Sunday Read: A Blogger Crashes the Gates to The LA Times

 

With all the projected red ink, The Times and other newspapers are starting to pay attention to the budget mess. Unfortunately, this newspaper has recently gone out of its way to suggest that the budget crisis is primarily traceable to spending. The role that tax policy plays in the persistent revenue shortfalls receives much less attention. [...] The politics of the budget crisis are in large part shaped by media coverage. When the state’s largest and most influential paper focuses on spending — while largely ignoring the revenue side — in budget articles, it implies that the solution to the budget crisis is slashing spending rather than raising taxes. That’s not balanced journalism. 

Believe it or not, that’s our friend from Calitics, Robert in Monterey, featured in an Op-Ed in today’s LA Times. First off, I’m amazed that someone offering such a direct challenge to The Times actually got published. And secondly, it’s great to see a progressive blogger call out the mainstream media here for their consistent repetition of right-wing talking points on fiscal issues.

So if you were looking for a real reason to open up the morning paper and actually read it, here ‘ya go. If you have that LA paper sitting on your kitchen paper, open it up and read the rest of what Robert says on the media and the California budget. And if you don’t, follow the above link to read it online.

It’s about time that the MSM get challenged on their biased budget “reporting”. :-)

  3 comments for “Sunday Read: A Blogger Crashes the Gates to The LA Times

  1. Andrew Davey
    December 9, 2007 at 11:15 am

    And btw, if you want to go to Robert’s Op-Ed directly, click here:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/commentary/la-op-outsidethetent9dec09,1,7701433.story

    The above link didn’t work for some reason in my diary, so here ‘ya go. :-)

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    December 9, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Andrew — until we eliminate all sorts of wasteful spending in the budget, it is not biased to talk about being fiscally responsible. But being fiscally responsible is not merely a right wing talking point. Cutting education or transportation, law enforcement, or environmental budgets while leaving corporate welfare programs alone is a right wing talking point. If we really want to report on wasteful spending, look instead to some of the tax breaks businesses get. Close the loopholes. I’d like to see the state sue the feds for covering the costs of NCLB and special education mandates as the feds are not nearly holding up their financial obligation; and when they don’t pay, state and local government does. NO undfunded federal mandates.

    As far as government spending goes, we disagree with conservatives over where the money should be spent.

  3. Ben
    December 10, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    I agree with Dan. We have $6.5 billion in taxes currently owed but not being paid. Let’s get serious about collecting that before telling the honest taxpayer to pay more. Like Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association or not, on this, they get it: http://www.californiarepublic.org/archives/Columns/Coupal/20051220CoupalCheats.html

    Second, if we can’t measure it, we can’t manage it. Let’s start measuring the performance of what we are spending money on and have some accountability in spending. Iowa provides a great example http://www.resultsiowa.org. Audit for performance, not just finances

    Our prisons are currently understaffed, which costs us a lot in overtime pay. Could it be because the prison guard union demands too much pay and benefits, which results in the inability to hire more guards? Bringing our prison staff up to capacity would save us $200 million in overtime pay. Realize as well, we pay over twice per inmate of what Florida pays

    As well, we need to get rid of the middlemen in our education system. We have county school boards on top of district school boards, which is totally unnecessary.

    Also, we need to go back to contracting out services when the private sector can do it more efficiently. Think of it like a new fence for your yard. You have 3 options:

    1. You could build it yourself. Unless if you’re a whiz in construction, you’ll likely waste a lot of time and energy

    2. You could hire a contractor to do it. You’ll likely find someone who can do it quicker, cheaper, and better.

    3. This is what Arnold proposes, and it’s totally wrong. Sell (or long-term lease) that portion of your yard to a private company. The private company builds the fence and operates it for what the market bears. Up front, instead of paying the contractor, you get a check for your land. Over the long haul, you pay through the roof to get to and from your house every day because the land is owned by the private company and they charge a toll. You don’t want to pay anymore? Too bad, the contract locks them in and you can’t tear it down and get a new one built.

    We need to do option 2 more. Let contractors bid with government employees every year and see who can do it cheaply. And enact a living wage requirement for private contractors who do business with the state if underpayment is your concern

    Finally, go back to responsible borrowing. We used to map out the project first, commission the engineering, and obtain the bidding BEFORE we borrowed only what was necessary to finance the project. Now we approve the bond first, and then figure out the project. If you wonder why the government usually ends up underestimating the cost of a project, there’s your answer

    Also, no more borrowing unless the benefits of the project will still be around after paying it off, no more borrowing for local purposes, and no using general obligation bonds when revenue bonds can work

    We’ve approved over $16 billion in water bonds over the past 10 years, and our water supply has marginally increased at best. Why? They’ve stopped following the principles I just said

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