Tuesday I wrote that Republicans were demanding mass layoffs of public employees — during a recession. And they are getting away with it because the state’s corporate-owned media outlets are not explaining to the public what is going on.
The history of how we got to this point of budget stalemate is that Republicans in the legislature have blocked every single budget and gone back on their own Governor and every negotiated compromise, demanding that all budget shortfalls be solved by laying off teachers, construction workers, DMV workers, firefighters, etc. And through the whole process they have refused to offer any plan for the cuts they demand. But this is explained to the voters as a problem caused by “both sides” or “the legislature” or “refusing to work together” or to “reach a compromise” or “pointing fingers.” Some even manage to blame the Democrats for not completely caving in to every single demand! The result is that effective public pressure does not develop to get this solved.
Now, rather than compromise and work with the Democrats and the Governor, they have come up with a new list of demands, on top of their previous demands. And this list is really something:
“Democrats have to capitulate to GOP demands for the 8-hour work day,
meal breaks, looser environmental regulations, permanent budget cuts
and a stiff spending cap, among other things.
Then, and only then, will Republicans come to the table to discuss — but not necessarily agree to — new taxes”
Even if Democrats agree to all of the new demands, then the Republicans demand that we “sell state property!” Note that the entire list of new demands involves more tax cuts for businesses,
revoking labor laws, removing environmental protections, removing
worker and consumer safety regulations, making a very few wealthy
people richer through lower pay for working people, etc. They even want to get rid of meal breaks and overtime pay for employees!
These demands have nothing to do with helping regular Californians get
through the day, they are about making things harder and less safe for
us, just to make a few people ever richer. These stunning new demands have nothing to do with the budget.
is an attempt to apply the 2/3 requirement to remove existing laws that
have been in place for years, agreed to by majority votes of the
Legislature, signed by the Governor, that are now established (and
well-accepted) practices of the state.
In an interesting observation, David Dayen at Calitics asks if these demands possibly violate Section 86 of the California Penal Code. Take a look at his argument.
thing for sure, this is not the time for Democrats to cave in to
extortion like this. This extortion comes because Democrats have
enabled the power to do this by trying to work with the other party to
fairly govern the state and compromising in the face of these tactics
in the past. But these are not negotiations with an opposition that is
interested in governing, so this time Democrats have to put their foot
down and protect Californians and protect our form of government. WE
elected them and WE made them a majority for a reason. WE want our
government to function, not to be hijacked to serve only the interests
of a wealthy few.