California Status Quo under Republican leadership

February 5, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Courtesy extended to enlighten the ignorant and the oblivious presenters representing the selective news media.

California economic and social calamity is falsely attributed to the “liberals” in the state by the illusionists in the magic kingdom.

Therefore, it’s important to dispel the myth and introduce sanity in the political discourse.

Being compelled by civic duty to lay facts against fiction – pervasive with respect to the California state affairs, the following data is presented for accuracy.

Fact Check: Source –
– Thank you.

The current governor is Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who was elected on October 7, 2003.
He was reelected on November 7, 2006.

His current term will expire on January 3, 2011.

The Governor of California is the highest executive authority in the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual “State of the State” addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced.

*The Executive Budget – The governor has the final responsibility for preparing and submitting to the legislature an annual budget containing most of anticipated state income and expenditures.

The final budget requires a two-thirds approval of the legislature.

* The Veto – The governor has the option to veto a bill within 12 days after being received from the California State Legislature. The Legislature can override a veto by a two-thirds majority vote in both the Assembly and the Senate. The governor may exercise a line-item veto, rejecting individual items in any appropriations bill.
A Californian Perspective – By Padmini Arhant

Regarding “The final budget requires a two-thirds approval of the legislature”The Republican minority have successfully derailed legislation proposal to revive the state economy resulting in an embarrassing prolonged budget crisis.

Californians’ interest on every issue ranging from job creation, education, health care, energy to environment has been rejected by the Republican members due to the pesky ‘two-third’ legislature approval.

The republican minority in the State of California emulates their counterparts in Capitol Hill and takes enormous pride in the California Status quo, i.e. successive budget deficits with no revenue based on ideological stance against tax increases on wealthy corporations and individuals.

Furthermore, the republican fiscal policy dictated by the doctrine:

“Ready my lips, No New Taxes.” That cost the former President George H.W. Bush his second term – is the formula widely used with the draconian cuts affecting the large consumer population from the younger to the older citizens in the state and across the nation.

In the absence of pragmatic approach to the burgeoning economic crisis,

The “Golden State,” is now a bankrupt state under Republican leadership with a state deficit at a staggering $19.9 billion and still bleeding because of the dominant Republican ideology in the State Assembly and legislature akin to the republican representatives’ performance in the United States Congress.

California has been under Republican duress regardless of the party ratio. The State Treasury is forced to issue I.O.U’s to creditors and furloughs (mandatory reduction in working hours) to the state employees in the year 2009 and 2010.

In addition, California being the eighth largest economies in the world is governed by clueless Republican leadership determined to drive the state economy over the cliff with the Republican candidates vying for the governor position to exacerbate the crisis, otherwise to accomplish the task.

Similarly, the Republican candidate – the Hewlett Packard former CEO, Carly Fiorina competing for the U.S. Senate against the incumbent – Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer, is conspicuously avoiding the public furor over the massive layoffs carried out under her management, reportedly leading the company to the brink of insolvency.

Conservative media and press is aggressively engaged in camouflaging Republican leadership and the minority representatives’ flaws by denigrating the democratic majority in California, dealing with a similar dilemma experienced by the fellow democrats in the Capitol Hill.

With democracy undermined during the national and state elections and expected to worsen with the Supreme Court conservative justices’ decision, it’s necessary for the Californians and the rest of the nation to be discerning in the media propaganda targeting the captive audience and concerned citizens.

Democracy is meaningful with citizens’ participation in the information process to counteract the widespread rumors, distortions and fear mongering tactics applied to evade responsibility in various discipline – predominantly by the controversial news media anchors/talk show hosts and last but not the least the selective legislators as the elected representatives.

Citizen reaction and involvement is the effective means to bring about the ‘Change,’ desperately required in the state and national politics.

Reality being – the political decisions or the lack thereof determine the ‘average’ citizens present and future.

So, please remain alert and exercise your democratic rights by calling your representatives to perform their duties for which they were elected to the public office.

Democracy thrives with the well-informed electorate.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

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

Balancing California Budget

February 12, 2009

The golden state is in deep economic crisis, sharing the status quo of the nation.

As per – California would have the 7th highest GDP in the world if thought of as a country (not including the US as a whole, if so, it would be 8th).

A great state like California being the epicenter for – besides earthquakes,


Biotech and stem cell research

Entertainment symbolized by Hollywood

Diverse talent and skill pool making outstanding contributions in various fields.

Yet, the fundamental responsibility of the state government to balance the budget postponed indefinitely due to partisan politics with Republican minority misusing the two-third majority approval against the incumbent Democrats in the legislature.

As a result, the taxpayers of the economy are abandoned and the entire population is at the mercy of the minority rule upholding the conventional ideology against contemporary wisdom.

It is Déjà Vu for those following the federal government struggle to get the economic stimulus bill approved by both Houses of Congress.

The dilemma of balancing the budget with the political parties’ resistance to compromise is a daunting task for any administration. It is beyond comprehension that failed policies and inconvenient principles continue to dominate the center stage at both state and federal level in legislative matters.

California budget deficit currently at $42 billion with unemployment skyrocketing to 9.3% and expected to worsen by the year-end;

Clearly, the economic recession is widespread and taken severe toll on the present and future taxpayers of the economy.

How does the state reduce the budget deficit of $42 billion?

Generally, the options would be exploring ways to generate revenues and cutting costs proven liabilities with no income or other benefits to the taxpayers of the economy.


How does the state generate revenues?

Usually, the government revenue sources are taxes paid by individuals and Corporations.

They are in the form of income tax, estate tax, corporate tax, payroll tax, sales tax, customs and excise duty on export and import items as well as fees and charges for any government provided services. If the state has other assets in the form of government bonds and treasury bills, they comprise negotiable instruments to borrow money.

In addition, the government could potentially expect income from investments in industries via quasi contracts, state run institutions, sale and/or leasing of government land to private sectors and trade goods and services with neighboring states or foreign governments. Some states find ways and means to share natural resources with their neighbors within and outside the nation for income.

Then, a federal aid to boost social services, health and educational programs is other channel for financial assistance.

Obviously tax increases is the common strategy for meeting budget shortfall. If income and aid are available from stated sources, then funding expenses is affordable.
Spending or Costs Elimination:

In this category, the lawmakers vehemently opposed to tax increases propose massive cutbacks and reduction in spending by a sweeping shutdown of essential services and programs with dire consequences in the long term.

Ironically, investment in education, health, housing, energy and environment are easy targets as “wasteful spending” for legislators in opposition to tax hikes during budget crisis. Those policy makers fail to understand the importance of protecting and nurturing the beneficiaries of these programs as they contribute to the economy today and tomorrow as taxpayers.

Lately, legislators have taken a swipe at education or investment in public school systems at both state and federal levels. It is tragic that such measures are even contemplated leave alone legislated in the industrialized and advanced nation that should be leading the world in K-12 educational program.

The public school system in the State of California and across the nation is in shambles. The infrastructure and the general classroom environment are in desperate need of face-lift to improve academic performance by students of all socio economic backgrounds.

Every dollar spent in a child is an investment in future.

Complete overhauling is required in areas like classroom size, materials including new Textbooks, enriched curriculum with emphasis in Math and Science, Music and Arts, Sports facilities, recruitment of qualified teaching staff, Teachers’ salary, training and professional development, new energy efficient buildings regardless of districts and zones in every state.

Undoubtedly, education must be a priority with K-12 system being the foundation for young minds entering the academic world. The reason United States is lagging behind in international standards is due to neglect of our school system particularly the early learning stage (K-12) when the opportunity to help every student thrive is available to educators.

Therefore, the state and the federal government are obligated to enhance achievements in educational programs through investments in the state-of-the-art educational system.

Similarly, health, housing, energy and environment are equally important as the taxpayers benefit from adequate health care, proper housing, affordable energy, clean and safe environment.
Pragmatic Solutions:

The best option to reconcile California budget is to consider both tax increases and costs reduction as suggested by many analysts and experts on this issue.

According to the analysis by San Jose Mercury News, February 8, 2009

Budget spending outpaced inflation and state’s growth.

Interestingly, the social services and K-12 education received proportionately less funding as compared to the extra spending identified in Criminal Justice, health care and filling the gap for the reduced vehicle license fee in the analysis of actual spending in 2007-2008.

First, action is required to identify the revenue sources via tax increases.

1. Marginal increase in Sales Tax of goods and services including the sales on the cyberspace would provide an even tax distribution for the society.

2. Increasing Vehicle License fee for all is necessary to address the massive deficit. In this context, it is important to raise another explosive issue of undocumented workers in California without drivers’ license or vehicle registrations.

