Our political will
As I write this column, the
news headlines declare the recall of the governor of California. They
also announce the election of a new governor who has no plan to remedy
the budget problems that triggered the recall! From the outside, it looks
like the people of California have once again opted for a “no-pain”
solution to problems that will require sacrifice to remedy. The voters
seem to lack the political will to come to grips with their problems.
We don’t defend the recalled
governor of the Golden State. We who watched him shape the California
electric utility deregulation plan had already questioned his credentials.
After watching him patch together the remedy for his deregulation train
wreck, we considered ourselves lucky to live in a state safe from its
As we observe the politics
of California, we can’t help but ponder the politics and the political
will of other states with budget problems. If California is in terrible
financial shape, how did it get there? Those who live there tell us their
budget problems grew big because they failed to deal with them when they
The lack of political will
can get a state into budget trouble quicker than a cat can wink. A harbinger
of growing budget problems is the reaction of an elected official who,
when asked how to remedy a problem, will respond by pointing a finger
of blame at someone else.
Another indicator of an impending
political train wreck is the careless use of petition governance. The
abuse of legislation by petition will happen if voters fail to support
elected officials willing to deal with unpopular issues in a timely manner.
Trying to solve complicated budget deficits through “sounds good”
ballot measures often serves to accelerate the problem. Again, we can
look to California for some recent examples of how not to govern through
But let’s quit picking
on California. Instead, let’s wish them our very best and hope that
the course of action they have chosen will turn out to be the right one.
Let us pray that they can balance their budget with their latest venture
into painless remedies. Goodness knows, the 47 states facing growing deficits
would welcome and quickly adopt a “no pain” plan tried and
proven in California.
An alternative course of action
may be to: 1. Admit to having a budget problem, 2. Everyone accept some
of the blame, 3. Adopt bipartisan remedies for a balanced budget, 4. Gather
the political will of the voters and 5. Get on with it!
Our dictionaries define the
word “will” as the power of making reasoned choice. I couldn’t
find a definition for “lack of will.” I may need to refer
to the “D” section and look under disaster.
Stork was executive
vice president of the Association of Missouri
Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op.