by Goldy, 02/22/2010, 2:37 PM

Rereading my previous post, I realize I never clearly enunciated what it is that bothers me so much about the Seattle Times’ editorial bent. It’s just that they make the notion of running government on less money sound so easy. In fact, not just easy, but downright obvious. I guess that explains why they feel no need to explain how to do it.

Once again, take for example DNR’s Natural Heritage Program. Faced with declining revenues and no stomach for tax increases, the governor and the legislature cut DNR funding about 22 percent from the previous biennium to the current. About two-thirds of DNR’s budget comes from royalties generated from timber, grazing, farming etc. on the public lands it manages, but declining commodity prices have meant declining revenues there too. Altogether, DNR’s budget has shrunk from $325 million in the 07-09 biennium, down to $267 million for 09-11.

You wouldn’t know it from reading the Times op-ed page, but DNR, like other state agencies, has responded to substantial cuts in revenue by substantially cutting spending. In addition to attrition and hiring freezes and stuff like that, DNR has gone through three rounds of honest to God layoffs, shedding 114 full-time employees — you know, warm bodies… real live people — or roughly 9 percent of the department’s current workforce. And these weren’t for the most part Olympia bureaucrats; these layoffs occurred in small towns throughout the state, where losing just a half dozen jobs or so can be a real blow to the local economy.

A tough revenue forecast makes for tough decisions, and one of the tough decisions DNR made was to stretch its limited resources by offsetting part of the cost of the Natural Heritage Program with user fees from the timber companies, developers, and government agencies who use it. I suppose DNR could have reprioritized, leaving NHP’s funding intact (and services fee-free) at the expense of other programs and services, but you know, for every NHP there’s… well… there’s another NHP. Are the cuts going to come at the expense fighting forest fires? Regulating clear cuts on steep slopes? Barring a new revenue source, the cuts are going to have to come from somewhere.

And all the cutting and slashing that’s been going on at DNR has been going on at nearly every other state agency as well. You wouldn’t know it from reading the Times, because that doesn’t fit in with their lazy waste/fraud/abuse meme. No, the Times never writes about the thousands of state employees who have lost their jobs — further depressing our local economy — because they’re too busy expressing outrage that the remaining state employees still enjoy the same kind of health care benefits newspaper employees used to enjoy as recently as a decade ago.

For the most part, the Times doesn’t really want government to be smaller, they want it to be cheaper… or it least, if they do want a substantially smaller state government in terms of the scope of services it provides and infrastructure in which it invests, the Times doesn’t have the balls to say so. Instead, they just harp on the government’s refusal/inability to cut costs, all the while ignoring the huge cuts that have already taken place, and the very real impact these cuts have produced.

Which just strikes me as lazy.

63 Responses to “(Not Much) Shorter Goldy…”

1. Proud To Be An Ass spews:

It strikes me as odd that we should be taking fiscal advise from somebody who has turned a large fortune into a small one.

I mean, ANYBODY can do that.

2. Roger Rabbit spews:

Goldy, why do you continue to assume that raising tax rates is the same thing as a tax increase?

Incomes have fallen during the recession, but tax revenues have declined even more, because nervous consumers are holding back on spending.

When tax collections fall more than incomes, that’s a tax cut, because taxpayers are paying proportionately less of their incomes to government.

It’s a tax cut by any definition, because citizens not only are paying less in absolute dollars, but also are paying a lower tax rate as a percentage of income.

Here’s another way to illustrate how this works. If everyone switches to electric cars, and the state raises gas taxes by $5 a gallon, but gas tax revenues are nearly zero because very little gas is being sold, are drivers paying more or less in road taxes? The answer obviously is less, but some people will insist the state has “raised” taxes on driving.

That’s bullshit.

State tax collections today are far below what they were a couple years ago. That’s why the legislature is cutting the state budget and agencies are laying off workers. The lower revenues mean Washingtonians are paying less taxes. And that means citizens have gotten a tax cut. Even if the legislature raised tax rates to recapture the lost revenue, only if the tax burden as a percentage of incomes exceeded previous levels could it be considered a tax increase.

But don’t try explaining this to the Seattle Times. They can’t even balance their own books.

3. Roger Rabbit spews:

The Seattle Times thinks if private business charges for a service it’s a price, but if government charges for a service it’s a tax.

Price good, tax bad. Uuuugaaah, uuugaaah.

Me Tarzan, you Jane. Me boss, you wife. Aaaa-yeeeee-aaahh!!!

Yeah, it’s great to have a real articulate “newspaper of record” guiding public opinion in our state. If only we did. The internet arrived just in time to save us from the intellectual implosion of the journalism industry.

4. lebowski spews:

Why dont all you supporters of increased taxes just voluntarily write the state(or feds) a check? Nobody is stopping you from giving to the govt to your heart’s content….

5. Roger Rabbit spews:

Actually, Bruce Ramsey is a fairly smart guy. I’ve met him, and he can converse in English, believe it or not. He also performs strenuous mental gymnastics with his keyboard. I just wonder whether he realizes he’s a circus performer?

http://th01.deviantart.com/fs25/300W/i/2008/150/8/8/Circus_Night_The_Contortionist_by_mamazmeilor.jpg

6. Roger Rabbit spews:

Remember the Pennsylvania high school student whose school used a laptop computer to spy on him at home?

“Robbins sued last week, alleging that Harriton High School officials took a photo of him inside his home. He learned of it when an assistant principal said she knew he was engaging in improper behavior at home, according to his potentially class-action lawsuit. Robbins and his family have told reporters that an official mistook a piece of candy for a pill and thought he was selling drugs.”

And today, the boy’s lawyers were in court seeking an emergency injunction to prevent the school district from erasing computer hard drives to cover up the nature and extent of its illegal spying on students.

This is why America needs the ACLU.

http://www.aolnews.com/story/pa-school-district-is-asked-not-to-wipe/912040?cid=10

7. Roger Rabbit spews:

Imagine if a stupid school bureaucrat who can’t tell the difference between candy and pills sticks something in a student’s file that labels him as a drug dealer.

A couple years later, the kid can’t understand why his application to West Point was denied. He doesn’t know why he couldn’t get into a good college. He doesn’t understand why the hometown cops continually pull him over and search his car, and when he asks why, they tell him he’s a “suspected drug dealer.” He can’t comprehend why he can’t get a good job because he keeps failing background checks.

Five seconds of stupidity by a blockhead who is given herself a power over individuals’ lives that the Constitution doesn’t even entrust to elected judges but only to juries can literally ruin an innocent person’s life.

That’s why warrantless wiretapping is a dangerous idea, and tort reform is a stupid idea. If someone burns down your house, you expect them to pay for it. If an idiot burns down your reputation and all your chances in life, why shouldn’t you be able to sue them?

8. Roger Rabbit spews:

Republicans are for warrantless wiretapping and tort reform. Democrats are against them. Do you even have to think about who to vote for? Your response when marking your ballot should be automatic. This is a no-brainer.

9. Roger Rabbit spews:

Suppose it was a pill, but was an over-the-counter cold remedy, or an antibiotic prescribed by the family physician.

How would a school bureaucrat spying on a student in his own home know it wasn’t, that it was an illegal drug?

What can you say about the judgment of school officials who expel a kindergartner for having a plastic toy shaped like a gun in his backpack under a “no tolerance policy”?

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/nov/08/anderson-expels-8-students/

For that matter, what can you say about the judgment of airport security guards who detain an 86-year-old man because they think his Congressional Medal of Honor looks like a martial arts weapon?

http://www.homeofheroes.com/news/archives/2002_0100_foss.html

America is finished. We’ve become a nation of stupid fools. The people who wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, who invented the telephone and automobile, who created Social Security and the TVA, who designed the machines that carried Neil Armstrong to the moon, are all dead. America is now populated by idiots. Our history has ended. The movie is over and there’s nothing left to watch except the screen credits.

10. lebowski spews:

@9…then just get it over with and do yourself(and us) a favor and pull the damn trigger already….

for christ’s sake, stop bitchin’ and start twitchin’…..

11. proud leftist spews:

10
I suppose that’s what passes for wingnut humor. Pretty pathetic, dumbfuck.

12. Roger Rabbit spews:

@11 I think he’s being serious. That is, what passes for “serious” in a wingnut’s shriveled mind.

13. YLB spews:

pl @ 11

Over in the other thread Max/lebowski was crowing over how marijauna users enhance HIS worth to society..

NOTHING can enhance a bigoted, homophobic Dori Monson’s fan worth to ANY society

14. Roger Rabbit spews:

@10 Needless to say, no one will bitch about stupid bureaucrats louder than you, the first time the city mails you someone else’s red-light-camera infraction notice.

15. lebowski spews:

oh bullshit – all you all were laughing your asses when you read that….

oh, and @13: working yet?

16. Roger Rabbit spews:

Would someone please show lebowski how to use a scroll key so I don’t have to read his whining?

17. Mr. Cynical spews:

Tax-and-Squander Democrats!
Bend over…here they come!

SB 6841, titled AN ACT Relating to tax preferences, has been introduced in the Senate. The Office of Financial Management has identified this bill as requiring a ten-year projection of increased cost to the taxpayers or affected feepayers.

Ten-year projection:

Year
B&O Tax
Public

Utilities Tax
Retail

Sales Tax
Total

2010

2011

2012

2013
$ 32,854,000
$ 3,223,000
$ 5,490,000
$ 41,567,000

2014
81,893,000
8,081,000
12,902,000
$ 102,876,000

2015
85,056,000
8,444,000
12,636,000
$ 106,136,000

2016
88,353,000
8,826,000
12,377,000
$ 109,556,000

2017
91,789,000
9,227,000
12,124,000
$ 113,140,000

2018
95,368,000
9,648,000
11,879,000
$ 116,895,000

2019
99,096,000
10,090,000
11,639,000
$ 120,825,000

Total:
$ 574,409,000
$ 57,539,000
$ 79,047,000
$ 710,995,000

18. Roger Rabbit spews:

@15 YLB strikes me as too intelligent to work for money. Working is the worst way to get money there is. Only the unlucky work.

19. Roger Rabbit spews:

@17 Geez, Klown, why don’t you just give us a link so we can see the numbers in a readable format? Your post is gibberish.

20. lebowski spews:

@16..thats funny, coming from the master of 200 off-thread posts per day….

pull that damn trigger already…

21. Roger Rabbit spews:

@4 Why should you get a free ride at our expense?

22. lebowski spews:

@18..No, “unlucky” is what you call his working wife.

23. lebowski spews:

@21…that question would be better posed to YLB.

24. Roger Rabbit spews:

Hey, if you wingtards get elected and cut taxes and public services to nothing, I’m okay with it. I’m already living in a hole and grazing on natural flora, so I don’t need anything from government. But when you do, make sure you don’t spend one fucking penny on defense, farm supports, or enforcing drug laws. If you wanna get rid of government, then get rid of all of it.

25. Roger Rabbit spews:

@23 No, I’m asking you, because you’re the asshole who wants someone else to pay for the public services you get.

26. YLB spews:

Lebowksi’s working overtime being a bigot.. I bet his employer got him to sign away the time and a half…

“I LOVE BEING A STUPID BIGOT! DORI’S MY IDOL!”, shouts Max “I’d do it for free!”

27. rhp6033 spews:

What we are experiencing in government is the equivilent of decades of deferred maintenance.

Think about what happens if you have a house, a car, a ship, or airplane. Sure, you can get buy for a while in putting off regular maintenance on the vehicle. But over time, the deferred maintenance starts to add up. Then one day one of two things are going to happen: (a) there will be a minor repair needed, but at that point you realize that with everything else that has to be fixed, the cummulative repairs exceed the value of the item; or (b) there is a catastrophic failure which could have been easily preventable with proper maintenance intervals, according to an established budget. If it’s a car, you might be lucky if you can pull over to the shoulder. If it’s an airplane, good luck, and hope your pilot is named Skully and is on a first-name basis with God.

So after decades of trying to do things on the cheap in government, what happens?

(a) You have a stadium (Kingdome) which barely lasts 25 years, and you have to blow it up to make room to build another one before the first one is paid off.

(b) You have a Public Safety Building in Seattle which borrowed it’s blueprints from another one in Florida (to save money on Architect’s fees), only to have it lose more money yearly in energy costs than the fee they saved.

(c) You try to save a few bucks by hiring low-pay private security guards in a bus tunnel (instead of hiring real cops), only to have them being forbidden from actually DOING anything (observe & report only), which results in criminals learning that they can assault a person in the tunnel without fear of interference.

(d) You can insist on taking criminals off the streets, but without funding drug treatment programs or building & staffing more prisons, you turn the prison sentence into little more than a revolving door, with judges and prosecutors being told to limit incarcerations to only the highest-profice cases due to lack of space.

(e) You can remove inspectors from timber operations, construction and manufacturing environmental inspections, housing permit inspections, etc., only to find that eventually hillsides collapse into subdivisions, contaminates pollute waterways which will take billions of dollars to correct, and houses will fall down.

It’s so predictable, I can’t fathom why conservatives don’t understand the basic principle of being “penny wise and pound foolish”.