Issuing drivers license and allowing all undocumented workers to register their vehicles would not only generate income for the state, it would also strengthen state and national security with the documentation of all residents in the state.

Subsequently, acquiring vehicle insurance by the undocumented workers would minimize the burden on registered owners in addition to stimulating the economy through insurance industry.

At present any vehicle registration or insurance by undocumented workers carried out in a back alley manner depriving the state due proceeds.

3. Target items for tax increase to reduce health care costs such as tobacco, hard liquor products and items subject to possible health abuse.

4. In the establishment of social standards, tax increases on winnings through gambling and advertisement sales of pornography (assumed to be a multibillion dollar industry) is justified to make way for important social services and programs.

5. Review and revise taxation policy for California Corporations hoarding income in tax havens along with their offshore subsidiaries.

6. Airport tax, Port fees, dutiable goods, customs and excise duty are other sources of revenue.

7. Increase tax on entertainment industry to pay for education, kids welfare, community hospitals, colleges and institutions.

8. Specific environmental protection act by levying heavy penalties on environmental pollution (air, land and sea) through negligence such as oil spilling, carbon emissions and violation of aviation standards.

9. Marginal increase in gasoline tax would enable energy efficient programs such as solar, wind and hydro thermal power.

10. Last but not the least, leasing government land to corporations and scientific institutions, university laboratories or airline industry with enforcement of strict environmental regulations, not excluding sale of government assets no longer useful in the short or long run.
Costs Reduction:

Criminal Justice System:

A thorough examination of the Criminal Justice system is necessary from the analysis and news reports.

The State must devise a mechanism to reduce prison population through major social reforms at all levels beginning with the juvenile detention center.

Further, the parole system, three strikes law and other misdemeanor charges reassessed and offenders deployed in monitored community services rather than crowding prisons is the ideal strategy to cutback spending.

Health Care:

Healthy Approach to reducing health care costs –

Medicaid for senior citizens and economically disadvantaged population.

Promoting preventive care with immunizations.

Early diagnosis of diseases through annual or bi-annual medical checkups and

Subsidized prescription drugs through tax incentives to pharmaceutical and bio-tech industry are few possibilities to deal with health care crisis.

Counseling services and Therapy for psychological and other mental health problems as a preliminary screening process to ease the substantial costs in this regard.

General well being encouraged through active life combined with healthy diet in schools and other areas of the community.

Vehicle License Fee backfill – To be reinstated as outlined above.

General Government – Electronic record keeping and updating technology would considerably improve efficiency and prohibit excessive spending in administrative services.

Higher Education – Engagement in community development activities in return for student loans is a progressive cost recovery scheme.

Transportation – Cost savings methods and effective transportation means aimed at conservation of time and energy recommended for this expense.

Resources and environment – Best to follow guidelines suggested above for environment.

All other costs and spending not discussed or highlighted must be carefully reviewed and those proven redundant with no benefit to taxpayers or the State eliminated to reconcile the budget.

Time for Action by California Legislators

Investment in better education and all of the essential services means building future with healthy, responsible and productive citizens as opposed to increasing prison population demanding major diversion of funding to criminal justice system.

There is an urgency to underscore the fact that not all taxpayers necessarily benefit and appreciate the frugal tax savings by preventing tax increases because such action favors the wealthy minority while leaving the majority marginalized in a society.

If the legislators really care for their constituents and the state/nation they pledge to serve, they need to pause and reflect on the realities of depriving majority of the population to decent lifestyle and economic prosperity, the predominant cause of the current sluggish consumer spending.

Often, provision of unemployment and social security benefits, Medicaid, health insurance, food stamps…dismissed as socialized enigma in a Capitalist economy. Unfortunately, a reminder is required that subscribers of these benefits and services ultimately contribute to the success of the capitalist system as consumers of various products and services.

As stated earlier in the blogpost titled Redistribution of Wealth, Oct 31, 2008,

Promoting economic status as highlighted above…

Eventually, create a fair system of sharing the economic burden by all rather than only by the affluent ones.

Such farsighted and permanent solutions are in direct contradiction to the myth and misnomer of the doctrine against short term tax increases essential to combat severe economic recession.

Socialism, Marxism may well be the nemesis to Capitalism,

Capitalism cannot thrive without consumerism – – That is the fact

California budget crisis must be resolved with no further delay.

It is time for legislators to set the priorities right to fit in with the new millennium goals.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant