Friday, July 20, 2007

Get Out of that Wheelchair!

California's state capitol has never been known for its flowering genius, but the legislature is even dumber than usual this year. The Republicans are holding the budget hostage as usual, being totally devoid of ideas other than making govmint spend less money. There's the usual collection of demanded cuts for the poor, the sick, the disabled, and the insane. There's also cuts in lots of things that could be considered investments, which militant capitalists like Southern Cal Republican Assemblypeople are supposed to love. They want to cut:
  • drug treatment programs for prisoners
  • "$1 billion away from mass transit, forcing Los Angeles to put off plans for extending parts of the Expo light rail line and widening some freeways" (LA Times story).
  • widening Interstate 5 at the big bottleneck on the Orange County/L.A. County line
  • complete the gap in carpool lanes on the 10 Freeway in the eastern San Gabriel Valley
  • $124 million in welfare payments to the elderly and disabled
Only the last could be considered basic maintenance (at minimally decent levels). The rest are not programs for the supposedly undeserving poor, but investments in transportation improvements that will keep the driving middle-classes from wasting millions of hours they are losing now. Same with drug treatment for prisoners, which would massively lower recidivism rates, save the state money on its self-destructive new prison-building binge, and improve thousands of lives.

But no. These representatives of their beloved middle class are too dumb to help even their own class. Forget about helping any others.

Except for Hollywood: the compromise "includes multimillion-dollar tax breaks for the film industry and other businesses."

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