It’s the recession, ‘they’ say. Tax revenues are down and the State has no choice but to trim its budget. San Diego’s schools are just going to have to suck it up, tighten their belts and find ways to live with the $90 million in cuts that the Governor’s budget calls for in the coming year. On top of the $200 million that has already been cut over the past two years.
What the hell, ‘they’ say, the State’s proposed budget actually ‘protects education’. The Guvenator said so in his state of the State speech just a couple of weeks ago. ‘They’ say there’s nothing that can be done.
Maybe it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways the State of California can increase revenues. The problem here is that ‘they’ say all those ways are tax increases. And ‘they’ warn us that any of those ways can only lead to increased recession, decreases in employment and more misery for Californians.
Maybe it’s time we took a hard look at who ‘they’ are and what their track record is. Does it strike you that ‘they’ might be the same people who promised the American people prosperity if we’d only remove all those odious rules and regulations from the real estate, banking and financial services industries? I think they are. Why would you want to believe anybody with such a dismal track record when it came to the economy or tax dollars?
The reason our State’s bank is broken is that wealthy and corporate interests have been given a free ride. Here’s one example: Somehow a royalty fee (or tax, if you will) on oil being pumped from under the sea off California, even though every other oil-producing State gains revenues this way, will hurt our economy. Even though the price of extracting oil and refining it has almost no relationship to the price it sells for these days. The ‘laws’ of supply and demand have all but ceased to exist in the energy industry—except when big companies want to argue against paying monies to government.
The conversation needs to change, and the first step is for people to stop accepting ‘truths’ from the same people that have been robbing our collective till for the last generation or so.
The coming months are going to provide several opportunities that should spark the process of changing the way things are done in California’s government. College students (with the support of several trade union groups) from around the State are planning a day of protests and actions on March 4th aimed at increasing public consciousness about the real nature of the budget crisis. While most of the readers around here seem to be past their school days, it’s important that we offer support on as many levels as possible. To be sure, the local mass media will either play down or seek to denigrate these college protests. (Anybody want to bet whether the U-T uses the word “radicals” at the top of their coverage?) Let’s all work to widen this discussion beyond the buzzwords that ‘they’ will surely be using to scare people into being submissive.
As March 4th nears we’ll offer dates and places for the many rallies, teach-ins and protests that are being planned, and we’ll encourage you to participate at whatever level you can. This spring could be the dawning of a new age of protests that have the potential to impact our daily lives. While education is but one of many areas that are facing defunding during this budget ‘crisis’, speaking the truth to power can change the dangerous direction that our State is headed towards. The Facebook page for March4th is here.