February 23rd, 2009


Once more with feeling.

The French philosopher Alain said, "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have." Reading the news that California's Republican Party held the line against passing a state budget that didn't include a massive corporate tax cut and a massive tax hike on their constituency, I can't help but agree. An old idea that has brought the global economy to the edge of the abyss twice in the past century is still ruling pockets of recidivists in the dark corners of our national consciousness.

Republican apparatchiks have once again put forth the notion that regressive taxation, the practice of lessening the tax burden on those most able to pay it, while raising the burden on those least able to pay it, will save their faltering state economy. With stern resolve evident on their grim faces, a parade of Republicans issue thin platitudes about the principle of the act, assuring reporters that they did the right thing when it would surely cost them their careers next election. This despite the acquiescence of the national polis to George Bush's own regressive tax policy over his entire term. The "Bush tax cuts" shifted 95% of America's wealth into the hands of only 1% of its population, and yet he was reelected and governed with a slavish Republican legislature for six years. I don't suspect any California Republicans are in danger of losing their jobs over tax policy because American voters are locked into an ideological stasis that won't allow them to acknowledge an accrual of consequence against the actions from "their" side of the aisle.

So what outcome might we expect from this new/old policy just enacted into California law? Well, as the state is a microcosm of the nation, why don't you look around you at the shambles of our global preeminence. As goes the nation, apparently, so goes California. The very wealthy will hide their portfolios in the financial mazes of large corporations, the middle class will disappear altogether, and the poor will shoulder the increasingly disproportionate burden of keeping the streets swept and the schools open. Eventually the bridges will crumble, the vulnerable will go uncared for and the universities will close. All so that a gaggle of cretins can maintain the shimmering ideological mirage of the wealth and prosperity their old idea has never, ever actually brought to fruition. Not even the incredible concentration of talented scribes in Hollywood could write a happy ending to this bad movie. I only hope California's looming depression won't bleed North and infect my state as well.