A Critical Conversation

Bell Policy Center and ProgressNow Colorado are teaming up to shed light on the state budget.  Via TWI:

Now that this year’s legislative session is safely behind us, maybe it’s time to talk about the state budget. That, anyway, seems to be the premise behind a video released today by the Bell Policy Center and ProgressNow Colorado.

The six-minute animated video bills itself as a plain-English introduction to Colorado’s budget–where the money comes from and where it goes.

The Old West-style cartoon makes the point that in Colorado’s early days when a road or a school or a prison needed to be built, people got together and figured out how to do it. These days, not so much.

“The purpose of the video is to start a critical conversation about state fiscal policy,” said Wade Buchanan, president of the Bell Policy Center. “The video helps frame that conversation and urges viewers to learn more.”

Learning more about where the money comes from and goes would go a long way to pushing back against Republican dominated legislatures and regressive tax policy.  The "blame the public workers" tactic seen from Wisconsin Republicans to push a backwards budget has been a common Republican theme in states like Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana for decades. 

The success Republicans have seen pushing even more regressive tax and budget policies on voters as a solution to a problem caused by existing regressive policies relies entirely on there being little understanding of the actual state budgets and revenue architecture.

In 2011, Utahns embraced a set of "bold and ambitious" (sound familiar?) Medicaid "managed care" reforms under the premise that these reforms -- and only these reforms -- were needed because of federal expansion of "entitlements."  A narrow, ineffective system to "grade" and more easily fire teachers was sold as a solution to education funding problems.  Never once in the conversation were state expenditures or revenue discussed.  Debate on housing issues, pensions, and road construction play out similarly.  State lawmakers seem to have convinced even themselves to forget they hamstrung themselves with a flat tax (part of Jon Huntsman Jr.'s legacy) that hasn't delivered, and corporate friendly tax cuts that haven't produced many jobs.

In Idaho, bills that would mandate larger class sizes and phase out teacher tenure were sold -- successfully -- as the only option for lawmakers considering the state of the federal deficit.  Seriously!

Wyoming lawmakers raised public support for cameras in the classrooms as an serious education reform, while sweeping their corporate handouts for anyone willing to drill for anything under the proverbial rug.

Then there's Texas.

There is nothing new about state politicians seizing national meme's to push their agendas.  But it's worth noting that  when a progressive tax policy, or a simple "would you pay [X] more per year for better [education, roads, Medicaid, etc] funding?" question is posed, voters -- even in red states -- are on board.

But it's never an option once the legislative sessions begin, and state lawmakers can bank on a lack of understanding of the complicated workings of the budget.

There's an opportunity here for progressives to change the state level frame through education.  When voters see where the money is (or isn't) coming from, and where it is (or isn't) being spent, it will be harder for Republican lawmakers or Republican dominated legislatures to blame Obama for having to toss the elderly and disabled, families and the future workforce under the fiscal bus with hands supposedly tied.

A Critical Conversation

Bell Policy Center and ProgressNow Colorado are teaming up to shed light on the state budget.  Via TWI:

Now that this year’s legislative session is safely behind us, maybe it’s time to talk about the state budget. That, anyway, seems to be the premise behind a video released today by the Bell Policy Center and ProgressNow Colorado.

The six-minute animated video bills itself as a plain-English introduction to Colorado’s budget–where the money comes from and where it goes.

The Old West-style cartoon makes the point that in Colorado’s early days when a road or a school or a prison needed to be built, people got together and figured out how to do it. These days, not so much.

“The purpose of the video is to start a critical conversation about state fiscal policy,” said Wade Buchanan, president of the Bell Policy Center. “The video helps frame that conversation and urges viewers to learn more.”

Learning more about where the money comes from and goes would go a long way to pushing back against Republican dominated legislatures and regressive tax policy.  The "blame the public workers" tactic seen from Wisconsin Republicans to push a backwards budget has been a common Republican theme in states like Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana for decades. 

The success Republicans have seen pushing even more regressive tax and budget policies on voters as a solution to a problem caused by existing regressive policies relies entirely on there being little understanding of the actual state budgets and revenue architecture.

