evil, but understandable … and maybe even good politics. And more or less what the Democrats did when a Republican governor was in charge.

    • Apolitical Blues

      Excellent analysis. Assuming the California CRA got its start under Democratic rule, how do they now reconcile the vilification of the GOP for opposing the destruction of the very monster they created?

    • randomerror95

      Stupid, kind of evil, but understandable…

      I agree, but what a disservice to their constituents.

      Assuming the California CRA got its start under Democratic rule, how do they now reconcile the vilification of the GOP for opposing the destruction of the very monster they created?

      Perhaps they came to recognize it as a monster, and wanted to do the right thing by getting rid of it? How do the Republicans reconcile continuing to support the existence of this monster? Madness.

      The heinous budgetary politics of California are going to destroy our state. Republicans stuck it to Gray Davis, Democrats stuck it to Arnold (some Republicans, too, who didn’t like his deal-making), and now Republicans are back to sticking it to Brown. Given the massive fiscal crises of the last several years, the failure of both parties to put aside short-term political gains for actually making deals on our budget is inexcusable.