Emergent Mythology

Emergent Democracy advocate Mitch Ratcliffe explains his objection to the Davis recall in an effort to deal with my claim that the recall was in fact a model of democratic action:

There’s nothing wrong with recalls or the initiative process in a widely informed society. When there are very few sources of news and they militate with political groups to elect someone who reads scripts but doesn’t speak extemporaneously, they leave something to be desired.

So Arnie is another moron, like that Bush fellow who stole the 2000 election from that smart Gore fellow, and the voters are uninformed owing to our paucity of news sources, which today include just about every news outlet on the planet, and the blogs, etc. Fine. Now what would we ignorant citizens know if we were as well-informed as the Emergent Davis boosters? This:

…the budget crisis is the result of Pete Wilson’s misguided energy deregulation policies and collusion by the Bush Administration with the energy industy, not to mention the Bush Administration’s general failure in domestic policy leading to the bankrupting of the states

Now to Ratcliffe’s credit, he didn’t make this up; rather, he’s citing a well-traveled meme that you can find on any number of far-left blogs, news organs, and talk radio shows. The only trouble with it is that it’s complete crap. The State of California did sign $8B in long-term electricity contracts after Davis finally stepped in and tried to deal with the rolling blackouts of 2001. But these contracts were financed by bonds to be paid off my utility rate-payers. So when the legislature dealt with a $38B budget deficit, these bonds weren’t part of it – they’re off the books.

So yeah, if Ratcliffe were “informed” he probably wouldn’t have voted for Davis as he did, and if everyone were informed, it would have passed by acclamation.

On his other point, I haven’t noticed any states going bankrupt. California’s budget deficit exceeded the total deficits of all other states, and you clearly can’t blame that on Bush. Unless you’re “uninformed”, of course.

5 thoughts on “Emergent Mythology”

  1. But more to the point…where did you find your information supporting your rebuttal about Davis’ energy financing ?

    “But these contracts were financed by bonds to be paid off my utility rate-payers. So when the legislature dealt with a $38B budget deficit, these bonds weren’t part of it – they’re off the books.”

    In other words, how are _you_ informed ?
    I’m asking not because I’m picking a fight, I’m asking because I honestly want to know.

  2. Richard — Forget it, I’m not even going to try to deal with the irreality field you live in. I’m not on the far left; I am a centrist and only look like I am at the far left because you live in a far-right hallucinatory state.

    According to the National Association of Nonprofit Associations, the “states are suffering their worst fiscal crisis since World War II. Contrary to popular belief, the state fiscal crisis is not caused by state overspending. Rather, it is caused by structural problems in the states? tax systems, and those problems are exacerbated by the slowing economy.?Unfortunately, the crisis is not expected to diminish for another few years.”

    In my state, Washington, we’re looking at a record deficit that, in terms of a proportiion of the state budget outstrips that of California.

    Here’s the governor of Arizona on the situation there: “I see both sides of Arizona, and my goal is simple: We must ensure that prosperity wins over desperation and becomes the norm for all Arizonans. And to do this, we must come back together as one, united in the knowledge that we need each other, and bound by our commitment to each other.

    “My friends, we are all in this together.

    “We must lift this state out of its budget crisis without sacrificing education and the long-term future of Arizona.”

    If you search the National Governors Association site, you will find that 17 governors mentioned their state’s “budget crisis” in their 2003 state of the state speeches.

    The NGA also says that the nationwide state budget crisis is impacting everything from prisons to education and health care.

    Richard, are you blind, deaf and stupid? A little less attack mentality would do you a world of good, but as long as you’re dishing it out, take what you serve up. Back to reality, where we have some real problems to deal with that the election of an actor or the mangled logic of the Bush Administration are never going to solve.

  3. Sty, I can’t give you a single source for the facts on the utility bond and the state budget, because I’ve read that in at least a dozen places. I don’t imagine it would be hard to find a specific story on the SF Chronicle web site on it, and their archives are free.

    Mitch, I see you’re steering clear of this whole question of the relationship of the deregulation that the legislature passed unanimously and the current-year budget problems. I’ll take this as a concession on your part that I’m right and you’re wrong.

    As to the overall state of the economy and how that relates to state budgets generally, I don’t dispute that tax revenues are down in most states and therefore deficits have developed. In California, however, if one excepts the Bubble Year (2000), there has been a steady increase in tax revenues year-to-year as far back as the eye can see. The problem is that Davis and the Legislature increased spending faster than revenues post-2000 could keep up. In Davis’ case, he swore he wouldn’t do this, but he went along with his special interest friends anyway. The Prison Guards, for example, got a 35% pay increase and now make nearly twice as much as teachers. It’s that sort of thing that got Davis recalled, not an “uninformed” electorate, Pete Wilson’s energy plan, or George Bush’s economy.

    How many other governors have you seen biting the dust lately?

  4. Hm…sorry to get in the middle of the fascinating exchange you’re having here, but Richard…you’re not implying that teachers should be paid more than prison guards, are you ? I assume not, since you think they make too much already.

    some points about spending…in Davis’ 1st term, spending growth increased 35%, in his 2nd term, it decreased 9%. compared to past governors:

    Jerry Brown 1st term: 95% (because of Prop. 13)
    Reagan 2nd term: 72%
    Reagan 1st term: 61%
    Pat Brown 2nd term: 60%
    Pat Brown 1st term: 51%
    Deukmejian 1st term: 45%
    Deukmejian 2nd term: 28%
    Wilson 2nd term: 38%
    Jerry Brown 2nd term: 34%

    my source for this info is:

    something also to note is that Davis’ 1st budget had 34 Republican votes. They all must’ve been out of their minds, I guess.

    But I digress, and I’ll come back to my other point, which has not yet been refuted, and in almost agreement with Mitch’s point:

    the sources and amount of information needed for a society to make _really_ informed decisions are not being relied upon….the majority of voters are swung by media….whose opinions are biased and strong, no matter what channel you’re on.

    and if you think that people should be getting their information and ‘news’ from blogs…then you’re out of your mind.

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