Editorial cheerleads for Jerry Brown

Sept. 9, 2012

Katy Grimes: Two editorials in the Sacramento Bee caught my eye on Sunday. One column identified how news media outlets have knowingly become cheerleaders for the Democratic Party; the other proved that.

Columnist Kathleen Parker observed that major news media heads “correctly imagined themselves as co-players at the Democratic convention. No one pretends anymore that MSNBC is an objective observer to the news,” she wrote. “Obviously, the decision was made to be aggressively progressive.”

Enter the Sacramento Bee, stage left.

Senior Editor, Dan Morain, wrote an editorial Sunday about Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent visit to the editorial board to sell his tax increase initiative on the November ballot. “No matter how liberal they are, politicians who think they have a bright future generally don’t wrap themselves around tax hike proposals,” Morain said, apologizing for Brown.

But Morain made an egregious error when he said, “The alternative would be ugly, $6 billion in cuts mostly to public schools and universities,”  instead of asking why all government spending isn’t on the table.

Morain committed what Parker referred to as “cheerleading.”

Morain neglected to ask why Brown and Democrats have not proposed cuts to all government, but especially California’s massive entitlement system. Instead, Brown and Democrats have threatened voters and taxpayers with cuts to working people, cuts to the services paid for by those who work, and cuts to public safety and education.

This is a calculated decision, not an alternative.

Morain also said, “This initiative wasn’t his first choice. But it’s the one that he thinks voters will accept.”

But Morain is wrong. When Brown originally drafted his tax initiative, the sales tax increase was higher, and the tax rates on top earners was lower. But the public employee unions put enormous pressure on Brown to change his tax plan to penalize higher income earners more.

“Don’t trust anything Brown says about taxes,” one of my political friends says. “He’s a political animal with a political agenda. The entrenched special interests run him and run this state.”

“No longer do we get what we pay for, as the adage goes,” Parker said. “We get what the activists want – and we all pay for it.”

Jerry Brown is obviously a likable guy, and probably fun at an editorial board meeting. But the Senior Editor of a major newspaper should have asked why it was a given that the “only alternative” to tax increases is cuts to public safety workers, and education.

It’s not a tough question, but maybe the answer is.

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