A Political Deal for California

21Sep08

Everyone seems to acknowledge that California’s financial system has on the verge of collapse. The 80-day budget crisis that we are just now, hopefully, past and the sham of a budget that emerged from the crisis are only the latest, brutal, undeniable pieces of evidence.

The major reform being suggested is elimination of the 2/3 majority requirement for passing a budget and raising taxes. But the chances of passing that reform are slim to none since the Republicans have found that it gives them enormous power over the budget even though they are a minority. We know what we need to do, but we can’t figure out how to make it happen politically.

So here is my proposal to make reform politically acceptable. There are actually two political reforms that are currently being called for in California. One is the elimination of the 2/3 majority requirement. That proposal is favored by Democrats and good citizens, and opposed by Republicans. The other is the creation of a politically-neutral redistricting system, to eliminate the current shameless gerrymandering to prop up the Democratic majority. That reform is favored by Republicans and good citizens, and opposed by Democrats. Both of the parties have, so far, been able to prevent passage of the reform favored by the other party.

So let’s trade. Put the two reforms together into a package so that both parties get something they want. Republicans will lose their power as a minority to obstruct the budget, but they’ll gain a fair shot at becoming the majority in their own right. By righting two wrongs simultaneously, maybe we can actually do something to fix the mess in California.

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