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Friday, Jan. 07, 2011 at 4:19 PM
The inauguration speech of right-wing Democrat Jerry Brown, in which he callously boasted of the harshness of his austerity budget and demanded “sacrifice,” amounted to a declaration of war by the new governor of California against the state's working population.
Please note: We had choices, the only viable choices, namely Peace & Freedom Party and Green Party candidates. There is no reason for austerity in a state as rich as California; it just requires taxing the rich with the progressive income tax. Peace & Freedom candidate for governor, Carlos Alvarez, received 92,856 votes and Laura Wells for the Greens received 129,231 votes. When people stopped running to the Democrats in the other offices, both parties did better, with Insurance Commissioner for Peace & Freedom, Dina Padilla, winning 293,512 votes and for the Greens, William Balderston won 252,305 votes. About 10 million people voted in a state with 28 million adults. Brown received 53% of the vote. For more, see
From: Right-wing Democrat takes California governor’s office, demands “sacrifice” By Tom Carter, 6 January 2011, World Socialist Website
Brown and his challenger, the billionaire Republican former CEO Meg Whitman, dedicated their gubernatorial campaigns to a contest over which candidate was best qualified to impose a brutal austerity budget. The popular will, insofar as it was expressed in the elections at all, was “none of the above.”
Brown’s inauguration speech was in many ways indistinguishable from the inauguration speech that his Republican opponent would have been given. He made the standard flattering references to “our soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan” and “our police and correctional officers.” He stressed the need to make “tough choices” to address “huge budget deficits.” And the speech concluded with the now-obligatory “God bless you.”
But Brown’s remarks stand out for the peculiar callousness with which he indicated that massive cuts are to be carried out immediately. In his speech, broadcast to millions of impoverished and struggling Californians, Brown announced that he would demand “courage and sacrifice.”
Significant cuts are being prepared to programs upon which millions of people rely. Pensions, jobs, public education, public transportation, infrastructure, wages for state employees, and state health care programs are all on the chopping block. At the same time, increases in taxes and tuition at public universities are also in the offing.
The state of California faces a budget deficit estimated by the administration of outgoing governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at .4 billion, the combined product of the world economic crisis, financial gimmicks that are now collapsing, and decades of tax breaks for the rich and corporations. Rather than increasing social spending to alleviate the widespread suffering brought about by the economic crisis, governments worldwide have responded to the crisis with still further cuts.
The entire political establishment has thrown its weight behind the proposed cuts. On Wednesday, the Brookings Institution released a report demanding austerity budgets from western states. Mark Muro, a senior fellow and the policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the influential Washington, DC think tank, commented to the press Wednesday that “this is a time when state policymakers must break their bad habits and turn to more responsible budget planning practices that looks in a balanced way at the long-term fit of revenues to spending.” Meanwhile, the Obama administration has made clear that no further federal assistance for states following the now-exhausted “stimulus” bill will be forthcoming.
In the upside-down world of contemporary bourgeois politics, workers who demand decent living conditions for themselves and their families are greedy, disloyal, and unwilling to make the necessary “sacrifice.” Meanwhile, no such accusations are leveled the super-rich who have amassed untold billions in their personal bank accounts at the expense of everyone else.
Brown’s inauguration speech demonstrates the treacherous role of California’s unions, which gave their full support to Brown during the recent election campaign, knowing that Brown’s promised austerity budget would devastate their memberships.
The Orange County Employees Association, a government employee union whose members are now threatened with deep cuts by the Brown administration, threw a “hot dog” fest outside the state capitol Monday afternoon to celebrate Brown’s inauguration. Union officials promised that Brown would speak, and a podium was erected. Brown arrived, ate a hot dog, and then contemptuously left without speaking, leaving union officials to try to placate the booing crowd.
Brown warned that he would submit to the state legislature a “painful” budget containing his proposed cuts within the next week. Brown is also expected to propose a special election, to be held in May or June, for a statewide referendum on spending cuts and tax increases.
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||Friday, Jan. 07, 2011 at 5:01 PM
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