Renewing California: The Challenge Of Rough Times

By Jack D. Forbes –

As we all know, our great state is facing terrible times, largely the result of the takeover of the Republican Party by ultra-fanatical and  wealthy factions accompanied by the failure of many Democrats to adhere to the pro-democracy principles of their own party.

We have been led into a “Great Recession” nationally because of the continued efforts of the GOP, with Blue Dog help, to undo all of the banking and other reforms of the Roosevelt New Deal. We have been led back into the treacherous policies of the 1920s and even back into the 1890s, with apparently no enforcement of the anti-trust and other reform laws that our forefathers and mothers fought so hard to carve out of a vicious system of inequality.

Now we are back, almost, at square one, facing the incompetence of many of our leaders, the corruption of others, and the ignorance of many plain folks deluded by residual racism and by the notion that the “rich folks” know best. In short, many of our people are back to the days of the Russian serfs and Southern slaveocracy, willing to let “Old Master” rip off our state and our society.

The secret of maintaining control is, of course, to dumb down the masses with inferior education, lousy schools (especially for non-whites), frightened teachers, lots of unemployed and underemployed, a narrow gateway open for upward mobility with dog-eat-dog competition, lack of worker solidarity, and lots of Roman circuses to distract us from the task of understanding what is actually going on.

What we may be witnessing is the permanent destruction of the California dream. The big question is if it is an “accidental” result of selfish profiteering or if it is a permanent downgrading of our quality of life as jobs continue to be shifted to other countries and to robots in our midst. Very few folks talk, these days, about the loss of jobs to machines and robots, but walk into any bank or former office building to see the people who are no longer there. And this is something that we are being asked to do to ourselves, to save trees (they tell us with a sly grin).

In any case, how do we combat what is happening to California? First, I suggest that we face the reality that it is the loss of jobs in the  public sector that is now our greatest danger. Every one of the state and local employees let go will have to drastically cut spending and will have to join the long lines of the already unemployed. This will hurt the entire state’s local business economy.

The Great Depression taught us that the creation of jobs is the number one way to bring an end to deepening recession. Giving the rich more money does not create jobs. They salt away their money, all too often, leaving us poorer and them richer! Jobs create spenders and spenders create jobs. State government must expand employment, not reduce it.

Reducing the public work force not only cheats our children and our entire population, but also results in lousy highways, poor transit service, bumpy railroad lines, higher crime, devastating forest fires, unmet social needs, and abandoned handicapped persons.

California must amend the state Constitution to require democratic voting (majority voting) in our legislature. But while we are waiting to restore democracy in the legislature we must let the anti-revenue legislators know that they will be turned out of office unless they protect our schools, colleges, universities, clinics, and civic infrastructure from devastating long-term damage.

[Jack D. Forbes has spent many decades studying the effects of racism, expansionism, and profiteering on the United States. His book COLUMBUS AND OTHER CANNIBALS has become widely read since it is applicable to our contemporary problems]

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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4 Comments

  1. rusty49

    So how do you profess to do that, increase taxes on an already hurting and overtaxed populace in order to save public service jobs? I don’t think the people are going to go for that anymore. The best solution is to lower taxes and regulations and let the private sector pull us out, it’s always worked before.

  2. justoutsidetown

    Pure Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.. that is WHY we have a republic.. to not have a tyranny of the majority Mr. Forbes.

  3. E Roberts Musser

    “We have been led into a “Great Recession” nationally because of the continued efforts of the GOP, with Blue Dog help, to undo all of the banking and other reforms of the Roosevelt New Deal.”

    Both parties are to blame for not “taking care of business” (pun intended).

    “California must amend the state Constitution to require democratic voting (majority voting) in our legislature.”

    And have virtually no restraint on spending?

    “But while we are waiting to restore democracy in the legislature we must let the anti-revenue legislators know that they will be turned out of office unless they protect our schools, colleges, universities, clinics, and civic infrastructure from devastating long-term damage.”

    Protect them how, with what money? Tax the rich? The rich will just move elsewhere to avoid being taxed. Tax the middle class? They are tapped out.

    “State government must expand employment, not reduce it.”

    Expand employment with what? The state cannot even hold onto the jobs it currently supports economically.

    “Every one of the state and local employees let go will have to drastically cut spending and will have to join the long lines of the already unemployed. This will hurt the entire state’s local business economy.”

    Absolutely true. It is imperative the state try and keep the jobs it has – even if that means convincing state employees to start taking pay cuts for the good of all.

  4. Plankton

    Mr. Forbes you nailed it. Thank you! California is the only state in the Union to require a 2/3rds majority to pass legislation. However, even if we had a majority-vote rule we’d still have a do-nothing governor in the pocket of the republican billionaire good ole boys in the central valley making it virtually impossible for the legislature to get any meaningful legislative work done. Further and shifting gears, there are fewer state employees per capita in California than in most states in this country. Hence, the continuous California republican drumbeat to crucify the state employees and their unions is nothing more than a “red-herring”. The republicans have devolved to become the “party of no” with absolutely no new ideas of their own in terms of how to end the recession. All they and their candidates do these days is to lie,whine and mouth sound-bites that can’t survive 2 minutes of scrutiny. The dems in California, while weak and feckless,at least believe in having a functional middle-class. I’ve actually got some hope that November won’t be the end of the California dream that Whitman and Fiorina victories would precipitate. While bruised and cynical,I don’t believe the majority of California voters are going to sit it out like the republicans are hoping.

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