If Virginia elects [McDonnell], they can look to California as an example of what happens when conservative "starve the beast" economics meets a transitioning 21st century economy: start with gross, across the board underinvestment in public education, from pre-K to city colleges & public universities. Pile on deficits because the government needs to spend on is going to be debt-financed. Watch wages stagnate and unemployment climb even in up business cycles, and then shoot up when the business cycle goes flat, because all the tax cuts and resulting mountains of debt prevent counter-cyclical public sector spending. Don't forge the massive, always-growing inequality (and the resulting increases in political polarization) because the tax cuts are always somehow tilted towards either rich individuals or corporations, or both. (Here in CA we've managed to pass $2.5 billion in tax cuts for corporations, while we were billions of dollars in debt and giving teachers pink slips. Awesome stuff.)Something to think about if you're an undecided voter (or unmotivated Democrat) right now...
Then, get ready to sit in some traffic jams that stretch over the horizon, because those tax cuts that went to the wealthy? They jammed up any investment in public transit or new roads. Even with the Federal government doing the right thing on public investment, you'll be surprised at how much a conservative governor can screw things up. And try not to get stuck on a bridge, too, because all the maintenance budgets are also getting cut.
If McDonnell is really following the Governor Schwarzenegger playbook, you can expect some paper-thin green initiatives that he will make an enormous amount of very public fuss over, and then work to undercut in back room deals, so you're looking at zero progress on investing in green tech or dealing with global warming, but probably some nice tax giveaways for oil & coal. You might even have to close down your parks.
And if any of the workers or anyone in the state house gets organized and call BS on this, expect a bunch of name calling and hissyfits rather than a substantive response.
This is how the conservative economic agenda plays out in reality, underneath their smokescreen of "economic freedom." But the freedom conservatives like McDonnell and Schwarzenegger are talking about always seems to come down to either more stuff or more guns. They're right about one thing: it is our damn money, and it's time we used it to rebuild a functioning civilization and expand real freedom. It's time for American (and Californian, and Virginian) Dream version 2.0, or a second tax revolution. Whatever you want to call it, it's time.
Jerry "Born Again Tax Cutter" Brown is already making noises like he's going to run the same plays next year. California could lose a governor's race to a woman who has only occasionally even bothered to register to vote. Hopefully Virginia can still avoid going through what California's been dealing with for the past five years.
But how many lost elections is it going to take before we start to break this cycle?
P.S. The title of this diary was in part meant as a play on Bob McDonnell's writings about those evil "fornicators."