Over the weekend, California Republican Senators were given some homework – since they couldn’t stop voting “No” on a compromise budget plan approved by Democrats and Republicans in the Assembly, the Senate Republicans had to come up with their own budget plan. In a lucky coincidence, President Bush had a colonoscopy on Monday, and doctors apparently found the Republican budget plan lodged somewhere in the First Colon.
How else can we explain where this GOP budget came from? The Republican proposal would leave tens of thousands of poor people to die, would end several environmental protection laws (??), and would close down several University of California institutes. And that’s just what they made public. Apparently there’s even more draconian and unnecessary spending cuts they’re holding back for some reason. Maybe the rest of the spending cuts are still stuck up Bush’s… colon.
OK, all kidding aside — I don’t want to be accused of just slinging mud, so let’s take a closer look at the main parts of the GOP budget proposal.
In all, the Republican proposal in the Senate would cut more than one billion dollars – and that’s on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars already cut from the budget in the bipartisan proposal worked out in the Assembly. Why such drastic cuts? Senate Republicans believe that the budget must be balanced, so that we no longer have an operating deficit. I’m all for balanced budgets, but I think keeping children from becoming homeless might be more important than a well-manicured financial report.
The lynchpin of the Republican budget is a slash of poverty relief. $324 million dollars would be taken away from a program that gives cash grants to families who are having trouble making rent. The Republican cut would end up putting thousands of young children out on the streets. Obviously, a cut of this magnitude is a total non-starter. No one is this heartless.
Another part of the GOP plan would shut down several University of California research institutes. The plan would close a UC school in Mexico, an institute for labor studies, and even the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. These higher learning programs are essential to preparing a California workforce ready for the global economy, and to generating crucial knowledge about global climate change. It’s inexplicable why Republicans would act to harm California’s economy and risk our future by cutting higher education – particularly at a time when we’re in competition for the best and brightest minds from around the world.
It was also surprising to see a rollback in environmental protections somehow attached to this GOP budget proposal. Republican Senators are threatening to block any budget from passing unless the California Environmental Quality Act is repealed. This seems to have nothing to do with the budget, unless you count the GOP’s connection to special interest, polluting companies that want the regulations removed. This is an example of politics at its worst.
All in all, I think the Republicans should take this budget and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. After all, that’s apparently where it came from.