If I told you at the start of the legislative session that there was a large hole in the budget and that there were 2 or maybe 3 possibilities to fix it, you’d probably think the moderate thing to do would be pick some of each of the ways available. Moderates might, to use less vague terms, want some tax increases and some spending cuts while they looked at ways to deficit spend through the downturn. Moderate the pain of tax increases with spending cuts and moderate the pain of spending cuts with tax increases. Yet somehow in our state, the people who want all cuts get to claim moderate status. Take the Trib editorial board, for example:

The spending plan, unveiled jointly by Democrat and Republican budget writers, was a feat of compromise. Working across the aisle, lawmakers were able to stave off the cruelest of options for filling the state’s $5 billion shortfall.

“Reduce, but not eliminate” was their guiding mantra. Legislators saved the Basic Health Plan, but continued the freeze on enrollment. They preserved access to state health insurance for immigrant children, but tightened eligibility.

Pain but not death. When so much pain could have been avoided, that’s still moderation. Sure not letting people into Basic Health will be disaster, but otherwise, we’d have to consider cutting tax breaks for out of state banks. You guys, we can’t do that and be moderate, can we?

It carves 22 percent out of the higher education budget, but gives universities the authority to set their own tuition. It cuts funds for teacher pay, but only commensurate with the hit state workers are taking and without freezing longevity pay.

It makes it tougher to educate the next generation. It decides that the best way to attract new teachers is to cut their pay. In a time when American manufacturing is on the decline and a college education is more important than ever, it makes one harder to obtain. But at least there’s still a tax break for bull semen.

The budget is equal-opportunity agony, with the priority where it should be – basic human necessities – and the responsibility for its tough choices shared by both parties.

Except for the tough choice to close multiple loopholes. That was only one side. And even though it would have eased the pain, it would be partisan. Therefore not moderate. Therefore bad.

Anyway, then they go on to say that making the workers’ comp system more corporate friendly is also a victory for moderates. Because blindly giving more power to employers is moderate. I don’t think every moderate decision is necessarily the right one (I don’t think I’m going to convince anyone that a 70% high earner’s income tax is moderate, for example). But I wish the ed boards across the state at least had the courage to call the extremism they’re pushing what it is.


  1. 1

    proud leftist spews:

    You hit it on the nose, Carl. There is nothing “moderate” about this budget. It is capitulation to the right. “Bipartisanship” is not possible in these political times. All that means is that Ds caved in to Rs. So sick of this shit. We will now become a dumber state because we don’t care about education. And, Gregoire must go. Enough of her horseshit. She’s acting like she’s going to run again. Jay Inslee–announce your candidacy. Now.

  2. 2

    who run Bartertown? spews:

    Lets see here…

    The D’s have a majority in both state houses, as well as the governors office…

    YET, its all the R’s fault that the budget is crap?


    denial, its whats for dinner…

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    What do you expect? Newspapers are always owned by rich white guys, and they hire editorial writers to parrot their own self-serving “the rich shouldn’t pay any taxes” mantra.

    Newspapers are dying for a variety of reasons: Printing presses and delivery truck fleets are a slow, costly, inefficient way of delivering news; the Republican-caused recession severely damaged all four of their main ad revenue sources (real estate, cars, job ads, and retailer ads); competition from new formats (e.g., the internet); a less literate society; and … a deluge of sophomoric editorials that aren’t worth reading and therefore no one reads them.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 The problem, as many of us have been saying for a long time, is Democratic politicians who vote like Republicans.

    That said, the solution obviously isn’t electing Republicans.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    At the national level, there’s nothing moderate about Republican efforts to destroy the new federal consumer protection agency. This columnist likens Republican efforts to prevent any regulation of the financial industry to letting cities burn to the ground rather than enforce building codes:

    And then there are the Republicans playing “chicken” with federal default:

    Not to be outdone in idiocy are corporate masters who knife their own customers by rising prices while pushing down wages:

    Yep, stupidity is rampant in American society today, and it’s all on the Republican side.

  6. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Something Smells In The Fish Market

    The New York Times reports that fraud is rampant in seafood restaurants and at the fish counters of groceries, with up to a quarter of all fish sold in the U.S. mislabeled and passed off as more expensive species.

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Just one more example of why people who say we should trust the market to do everything are dead wrong.

  7. 7

    Perfect Voter spews:

    Bartertown @2 has a point — the Democrats have the majorities but because of the initiative vote “requiring” a 2/3rds vote to cut loopholes or raise taxes, they see themselves as forced into a defacto Republican budget.

    The current Republican Party perceives no public service worthy of support if to do so required an increase in revenues. No nothing. So they embrace the 2/3rds vote requirement knowing they will always hold at least a third of the Legislature and that none of them will ever vote Yes to close a loophole or raise a tax.

    Problem of course is that the Democrats fail to note or acknowledge that the 2/3rds vote is blatantly unconstitutional. Art. 2 Sec. 22 plainly states that it takes only simple majorities to pass a bill, including bills that raise revenues. There is no asterisk saying “except as may be increased by initiative” or anything like that.

    Legislators all take an oath to uphold the constitution of the State of Washington. Unfortunately they don’t take that oath to heart and challenge violations of that constitution.

  8. 8

    Ekim spews:

    Since the Rethugs want cuts, let’s make cuts in the Rethug counties where they run huge deficits. Yakima county is a good starting place with their $400 million a year deficit, though they aren’t alone. The Rethug counties of Eastern Washington run a combined deficit of $1.5 billion per year.

  9. 9

    Ekim spews:

    2. who run Bartertown? spews:

    Lets see here…

    The D’s have a majority in both state houses, as well as the governors office…

    YET, its all the R’s fault that the budget is crap?

    It is the Rethugs that have spending out of control in their counties. Though I agree that the Ds have been slow to call them on it.

    So the Ds should really start slashing and burning in the Rethug welfare counties, wouldn’t you agree?

  10. 10

    Ekim spews:

    7. Perfect Voter,

    On the other hand, the Ds could redirect the current revenue stream without raising taxes. And push the fact this goes to making a more fair and equitable balance in how state money is spent. Then if the Rs want more money for their counties, they will be faced with raising taxes and the 2/3 vote requirement they so love.

  11. 11

    who run Bartertown? spews:

    @8 and 9

    lets take your logic one step further, can we?

    I’m all for spending money based on where the money comes from – that said, I want the money spent on me, rather than the poor folk. They dont pay for shit, and get all kinds of assistance from the state. I on the otherhand, pay a ton of money in taxes, and get no assistance from the state…spend that shit on ME.

    I like your logic! :)

    I live in King County BTW – and I want money coming my way, rather than the homies in Rainier and Cental district who pay nothing.

    You have me convinced ekim – its a great idea!

  12. 14

    what? spews:

    doesn’t it get a bit old?

    O fcourse the papers are skewed.

    of course the republicans are ….well, basically thugs. crooks. lying thieves who dupe many.

    we take that for granted.

    the fault in the outcome is the Democrats’ fault. THEY don’t say what is said here about what’s moderate and what’s not. Nope, they join hands with the republicans. We even have super “liberal” Ed murray from super liberal 43d district proudly announcing hooray, we have achieved bipartisaan compromise, woo hoo.

    basically the entire democratic leadership should be taken out and s _ _ _ at dawn for utter failure, cowardice, abandonment of their positions.

    recently i heard some are putting in play a lawsuit on the 2/3 thing. Please, ca we start calling it the 1/3 minority rule thing? thank you. any way one cheer for that but they need to take that and multiply it about 10,000 times that’s what fighting would be.

    fighting is not having a few bloggers on ultra liberal sites making your basic case for you.

    fighting is not letting off steam in front of mdc, then having your leaders in olympia join hands with zarelli and sing bipartisan kumbaya.

    lincoln fired and fired and fired generals till he found one that fought. churchill said in defeat defiance. our leaders? they say in defeat, compromise, give in.

    they’re Vichy Democrats.