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.
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.
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.”