28. Chris Stefan spews:

@6
This sort of crap is why I’m a proud card-carrying member of the ACLU.

29. Chris Stefan spews:

@24 the fucking wingnut teabagger morons want to turn the whole goddamned country into Colorado Springs or rural Alabama.

30. rhp6033 spews:

Off Topic: Anybody notice the juxtaposition of two of the three cover stories in Sunday’s Times? The top left-hand story was headlined “Dangerous, mentally ill, and difficult to detain”. The upper right-hand story was about State Sen. Pam Roach.

31. Chris Stefan spews:

@30
Silly me I thought the two stories were related.

32. Roger Rabbit spews:

@27 “I can’t fathom why conservatives don’t understand the basic principle of being “penny wise and pound foolish”.”

For the same reason they’re against bailing out the banks at no cost to taxpayers to prevent another Great Depression: Because they’re too stupid to find their own balls.

The good news is that conservatives have to be made, through vast expenditures on recruiting and propaganda, because they don’t reproduce naturally.

33. proud leftist spews:

YLB
So, Max and Lebowski are one and the same? That would make sense as he’s got more than ample stupidity to support two personas.

34. Roger Rabbit spews:

@20 Your decision to read this blog is voluntary. I’m not responsible for your choices.

35. Roger Rabbit spews:

@29 It could be worse. I’d be afraid of them if they were in favor of big government and got their hands on real power. Whoops …

http://thesituationist.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/abu-ghraib.JPG
http://www.martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/abu_graibh1.jpg
http://casadelogo.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/abu_ghraib_abuse1.jpg

36. Roger Rabbit spews:

If someone did that to me, I’d spend the rest of my life hunting him, and he’d spend the rest of his life afraid I’d find him.

37. Chris Stefan spews:

@36
… And yet still many wingtards think we should torture the “ragheads” because they “deserve it”.

38. tom spews:

@36 he’d spend the rest of his life afraid I’d find him

I think it’s more like you’d be afraid you’d find him, Rabbit!

39. J. Whorfin spews:

For the most part, the Times doesn’t really want government to be smaller, they want it to be cheaper… or it least, if they do want a substantially smaller state government in terms of the scope of services it provides and infrastructure in which it invests, the Times doesn’t have the balls to say so.

Excellent point, Goldy. This is why I can’t stand listening to the Tea Party/Conservative folks much on the “size of government”. They say they want smaller government, but then when cuts are announced, they scream “You’re punishing the voters!”. Smaller government is just that: government that doesn’t do as much as it used to. Have the honesty to accept it, instead of trying to make government do everything on less and less. Businesses can’t run that way, why should government?

What I really find ironic is the complaining “Don’t let the government take over medicine” by folks over 65.

40. ArtFart spews:

@1 Ain’t that interesting? Frankie’s not just a curmudgeonly asshole, he’s a stoooooopid curmudgeonly asshole. The smart guys lose giant quantities of other peoples’ money. Instead, he squanders his own.

41. Roger Rabbit spews:

Suppose we had no national debt. Where would the capitalists go to find safe haven in times of market turmoil? China’s IOU’s? India’s? Iceland’s? Over three trillion dollars flooded into Treasuries when the financial system melted down in 2008 and most of it is still there. U.S. public debt is the safest place in the world to put savings. Without this repository, bank reserves, money market funds, insurance annuities, pension funds, etc., would all be exposed to greater market risk; the financial system would be less stable; and, no doubt, much larger slices of individual savings would be stuffed in mattresses or buried in backyard instead of reinvested in the economy.

42. Roger Rabbit spews:

@38 You’re a joke. I’m a Vietnam veteran who taught weapons and tactics to Army recruits.

43. Roger Rabbit spews:

Breaking News

Dick Cheney is hospitalized tonight for chest pains. Cheney reportedly is “resting comfortably at George Washington University Hospital and his doctors are evaluating the situation,” according to CNN. No further information is available at this time.

44. proud leftist spews:

43
That bitter, bilious buttfucker is never “comfortable.”

45. manoftruth spews:

@24
@24 the fucking wingnut teabagger morons want to turn the whole goddamned country into Colorado Springs or rural Alabama.

and i’d want to live in those places rather than new york or palm beach.

46. N in Seattle spews:

manofdoofus:

@24 the fucking wingnut teabagger morons want to turn the whole goddamned country into Colorado Springs or rural Alabama.

and i’d want to live in those places rather than new york or palm beach.

