By John Johnson
—Ask the City Council and Sacramento to Not Balance Their Budgets on the Backs of the Poor and Working Class.
The Los Angeles City Council has approved a plan to cut city services and eliminate 761 jobs. The $6.7 billion budget would cut child-care positions, reduce library hours, increase the cost of parking tickets, and allow for up to 26 furlough days for city employees during the next fiscal year, starting July 1. The City Council also called for unions to offer about $100 million in pay cuts and medical and pension contributions. Are these measures too drastic, and are there other options?
Also in the arts the Council is considering the closing of Odyssey Theatre. “This could have a devastating impact on: SPARC,
Beyond Baroque, LA Theatre Works, LATC, Plaza de La Raza, Odyssey Theatre, Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, just to name a few.
A large portion of parking meters in LA are broken and many unwarranted tickets are issued. The cost of traffic tickets has gone up, with fees and extras, a speeding ticket can cost $1000. For a lawyer that’s an hour’s work, but for your regular working person that can be two weeks of work.
The Governator has made one final effort to destroy as many social programs as possible including public education where he is cutting the K-12 budget anywhere from just under $900 million to $1.5 billion, depending on who’s counting. And even with higher education, although he technically kept his bizarre pledge to increase funding for this sector, he did so at the cost of increased student fees, which can only reduce the overall effect.
He is also calling for eliminating California’s welfare-to-work program, which would affect 1.4 million people, two-thirds of them children.
Let’s see, we are spending about a Trillion on Defense, with large portions for killing Afghanis and another Trillion for useless military bases around the world.
Banksters, Wall Streeters, etc. have siphoned about another Trillion pretty much into their own pockets. The home mortgage companies and banks made billions by artificially raising housing costs and then left the mess, like thousands of vacant houses, to local governments to clean up, bill em for it!
Proposition 13 did help some lower income home owners keep their houses but it gave large landholders a huge unwarranted benefit, maybe we can change that.
Under Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s the top marginal individual income tax rate fell from 70% to 28% called “trickle-down economics,” say what!. There was a massive and unneeded increase in Cold War related defense spending, (a boondoggle for the Defense Industry) which caused large budget deficits, a U.S. trade deficit expansion, and contributed to the Savings and Loan crisis, sound familiar? In order to cover new federal budget deficits, the United States borrowed heavily both domestically and abroad, raising the national debt from $700 billion to $3 trillion, and the United States moved from being the world’s largest international creditor to the world’s largest debtor nation. And Bush Jr. was able to duplicate and increase that.
The LA City Council also ought to keep their hands off the medical marijuana issue. The people passed it, no one wants these draconian drugs laws anymore, no one thinks addicts should be imprisoned. Its not a moral or legal issue, it’s a health issue, so leave it alone.
Recently I appealed my month Social Security payments, because it seemed many quarters I had worked weren’t on my record, among other issues, including that the IRS misadvised me, the FBI tried to get me fired from jobs, etc. So I went in for a meeting at the local office and was asked a series of questions about my current financial state. Turned out the reason was to see if I qualified for a low income and assets payment. But it turned out you cannot have more than $2000 to qualify. $2000? One would have to be practically living on the street. It sounded like something that was put in the law in the Thirties when $2000 was actually a decent amount of money. It’s crazy, sometimes “our” government is worthless. Great if you’re a banker and need a bail out, not so much for the rest of us.
I’ve written and email to Congressman Berman (whose local aid at least tried to help), Senator Boxer, the President, the IRS, the Justice Dept., just to get back form letters, bureaucratic responses and one threat.
Two weeks ago I emailed President Obama an suggested that if he didn’t do something very strong about the oil spill that it could be his Katrina. I guess he didn’t read my email.