In 2011, Utahns embraced a set of "bold and ambitious" (sound familiar?) Medicaid "managed care" reforms under the premise that these reforms -- and only these reforms -- were needed because of federal expansion of "entitlements."  A narrow, ineffective system to "grade" and more easily fire teachers was sold as a solution to education funding problems.  Never once in the conversation were state expenditures or revenue discussed.  Debate on housing issues, pensions, and road construction play out similarly.  State lawmakers seem to have convinced even themselves to forget they hamstrung themselves with a flat tax (part of Jon Huntsman Jr.'s legacy) that hasn't delivered, and corporate friendly tax cuts that haven't produced many jobs.

In Idaho, bills that would mandate larger class sizes and phase out teacher tenure were sold -- successfully -- as the only option for lawmakers considering the state of the federal deficit.  Seriously!

Wyoming lawmakers raised public support for cameras in the classrooms as an serious education reform, while sweeping their corporate handouts for anyone willing to drill for anything under the proverbial rug.

Then there's Texas.

There is nothing new about state politicians seizing national meme's to push their agendas.  But it's worth noting that  when a progressive tax policy, or a simple "would you pay [X] more per year for better [education, roads, Medicaid, etc] funding?" question is posed, voters -- even in red states -- are on board.

But it's never an option once the legislative sessions begin, and state lawmakers can bank on a lack of understanding of the complicated workings of the budget.

There's an opportunity here for progressives to change the state level frame through education.  When voters see where the money is (or isn't) coming from, and where it is (or isn't) being spent, it will be harder for Republican lawmakers or Republican dominated legislatures to blame Obama for having to toss the elderly and disabled, families and the future workforce under the fiscal bus with hands supposedly tied.

A Critical Conversation

Bell Policy Center and ProgressNow Colorado are teaming up to shed light on the state budget.  Via TWI:

Now that this year’s legislative session is safely behind us, maybe it’s time to talk about the state budget. That, anyway, seems to be the premise behind a video released today by the Bell Policy Center and ProgressNow Colorado.

The six-minute animated video bills itself as a plain-English introduction to Colorado’s budget–where the money comes from and where it goes.

The Old West-style cartoon makes the point that in Colorado’s early days when a road or a school or a prison needed to be built, people got together and figured out how to do it. These days, not so much.

“The purpose of the video is to start a critical conversation about state fiscal policy,” said Wade Buchanan, president of the Bell Policy Center. “The video helps frame that conversation and urges viewers to learn more.”

Learning more about where the money comes from and goes would go a long way to pushing back against Republican dominated legislatures and regressive tax policy.  The "blame the public workers" tactic seen from Wisconsin Republicans to push a backwards budget has been a common Republican theme in states like Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana for decades. 

The success Republicans have seen pushing even more regressive tax and budget policies on voters as a solution to a problem caused by existing regressive policies relies entirely on there being little understanding of the actual state budgets and revenue architecture.

In 2011, Utahns embraced a set of "bold and ambitious" (sound familiar?) Medicaid "managed care" reforms under the premise that these reforms -- and only these reforms -- were needed because of federal expansion of "entitlements."  A narrow, ineffective system to "grade" and more easily fire teachers was sold as a solution to education funding problems.  Never once in the conversation were state expenditures or revenue discussed.  Debate on housing issues, pensions, and road construction play out similarly.  State lawmakers seem to have convinced even themselves to forget they hamstrung themselves with a flat tax (part of Jon Huntsman Jr.'s legacy) that hasn't delivered, and corporate friendly tax cuts that haven't produced many jobs.

In Idaho, bills that would mandate larger class sizes and phase out teacher tenure were sold -- successfully -- as the only option for lawmakers considering the state of the federal deficit.  Seriously!

Wyoming lawmakers raised public support for cameras in the classrooms as an serious education reform, while sweeping their corporate handouts for anyone willing to drill for anything under the proverbial rug.

Then there's Texas.

There is nothing new about state politicians seizing national meme's to push their agendas.  But it's worth noting that  when a progressive tax policy, or a simple "would you pay [X] more per year for better [education, roads, Medicaid, etc] funding?" question is posed, voters -- even in red states -- are on board.

But it's never an option once the legislative sessions begin, and state lawmakers can bank on a lack of understanding of the complicated workings of the budget.

There's an opportunity here for progressives to change the state level frame through education.  When voters see where the money is (or isn't) coming from, and where it is (or isn't) being spent, it will be harder for Republican lawmakers or Republican dominated legislatures to blame Obama for having to toss the elderly and disabled, families and the future workforce under the fiscal bus with hands supposedly tied.

