This is pretty hilarious, and might provide good additional incentive to the idea proposed in yesterday's post:
MADISON – Democrats in Madison say the only way to get a state budget passed is to arrest state lawmakers and force them to negotiate. They are calling the plan the Budget Deadline Enforcement Act. Wisconsin is the only state in the country that has not yet passed a budget. It is 13 weeks late. The plan would force the budget committee to meet after the Senate and Assembly pass budget plans. For the first week, they would meet eight hours, five days a week. If the budget isn’t passed, they would have to meet for nine hours, five days a week. If the budget still isn’t passed, they would have to meet for ten hours, six days a week. Also, police could arrest anyone who didn’t attend a meeting and force them to attend. The committee has met 16 times this year. If the plan were in place, they would have met 72 times. Democrats feel this is better than a government shutdown because a government shutdown hurts innocent people while not forcing lawmakers to meet. Twenty-three other states have government shutdowns when there is no budget.
Indeed! Cuff 'em, throw 'em in a room and don't let 'em leave until the damn thing is worked out. This goes for Republicans and Democrats alike.
And then there's the rumblings in the press about a Republican last-ditch effort to win all the marbles by using ye olde nuclear option, something that I think ought to be avoided at all costs. It smacks of being a childish tactic to get their way.
According to TCT:
Earlier this week, state Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus wrote Republican lawmakers that in the wake of the drubbing the party took at the polls last year, "our Party needed to draw distinct lines between what we stand for as Republicans and what the Democrats stand for, and then hold true to our principles. Thanks to all of you and the Democrats' $18 billion tax hike (for a universal health care program), we have successfully drawn that line in the sand. By being true to our ideals of less government and fewer taxes, we brought our Party together and we can once again be proud to call ourselves Republicans."
Mr. Priebus, did it ever occur to you that the reason your party took such a hit in the elections last year was because people are fed up with the insane policies of the Republicans both in state and at a national level (it was a trend, after all)? Not because you need to get more stubborn and unreasonable about your policies and absolute refusal to spend money on your constituent's well-being.
Look, there is middle-ground to be reached. Taxing the crap out of everyone obviously isn't the answer, but refusing to raise any money for necessary services (and yes, universal health care is a most necessary service) also isn't the answer. The problem may lie in the fact that so many (but not all) politicians seem terribly averse to taxing an appropriate amount from our high-income residents and businesses.
The problem may also lie in the fact that so many politicians, especially Republicans, don't seem to realize that the state needs to raise money if it's to do its job of providing things like good schools, good health care, safer streets and, y'know, the ability to put out fires in a timely manner. In fact, there's a fire at the capitol they should really consider putting out sometime soon, before it spreads and consumes the entire state.