California Budget Deficiency

February 20, 2009

At last, after a prolonged melodramatic stunt by lawmakers the California state budget concluded as a major achievement!

The review of the proposed budget appears to be nothing but analogous to a dish prepared for starved patrons by reluctant chefs deliberately ignoring the recipe provided to them while using the ingredients to serve themselves their own favorite dish.

Does this come as a surprise?

Not in this era of special interests and politicians cozying with one another on the maxim “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

The worst victims of this fundamental fiscal policy are the children and students, the future taxpayers of this economy.

Does this bother any of those advocates involved in merciless slashing of funds to K-12 and college education?

If it did, they would not have propagated such ideology and as for those to allow this to happen simply suggests their complicity to this charade.

Perhaps, the concerned policymakers could not arrive at a decision to balance the budget up until twenty-four hours ago because they were too busy devising a plan to keep them in power and protecting their own families with children attending private schools or schools not hit by severe funding cuts.

What about them targeting social welfare programs affecting the elderly, sick, disabled, unemployed, veterans and other dependents?

Should we assume the lawmakers could not relate to this segment of the population because fortunately for them they do not have or know anyone in vulnerable position, hence the end justifies the means.

The defenders of the disproportionate funding to the criminal justice system in the budget safeguard their interests at the expense of kids kicked off the welfare and students struggling to meet college expense with some winding up in the overcrowded prison system thus making the so-called reformers’ jobs secure.

That’s why these beneficiaries of dysfunctional democracies display their titles and flex muscles to quell dissent by alienating citizens of diverse background during any crisis.

They conveniently forget the fact that people of ethnic origin are also part of the society making significant contributions in every aspect particularly as taxpayers and their role is not limited to being the benefactors and lately campaign donors as well as volunteers during elections and beyond.

Ironically, legislators have successfully defended corporations by granting them generous leeway as they realize that corporations’ profit will serve the lawmakers during election campaign through donations and ordinary citizens whose votes ultimately grant them power are left to fend for themselves in the tough economic times.

As stated earlier on several occasions, the democratic system essentially run by corporations and the power brokers at the state and federal level prioritizing self- interest over national interest and the electorate forced to be accustomed to this general trend.

Who are the real beneficiaries in this budget?

It is certainly not the disadvantaged and bereft population in requirement of present government assistance to enable them to be future providers of the economy. The other interesting factor in both state and federal dramatic unfolding of legislative approvals is spot the lame duck in this game.

During the captivating rule of the previous administration, the former President George W. Bush mischaracterized as the lame duck, though the majority Democrats would have appropriately fit the profile due to unprecedented use of vetoes exercised by the then Chief Executive at the White House on most issues regarded detrimental to the subjects of the kingdom.

One would assume that gaining majority rule in both houses and the executive branch at both state and federal government is a guaranteed victory in legislative matters. It remains a wishful thinking for one while the other regardless of status quo prevails in failed ideology against pragmatism.

Therefore, the lame duck in the game is none other than the electorate at the bottom of the socio-economic scale and the weak representatives lacking courage to fight for the cause and the purpose of their election to power in a democracy.

In essence, ballots cast by ordinary citizens elevate individuals to power and these elected officials preoccupy in strengthening their own position in office with political bargains even if similar measures overrides the promises on the campaign trail.

Either way, the victims are invariably the electorate granting authority to ambitious political minds often negotiating constituent’s future for personal gains.

Is there a hope to break the chain link for ordinary citizens in a democracy?

Impossible is written in fool’s dictionary." In any active democracy, the people possess power to ensure fulfillment of electoral commitments by political leaders favoring the electorate and not any special interests or themselves.

Unfortunately, in this budget decision the stalemate was unnecessary as it was with the passing of the federal economic stimulus package. Whenever a minority poses a threat to majority on genuine solutions to problems created by failed policies, it is red alert for electorate to eliminate blockades through elections confirming the power and strength of democracy.

How does the budget impact the ordinary electorate living paycheck to paycheck and families dependent on social programs and public school education?

With deep cuts in education including hikes in college tuition fees and social programs, the average Californians penalized with tax increase via sales tax, vehicle license fee and reduction of dependent benefits from $300 to $100.

The thoughtful policymakers in return decided to redirect the hard fought funding to Corporations via undue credits and maintenance of horse race grounds over education and other essential social services.

Diversion of spending cuts from future taxpayers to benefit self serving interest groups definitely speaks volume on priorities by fiscal conservatives.

Not all those vehemently opposed to socialism are entirely objectionable to redistribution of wealth as long as the recipients are their own kind focused on wealth amassment at the expense of struggling majority.

In fact, voter rejection of two-thirds majority approval in state and federal legislative matters will permanently remove gridlocks in a democratic process besides successfully replacing any need for Open Primaries in the state elections.

It is time for the worst affected groups in the current budget proposal to coalesce and act decisively against willful negligence of issues ranging from education, social programs, environment, and energy… by elected representatives especially with options available to balance the budget.

We sure have a budget to justify the role of government despite the huge deficiency and failure to address the needs of the distressed population.

Democracy best served when the governments of the people run by the people and for the people.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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