The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

April 27, 2009
A game of fiscal chicken

The Democratic Party's refusal to endorse (by the required supermajority) the budget package on the May 19 ballot, following the Republican Party's decision to oppose the measures, means more of the same from the state's grass-roots political activists. The Democrats balked mostly because of the spending cap in Prop. 1A, although they also were not wild about shifting money from special funds for mental health and children's programs to other priorities, as proposed in Props 1D and 1E. Earlier, the Republicans opposed the measures because they didn't like the idea of extending the temporary taxes in the package from two years to four years, as proposed in Prop. 1A.

Although the combination of the two parties' positions might help tank the package, both sides cannot ultimately prevail. They are playing a game of fiscal chicken. Eventually, there will be either more cuts, as the Republicans desire, more revenue, as the Democrats want, or a combination of both, as this package proposes.

The Democrats seem to think that a bigger crisis will lead voters to repeal the two-thirds requirement for raising taxes, and with a new Democratic governor in 2010, they will get their revenue without a spending limit. The Republicans think just the opposite will happen: a crisis will prompt the voters to slap a strict spending limit on the Legislature, forcing a solution that relies only on spending cuts.

While that might be the thinking of the parties' hard-core activists, it doesn't appear to reflect the beliefs of the broader electorate. Polls continue to show that most folks accept that any real solution is going to have to include more revenue and more cuts. But that's not necessarily who will be voting on May 19. So the props could very well fail.

And then we will get to see which side wins this all-or-nothing fight to the death.







About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter