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Paying for the budget mess

July 01, 2009

Re "Governor's last stand: his way or IOUs," June 28

What is wrong with the current batch of legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger? I think I know the problem: They believe they are immune from the suffering they have caused.

Governor, we did not say "no new taxes." We said, do the job you are paid to do. You are twisting the facts to fit your predetermined agenda. You need to get out of the way of a solution.

Legislators, every one of you should be stripped of your compensation immediately and retroactively. No paycheck. No per diem. No health insurance. No expenses. No housing allowances.

When you can't afford to function on a daily basis and feel the terror and pain your constituents feel, only then will you begin to get it.

Joan Bien

Moorpark

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I'm horrified to read of the high-stakes game of chicken going on in our state capital.

I have a foster daughter who has a bipolar disorder and is prone to delusionality. I have spent many hours with her in the Social Security office, and I can attest to several truths.

One is that Medi-Cal payments, before any new cuts, are so miserly that it is hard to find doctors who will accept them. Another is that in my foster daughter's case, and I assume in many others, there is so much that is chaotic and difficult that online information and services are not enough; we often need to speak to a human being. Already, reaching a live person requires a great deal of planning and fortitude.

Balancing the budget through cuts alone is inhuman, and it doesn't make any sense from an economic stimulus perspective.

Laurel Gord

Venice

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At last, Schwarzenegger is fulfilling the campaign promise made to the voters over six years ago. This time, though, I hope he doesn't fold like a cheap suit.

In the same article, a political science professor from UC San Diego complains that balancing the budget will cause the closing of parks, the overcrowding of classrooms and throwing sick patients out of hospitals. All of this may be true, but what brought us to this sorry state of affairs?

It is none other than the final common pathway of the welfare state. The taxpayers of California have simply run out of money and can't afford the likes of unsustainable government pensions and wasteful social programs.

The first thing you do when you've dug a hole for yourself is to stop digging. I trust that this time the governor is serious about throwing away the shovel.

Stephen N. Berberich

Surfside

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The most important part of your story was political scientist Bruce Cain's quote: "Until the middle class bleeds in a way they care about, Arnold has the upper hand."

In other words, the governor and the Republicans in the Legislature can get away with shredding most of the social service safety net for California's poor, old and sick because bashing the poor is always good politics.

Middle-class voters only support welfare programs when the economy melts down so far that they themselves become poor -- which hasn't happened yet, despite the current recession, either nationwide or in California.

Mark Gabrish Conlan

San Diego

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It is disheartening to see the governor's attempt to bully legislators a la George W. Bush. If he had spent his time in office working with members of his own party, he might have been able to craft some sort of meaningful relief to the mess he has let this state become.

Bill Ellis

Ladera Ranch

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