Monday, May 30, 2005

Majority Drool

In Texas, the Governor is Republican. So is 61% of the Senate. So is 58% of the House.

Given that the republican majority really need not compromise with the republican't minority on anything, the recent legislative session should give us an idea of exactly what the republicans care about, and what they don't.

(Legislation passed = "cares". Legislation not raised = "doesn't care". Legislation raised but not passed = "doesn't care, but wants to look like they do".)

Legislation Passed

  • $139.4B 2-year budget (estimated to be a $5B shortfall in 2007 - in fact, looking back 10 years ago when the republicans took control in Texas, Texans were complaining about how state spending had soared $40B, from $20.0 billion in 1984 to $63.2 billion in 1993. Now, here we are 10 years later and that $40B has been added again twice over, from $63 billion to $139 billion. This is fiscal conservatism hypocrisy at its finest. Well, ok, maybe the federal version of this is even more hypocritical...)

  • Privatization of the child-welfare system (we've seen how well privatization works in so many areas, from prisons, to social security, school systems, to energy policy, so let's put our children in the most critical and dire circumstances under the same stellar approach...)

  • Limiting Worker's Compensation

    Limiting Medical Malpractice

    Limit Asbestos Lawsuits

    (We all know that the real reason those poor insurance companies aren't getting richer faster is all these annoying people suing them to pay what the premiums said they should pay - if we can just limit this so that the really aggregiously injured can't get paid big bucks, then the insurance companies should be free to get really rich and improve the economy by, uh, trickle down, by uh, cutting premiums, which hasn't happened yet in any state that has put in place similar caps...)

  • Weaken qualification requirements for court appointed defense attorneys (really qualified attorneys shouldn't have to be the ones taking these cheap court appointed cases, so they can be free to get really rich, and improve the economy by uh, trickle down to their heirs...)

  • Cut $15/mo for nursing home residents (let the drug companies just provide more sedating drugs so they don't need as much attention...)

  • Cuts to textbook funds (after all, they only teach a bunch of garbage like evolution and the history of oligarchies and demaoguery...)

  • Requiring Parental Consent on abortions (because it's those teens who have a really close, caring relationship with their parents who get pregnant...)

  • Constitutional Amendment to Ban Gay Marriage (HJR6 we know that stable monogamous relationships are good for kids and the economy, and we know whether gays get married doesn't really affect us in any way, but those freaky gay people just scare us and we hate them...)

  • Almost $600M to kickback, er, attract new business (because somehow shifting the state income from corporate to personal taxes just isn't enough to show we care...)

  • Requiring all "Welcome To Texas" signs acknowledge fealty to President Bush (HB137)

  • Over 1000 bills recognizing special achievement (closing schools, wedding anniversary, eagle scout, retirement...)

Legislation Raised but not Passed: (ie, "eye candy")

  • School Finance Reform, including funding at least 50% of school operating expenses (HJR22, HB59, plus others - failed to bring state into compliance with the State Court Ruling of inherent unfairness of current funding approach - Texas Supreme court will now attempt to resolve starting July 6th)

  • Teacher Raises (because teacher's don't vote republican)

  • Ethics reform (because Tom Delay said so)

Session as characterized by Governor Perry. "We've got a worker's comp bill. We've got an asbestos bill. I don't know how big the mountain's go to be before we say, 'Heck of a session,' but we're really close to it."

It's good to know I'm not mischaracterizing this session. And republican legislative activity at the national level is the same, only even more extreme.

I guess what really pisses me off is that I used to vote republican. I thought that a strong defense and fiscal conservatism were rational choices for a sound and sustainable government. But strong defense has become strong offense. Fiscal conservatism means cutting only those programs that aid the lower class while increasing the debt burden on our children to unparalleled levels. Either I was badly deluded as to what republicanism was, or the party has been hijacked by a bunch of narrow minded, self-righteous, self-serving, hypocritical demogogues.

Or both.

* Sorry I didn't get all the legislation links in place. In trying to research the actual legislation text, I grew frustrated with how hard it was to find the information. I have a theory regarding why this is so, which falls along the lines of an ignorant populace is a controllable populace. I'm working on another blog on that - stay tuned.


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