Sane tax policy vs. President Class War

 

and the Blue Dog Losers**

Of course the fix is already in, but let’s suppose President Obama actually wanted to get his purported tax agenda passed — preserve the Bush middle-class tax breaks and let the upper-class tax breaks expire. Why hasn’t anyone in ‘responsible punditry land’ suggested the following blatantly obvious scenario: incorporate the middle-class tax breaks that the Democrats supposedly want to preserve into a new law, and then pass that law during the lame duck session. Anyone opposing such a law is opposing middle-class tax breaks, right, political suicide, so such a measure passes with ease? Where in the preceding is the lame duck session gridlock that punditland assumes?

Then, after the Republicans supposedly take over (we’re pretending their agenda isn’t already running Washington right now) in January and try to pass bills renewing Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy, Obama vetoes them. (If, say, he were President Don’t Compromise on Giveaways to the Wealthy.)

But no, we get the usual President Obama surreality of ’a need for compromise’ (and that other surreality, that people making $250,000 up to $1,000,000 are ‘middle class’) when there is no need at all for that. In fact, there is the usual desperate need to move money away from the well-to-do (including everyone making more than about $100,000) and toward the middle and working classes, which the ostensibly ‘easy to do’ scenario I’ve described above would do. But just describing that desperate need tells us why it won’t happen: Obama, most of the Democrats, and all of the Republicans are on the wrong side of the class war.

‘Nuff said.

**Despite its lack of necessity, Democrats (surprise, surprise!) are now everywhere talking ‘compromise’ for the sake of wealthy; here are a few of the more recent: Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-8), Michael Capuano (D-MA-8), Brian Higgins (D-NY-27), Bill Owens (D-NY-23), and Sen. Michael Bennett (CO).

P.S. Congressman Peter Welch (VT) is an honorable holdout against the rush to comfort the rich:

So why do we borrow money in order to fund a $700 billion tax cut for the very well off ? It makes no sense to me economically. It won't help the economy, but it will aggravate the deficit, and since it didn't make sense to me before the election it doesn't make sense to me after the election. So I would urge the Obama Administration to hold firm on this.

 

Sane tax policy vs. President Class War

 

and the Blue Dog Losers**

Of course the fix is already in, but let’s suppose President Obama actually wanted to get his purported tax agenda passed — preserve the Bush middle-class tax breaks and let the upper-class tax breaks expire. Why hasn’t anyone in ‘responsible punditry land’ suggested the following blatantly obvious scenario: incorporate the middle-class tax breaks that the Democrats supposedly want to preserve into a new law, and then pass that law during the lame duck session. Anyone opposing such a law is opposing middle-class tax breaks, right, political suicide, so such a measure passes with ease? Where in the preceding is the lame duck session gridlock that punditland assumes?

Then, after the Republicans supposedly take over (we’re pretending their agenda isn’t already running Washington right now) in January and try to pass bills renewing Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy, Obama vetoes them. (If, say, he were President Don’t Compromise on Giveaways to the Wealthy.)

But no, we get the usual President Obama surreality of ’a need for compromise’ (and that other surreality, that people making $250,000 up to $1,000,000 are ‘middle class’) when there is no need at all for that. In fact, there is the usual desperate need to move money away from the well-to-do (including everyone making more than about $100,000) and toward the middle and working classes, which the ostensibly ‘easy to do’ scenario I’ve described above would do. But just describing that desperate need tells us why it won’t happen: Obama, most of the Democrats, and all of the Republicans are on the wrong side of the class war.

‘Nuff said.

**Despite its lack of necessity, Democrats (surprise, surprise!) are now everywhere talking ‘compromise’ for the sake of wealthy; here are a few of the more recent: Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-8), Michael Capuano (D-MA-8), Brian Higgins (D-NY-27), Bill Owens (D-NY-23), and Sen. Michael Bennett (CO).

P.S. Congressman Peter Welch (VT) is an honorable holdout against the rush to comfort the rich:

So why do we borrow money in order to fund a $700 billion tax cut for the very well off ? It makes no sense to me economically. It won't help the economy, but it will aggravate the deficit, and since it didn't make sense to me before the election it doesn't make sense to me after the election. So I would urge the Obama Administration to hold firm on this.

 

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