Reprinted from HermannView (blog)
Recently, Jerry Brown, the governor of California is cutting $1 billion in welfare in an effort to "save money." The Sacremento Bee reported that Governor Brown's proposed budget would slash "nearly $1.4 billion in welfare and child care aid for the poor while holding voters liable for $5 billion in education funding with a November tax measure." (http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/01/brown-budget-cuts-1-billion-from-welfare.html) The Bee writes that the Governor "estimates the state faces a $9.2 billion general fund deficit through June 2013, which he proposes to bridge with mostly cuts and taxes. Brown will ask voters to pass a $6.9 billion ballot measure in November that raises taxes on sales and income starting with single filers earning $250,000 a year. The taxes would last through 2016." This proposal concerns me deeply. First, $1.4 billion will be cut in welfare, hurting those that are already suffering in the State. Remember that 49 million were estimated by the Census as being in poverty, as its evident that it's much higher. The blog Sweet and Sour Socialism writes that "The New York Times...declared the number living in poverty to be 100 million, or one in every three people in the U.S....the Associated Press...found that 150 million — meaning nearly one out of every two people — were either poor or “near poor.” Near poor means struggling to pay bills." (http://sweetandsoursocialism.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/half-of-u-s-poor-karl-marx-was-right-gap-grows-between-99-and-1-workers-world/)
Now, onto the other proposals in the budget. Raising taxes on those with more than $250,000 is a good advancement, but the taxes don't even begin for a year and such taxes are only in effect for three years. In addition, sales taxes will rise for everyone. In his budget summary, the Governor confirms these facts: "The budget I am submitting today keeps the cuts made last year and adds new ones. The stark truth is without some new taxes, damaging cuts to schools, universities, public safety and the courts will only increase...I ask voters to approve a temporary tax increase on the wealthy, a modest and temporary increase in sales tax and to guarantee that the new revenues be spent on education...this ballot measure does not solve all of our fiscal problems...it improves government efficiency and pays down debt. It reorganizes state government...by consolidating or elimating functions...restructures social services...gives more flexibility to local school districts...assure[s] a reliable water supply, [construction of] high speed rail and reduc[tion] of greenhouse gas emissions." I am concerned with the reduction of bureaucracy included in this budget. The cuts in welfare reminds me of the supposed "welfare reform" passed by Congress in 1996 (and pushed by Bill Clinton). According to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States: "In the summer of 1996 (apparently seeking the support of "centrist" voters for the coming election), Clinton signed a law to end the federal government's guarantee, created under the New Deal, of financial help to poor families with dependent children. This was called "welfare reform," and the law itself had the deceptive tide of "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996." Its aim was to force poor families receiving federal cash benefits (many of them single mothers with children) to go to work, by cutting off their benefits after two years, limiting lifetime benefits to five years, and allowing people without children to get food stamps for only three months in any three-year period." (http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinnclicri23.html)
Getting back to the budget, the Governor plans to cut bureaucracy. He further elaborates that he will "shrink state government...by reducing the state workforce by 15,000 positions and eliminating 20 boards, commissions, task offices, and departments." This is reminiscant to President Clinton's push against "Big Government." It ended up just benefiting the rich and not the common man, on of the reasons for the second Great Depression we are in right now.
By Burkely Hermann
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