What’s the Next Step After “Insane”?


I might be getting myself in trouble by blogging about something where I don’t know the backstory, but check out the latest from California:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, taking aim at what remained of a deficit-cutting package drafted by Democrats, said Tuesday he planned to veto $1.1 billion in projected savings realized largely through cuts to public transit. Democratic lawmakers had approved the measure as part of a package they said would have addressed $4 billion of California’s estimated $20-billion deficit.

….Republican lawmakers, whom majority Democrats were able largely to bypass in writing their budget plan because it did not raise taxes, cheered the governor’s planned vetoes.

….Schwarzenegger said he would reject the lawmakers’ gasoline tax plan because it differed from the proposal he first made in January. Schwarzenegger’s plan would have lowered gas taxes by 5 cents per gallon. The plan Democrats pushed through the Legislature would keep gas taxes at their current level.

This is insane. In order to tackle a massive deficit, Democrats were willing to cut a billion dollars out of transit funding — a traditional Democratic priority — and Schwarzenegger vetoes it because they didn’t also include a tax cut. As a way of tackling a massive deficit. And the California Republican caucus cheers.

I can’t even think of anything snarky to say. It’s like living in a Lewis Carroll novel, except with real people. Assuming you still consider California Republicans to be real people, that is.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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