The news is in on the Oklahoma state budget: we’re cuttin’ it while we are also drawing down our state’s savings accounts and raiding the unclaimed property fund to avoid even deeper cuts.
Any way you look at it, we are gobbling up our seed corn. That’s a sign, folks, as clear as if angels of God flew over Oklahoma City blowing trumpets of doom.
Lots of people are working busy as bees. But somehow the resources for the common good continue to shrink. The unwillingness of the Legislature to do something simple like postpone their programmed tax cut is rooted in an ideology driven by fear. Those who have are worried because these days they have less than they used to have. In such a situation, the common good gets left behind for the wolves to devour. We’ve seen this in history before and now we see it unfolding in our own lives and neighborhoods.
While the Legislature starves the common good, it continues to reward its friends with generous corporate welfare checks. But here again, there isn’t quite enough to go around. So we’ve seen some entertaining fights among the various Republican special interests over the remaining loot. Rural versus urban. Chamber of Commerce versus the Tea Party. Oil versus wind. (Wind lost, btw.)
There are a few bits of good news from this session. There’s been some minor movement on our over-criminalization and over-incarceration problems. That in itself is a sign of how dire our situation is getting as the “lock ’em up and throw away the key” crowd is getting a dose of reality. And the legislature reduced the signatures necessary to place a new party on the ballot.
But the bad news is dominant: we continue to gobble up our capital and misallocate our resources. Something wicked this way comes — the day when the seed corn is gone and our savings are depleted. That will be an interesting session of the legislature, you bet.
The song the Republican Caucus is singing these days:
This is the way to collapse the state, collapse the state, collapse the state. This is the way to collapse the state, so early in our history.