Budget crisis upside: vindication of critiques of state Democrats

Sept. 14, 2012

By Chris Reed

The budget battles of the past few years may have been aggravating, but they have also been full of moments of vindication for conservatives and libertarians who have long watched Sacramento operate with fury and disbelief.

The 2009 special elections confirmed that even a state that is seen as strongly Democratic doesn’t believe the state is well run or that higher taxes can be justified.

The fast-building anger over extreme pensions and compensation practices may have been partly triggered by an outlier — the amazing misconduct in the small Los Angeles County city of Bell — but it culminated in pension reform legislation this week that may be disappointing but is far better than anything one could conceive of the Legislature backing just a year ago.

The idea that teachers stand for social justice has been demolished by a series of outrages, most deliciously the ACLU lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified over seniority policies that that devastated schools in poor minority communities.

This week comes one more example that Democrats care more about protecting the middle-class perks of union members than society’s neediest people. As The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday, the disabled have figured out Gov. Jerry Brown doesn’t care much about them. He’d rather cut their programs than demand a true salary freeze of state employees or more efficiency in many bloated state programs.

Unfortunately, even as California Democrats become a more and more discredited bunch, they keep on winning legislative elections. But at least the propositions offer frequent reminders that voters aren’t as loony or doctrinaire as the people they elect.


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