June 24, 2010

So I see this video of Utah GOP Senate candidate Mike Lee telling the Salt Lake Tribune that he basically believes the taxpayers should be on the hook for cleaning up the BP oil spill. What can you say to this weird but consistently Republican attitude that the free market means never having to pay when you've f&%#ed up? Think Progress has the whole exchange.

But then I read this article about the dire economic condition of my home state. You know, the eighth largest economy in the whole world. And we're bankrupt.

It’s a story that’s being repeated all across California – and throughout the United States – as cash-strapped state and local governments grapple with collapsed tax revenues and swelling budget gaps. Mass layoffs, slashed health and welfare services, closed parks, crumbling superhighways and ever-larger public school class sizes are all part of the new normal.

California’s fiscal hole is now so large that the state would have to liberate 168,000 prison inmates and permanently shutter 240 university and community college campuses to balance its budget in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Think of California as Greece on the Pacific: bankrupt and desperately needing a bailout.

Another flipping bailout. And then it hit me. You know who the ultimate Welfare Queens are? They're not those fictional mamas living high on the hog and driving Cadillacs as Ronnie Raygun insisted and Sharron Angle sneers at.

The true Welfare Queens are the Republican Party.

They don't worry about income, fetishizing tax cuts beyond all reason, yet they spend like drunken sailors. Then when they find themselves (and the state or country) completely destitute and hurting, do they consider raising taxes to pay for their rampant spending? Of course not. They want to be bailed out.

California actually institutionalized this kind of Welfare Queen attitude, thanks to Republicans like Howard Jarvis's Prop 13 and the California Consititution's requirement that any budget item or proposed tax increase must get a near impossible 2/3 vote of the entire state legislature. So now there's literally no way to get the tax increases other than the Governor holding his hand out to the Feds.

So the next time you see overly-entitled Republicans saying that the taxpayers should be bailing them out, call them what they are: Welfare Queens.

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