What’s stopping you? And aren’t you the one who’s actually from Boston?

Hypocrite much?

47. Chris Stefan spews:

@45
Have fun asshole.

48. manoftruth spews:

@46
What’s stopping you? And aren’t you the one who’s actually from Boston?

i dont live in boston proper. i live in an all white non jew suburb.

49. Roger Rabbit spews:

@45 That’s what so great about this country. You slugs get to clump together in whatever garden you like best. And that makes it easier to pour salt on you.

50. Roger Rabbit spews:

@48 I’m sure you do. The kind of place where all your neighbors are exactly like you. You wouldn’t have it any other way.

51. karen spews:

@42 I’m a Vietnam veteran who taught weapons and tactics to Army recruits

Well, gee, let’s see, that was 40 years, 10,000 packs, and 10 inches around the waist ago, you moron. You couldn’t get 10 feet without an oxygen tank. But dream on if that’s what keeps you going.

And it’s amazing that you invoke a war that killed millions, most of whom were civilians. If that war was raging today HA would be raging against the atrocities and war crimes being committed.

Earth to Wabbit, earth to Wabbit . . . anyone home?

52. Roger Rabbit spews:

@51 “You couldn’t get 10 feet without an oxygen tank.”

Yeah, but my trigger finger needs to get only 1/10th inch.

“And it’s amazing that you invoke a war that killed millions, most of whom were civilians.”

The war wasn’t my idea. I thought it sucked. But I didn’t hide behind 5 deferments like Dickless Cheney. When it was my turn to go, I went, not because I believed in the war, but because 3.5 million other Americans had to, and I didn’t want to be more privileged than them. It’s about your buddies, Karen. In all wars, for all generations, among all nationalities, it’s always about being there with your buddies. You don’t fight for a flag or a cause. You fight for the guys on either side of you. Of course, as a little boy hiding behind a girl’s name, I don’t expect you to understand that.

53. Max Rockatansky spews:

@42…you are a proven liar. You didnt do shit during ‘nam.

54. Max Rockatansky spews:

the rabbit is a nazi POS….he advocated the killing of anyone who does not think like him, and has stated as much on this board.

He deserves what is coming to him..a painful, cancer filled death.

pull the trigger rabbit, for your own good.

55. Roger Rabbit spews:

@54 I learned it from you guys; and now you’re criticizing me for thinking like a Republican?

56. Roger Rabbit spews:

@53 I didn’t do as much as my buddies who died, I’ll agree with that much.

57. Roger Rabbit spews:

@53 I had an easy time in Vietnam. A curious phenomenon happened. Wherever I went, the shooting stopped. I’d go to some punk-ass little firebase on a supply run, be there a few days, then return to base. The place was getting plastered every day before I arrived, and it started up again after I left, but nothing happened while I was there. This happened again and again. I couldn’t have gotten killed or wounded if I had tried, because I couldn’t get anyone to shoot at me. It was very weird. It must have been due to my lucky rabbit’s feet. I had four of ‘em, and the troops stood in line to pet them. They loved me, because wherever I went, nobody got ever killed. They made sure I always had fresh clean water and bowls of fresh lettuce. I was a very popular rabbit, and I lived well over there.

58. Roger Rabbit spews:

I never really thought about it, but maybe the fact I have rabbit’s feet has something to do with my lucky stock picks, too. In any case, it sure beats working! Maybe I should try walking on water. It doesn’t look all that hard. My duck friends can do it.

59. Max Rockatansky spews:

@57…BFD….

I was in Iraq, Somalia, Angola, Chad, and a few other places…

your BS does not impress me.

you are nothing more than a nazi….goebbels would be proud of you….

60. proud leftist spews:

Maxie @ 59
Horseshit. Why are you so full of yourself? Idiocy is not a family value, Maxie.

61. Alki Postings spews:

Give me shit, but don’t make me pay for it.

62. rhp6033 spews:

Funny, the wingnuts cry pretty loudly that anyone questioning American foreign policy are “disprespecting our soldiers in time of war”. But the moment a veteran disagrees with them, they try to argue that they aren’t a “real vet”.

Turns out they only like veterans who agree with them, and trash those that don’t. Hilarious, considering the likes of the Chickenhawks in the Bush administration and right-wing media (Rove, Cheney, Limbaugh).

63. chickenhawk teabagger spews:

Shorter goldy?

Tried to tell you he’s trying to overcompensate for a “short”coming.