Tom Hayden: It is time for our most prominent liberal economists to broaden their analysis of the domestic crisis to include spending for these unfunded wars. Only Joseph Stiglitz has done so.
Randy Shaw: Brown’s history shows that he likes to shake things up soon after taking office, and he now has the perfect opportunity. The public desperately wants a solution to California’s longstanding budget crisis, and Brown’s political capital is as high as it will ever be following an election where Democrats won every statewide race and maintained all their Congressional seats.
Steve Hochstadt: When conservative Republicans controlled Washington under George Bush, they spent government money on their pet projects with little regard for the long-term budgetary consequences. Now Republicans at the national level have made the deficit one of their major points of attack against the Democrats in preparation for the November elections.
Paul Hogarth: Proposition 25 was put on by labor unions and the Democratic Party, and political consultant Roger Salazar has been retained. Liberal bloggers and other progressives are skeptical, with some going so far as to claim it doesn’t make sense to get a majority for the budget – if raising taxes we need would still require a two-thirds vote.
Anthony Samad: With a conservative court, you never know…we just may be witnessing something we never expected to see. Neither did those living during Reconstruction. Somebody is waiting to “redeem” America a second time. It may be the national debate of the 2012 or 2016 Presidential elections. We just need to know what that really means, in terms of the return to yesterday in America. It’s not impossible…
Shamus Cooke: The budget crisis phenomenon is international, and the international corporate elite are sharing ideas on how best to come out of the crisis unscathed. They’re blaming the recession itself on public employees, on “greedy” workers who earn the tiniest fraction of what rich shareholders make by doing nothing.
Natasha Minsker and Ramona Ripston: Los Angeles County, home to California’s largest trial court system, has been feeling the pain of those court closures in more significant measure than most. It recently laid off more than 300 staff and is moving forward with shutting down 12 courtrooms. But meanwhile, a parallel trend is stalking the county that’s exacerbating the budget crisis. Astoundingly, Los Angeles County has become the leading death penalty county in the United States. In fact, in 2009 more people were sentenced to death in Los Angeles County than in any other state, including Texas, the longtime leader in this grim statistic.
Sharon Kyle: In a book entitled, Just How Stupid Are We?, author Rick Shenkman asks, “Are America’s voters prepared to shoulder the responsibility of running the most powerful nation on earth? Do a majority know enough?” These questions are not new but the current economic crisis brings to the fore the urgency of an answer.
Joseph Palermo: Schwarzenegger’s hackneyed “State of the State” address was pathetic and unconvincing. If it weren’t for his acting chops and his ability to emote on cue, he couldn’t get away with the simplistic platitudes that roll off his tongue. Then again, if he couldn’t act he wouldn’t be governor either.
Republican Senator Abel Maldonado is an Olympia Snowe character. He is a so-called “moderate” who is willing to cut a deal on the budget, while the rest of his party would rather see the state fall off a cliff than raise any taxes whatsoever. But the deals that Maldonado has extorted in past years for his one vote are enough to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth.