By Peak News Contributor Dave Diepenbrock

What do we really want government to do about its overspending? That's a question in Washington and Colorado. Some answers (and who gives them) are:      

  • Raise taxes (say some Democrats);
  • Cut spending and benefits (say some Republicans);
  • Compromise, do some of both (say some pundits).

These options get mixed reactions, according to an LA Times/Dornsife poll (PDF) from a few months ago. California Independents were asked two questions, one about cutting benefits and the other about raising taxes. Combining the results (h/t Drew Lieberman for a special report) gives us this outcome:

  • Compromise (hike taxes and cut benefits) = 19%
  • Raise taxes only (a la Democrats) = 19%
  • Cut benefits only (GOP idea) = 10%
  • Status quo (no tax or benefit changes) = 32%
  • All others (don't know, etc.) = 21%

As you can see, these Independents don't support Republicans, or Democrats or Pundits. And 50+% think, “there's gotta be another choice here.”  

So what's a poor politician to do? It's a real question here in Colorado in a different context.  

Governor Hickenlooper's budget would deny seniors their property tax break while Republicans pledge to continue the program that helps seniors (like my wife and me) affordably stay in their homes.  

Hickenlooper doesn't have the better political position here. Republicans do. Since this ballot measure was approved broadly by Colorado voters, Republican legislators have the backing of Coloradans on this issue.  

As reported here previously, seniors are a growing, crucial sector of the electorate. In 2010 Hick got only 44% of their votes. Maybe that's why he's so willing to throw grandma under the bus?  

And since public sector labor unions give vast campaign cash to Democrats, it wouldn't do for Hickenlooper to take a hard look at the size of state government, would it? Hick's thinking may be, “When I took office last year, we had 8,200 more state government employees than four years before when Republican Governor Bill Owens left office. That's a lot of union dues and political contributions from those unions. Can't cut there. Not gonna do it.”  

It's the old line from Watergate: “Follow the money.”