One of the original taglines for HA was “an (almost) daily blog on Washington state politics and the press,” and my original intention was to focus mostly on media criticism. I was a child of Watergate who grew up idolizing journalists as defenders of democracy, but my accidental adventure as a subject of media coverage gave me a personal tour into how the sausage was made that left me, well, more than a bit disillusioned.
And thirteen years later, disillusioned I remain:
Republicans and Democrats in Olympia worked hard to produce thoughtful education plans, but both fall short. Trying to spend as little as possible is usually the right thing for them to do. But in this case, it’s likely to prolong the legal fight that’s kept the state in limbo and shortchanged students for decades.
Oh Jesus. First, Republicans and Democrats in Olympia most definitely did not work hard to produce thoughtful education plans. The Republicans were obstructionist as usual, gleefully seeking to use the McCleary crisis to stick it to Seattle homeowners while strategically defunding the rest of state government. There is absolutely nothing thoughtful about their levy-swap smoke and mirrors—it was bullshit when Rob McKenna ran on it, and it is bullshit today. Their only goal is shrinking state government, period, whatever the cost in human misery, because they are a stupid, deceitful, mean-spirited, and profoundly pathological party. (Notice the lack of the word “thoughtful” in that string of adjectives.)
As for the Democrats, I don’t question their motives, but my God could we possibly elect a bigger bunch of fucking cowards? Vote to raise taxes, goddammit—bigly!—and then run on your record of trying to get something the fuck done! You lose elections when you stand for nothing. Try standing for something besides “values” for a change, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the polls.
Second, “trying to spend as little as possible is usually the right thing for them to do”…? Really? Try supporting your goddamn thesis, Brier, instead of laying this steaming turd out there like it’s some undisputed gem of fiscal wisdom! It’s not. It’s a steaming turd. In reality, the big problem in Washington State has long been that we are not spending enough money—on education, on mental health, on our foster care system, on transportation, and on many other crucial public goods and services. And we’re not spending enough money because we’re not raising enough money. Which brings us to the third sentence of this trite piece of editorial fluff:
Um, you know who’s really “shortchanged students for decades,” Brier? Your fucking garbage pit of an editorial board, that’s who!
Yeah, sure, I agree with the main thesis of your column, but you and your fellow editorialists need to take a little personal responsibility. Your publisher and your ed board have aggressively opposed meaningful tax reform for decades, despite being repeatedly confronted with actual math that proved our current funding crisis was inevitable. INEVITABLE, goddammit! Totally unavoidable! We have a structural revenue deficit. It’s baked in to our absurdly antiquated (and cruelly regressive) tax structure. This is what comes from an over-reliance on a sales tax that grows revenue slower than the natural rate of growth of the cost of providing public services at a constant level. There’s no getting around it.
So instead, of vague platitudes and half-hearted half-references to the need for “new taxes,” it’s time for you and your paper to get out in front of this issue and demand that legislators pass an income tax. Because you fucking well know that taxing income is the only option that raises the “ample” funding you claim you want. And while we don’t need you to apologize for the selfishly destructive role your paper has played in creating this crisis, you damn well better acknowledge it if you and your ed board ever want to be taken seriously on budget issues again. (Assuming you ever were.)
Wait. No, actually. Fucking apologize. Because honestly, your paper has been so fucking dishonest on this issue that none of you deserve even an emphysematous whisper of a voice in this debate until you issue an institutional mea culpa for being so goddamn awful for so goddamn long.
And oh, if you think this rant was worded a bit too strong, prove me the fuck wrong.