Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Because Bad Ideas Never Die: Gangster Polticians Edition

Oh, hey! TABOR is back!

The Dems at the statehouse want to do something about this budget crisis we're having in Oregon. Well, not so much the current crisis, but future ones. To do this, they want to end the "kicker" and direct those dollars to a Rainy Day Fund, which is eminently sensible. There's a certain logic to saying "Maybe when we have billions in deficits, we shouldn't be sending tax rebates to people because three guys missed their guess on how much revenue we'd have."

This being Oregon, nothing sensible is allowed to happen. Not only do we have plenty of Republicans who still can't give up the "it's the people's money!They know best what to do with it" bullshit that drives so much of the debate, but we've also managed to pass a law that requires 2/3 of the Legislature to change tax law.

So, in order to enact sensible tax reform, the Dems have to give the Republicans something. What could that something be? Oh, how 'bout that little Measure that we all worked our asses off to kill a few years back?

But in an attempt to build political consensus, the proposed constitutional revision, which would have to go before voters, would offer more.

GOP lawmakers and business interests showed a liking for [the idea] because it proposes to place a threshold on government spending by tying spending increases to population growth and inflation, thereby seeking to prevent state government spending from mushrooming in times of economic boom.

Steve Buckstein of the libertarian Cascade Policy Institute said the spending cap intrigued him because “taxpayers have very few ways of regulating the growth of government.”

Now, I seem to recall being assured that if Measure 48 passed, that would be the end of Oregon as we know it. I guess not. Or maybe so.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Labor makeover?

Labor faces a moment of truth - Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman - POLITICO.com
Many strategists and even some labor officials argue that the genuine passion and emotion being felt and displayed on the ground in Wisconsin is obscuring a central problem: Unions still haven’t figured out even a semblance of an effective PR strategy.
True enuff, as far as it goes -- but how far does it go? To what extent is the problem just the frame, unionistas? There's also the structural problem of state fiscal crises, and the political-cultural problem of ubiquitous deficit hawkery, right?

“Whatever happened to the vague sense 10 years ago of the need to develop a community unionism?” asked another official, who suggested labor leaders on the ground in Wisconsin shouldn’t have been surprised by the Walker attack, yet were clearly caught off guard. “They’ve been talking only to themselves for too long.”