Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stopping Right Here

Note: Left Ahead! is not yet listed with LeftyBlogs. So, I cross-post this here in the interim.

A huge and recurring progressive issue in Massachusetts has never been more obvious than it is with our new administration. It is the political problem of where does the buck stop or who's going to bell the cat.

Through years of Pollyanna pretending, we have downplayed fundamental problems and funding concerns. Everyone acknowledges we have a sluggish economy here. Now, Gov. Deval Patrick has ripped the sheet off the rest of the mess.

A few legislators still pretend that our huge deficit -- likely over a billion dollars this year -- is really an accounting and framing issue. You can understand why they would say that. It helps relieve them of their culpability in spending on pet projects while ignoring the hard funding issues.

The Patrick administration is saying the king has no clothes, or in this case, the infrastructure is crumbling and needs a massive overhaul of spending priorities to fix it. Likewise, the governor calls out corporations for their tax contributions that are among the lowest of any state and shrinking toward zero.

Here again, it's understandable that legislators want to watch out for and even protect their big contributors and golf buddies. Patrick is willing to: 1) admit that in his previous corporate life he hired people to exploit just such tax escape hatches, and 2) it's time that this game is over in Massachusetts.

Here we come to the roots of progressive politics. You identify the problems that are hurting the public, you are willing to take responsibility for fixing them, and you specify the solutions.

This may be quite a shock to the General Court. It can only make them stronger as they have to deal with reality. It can only help us.

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