Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Pennsylvania As A Snapshot Of The US Political Scene
This article describes the transformation of politics in Pennsylvania. It used to be a state that could settle its differences through compromise. Today it is a mirror image of what we see in Washington. The Republicans in the state legislature are like their peers in Washington. The legislature has been unable to pass a budget that is spartan enough to satisfy Republicans who prefer to dismantle the government. They did not come to Harrisburg to govern; they came to cut taxes and critical public services like education. The local school systems receive 60% of their funding from the state and they have been forced to borrow money in order stay open for business. The state elected a Democratic governor but the legislature controls the purse strings. The state cannot be governed without funding. That is just what the legislature likes. They have followed the example of the GOP controlled House in Washington. They pass short term budgets that keep the lights on in Harrisburg but they cannot agree on compromise budget with the governor who won his election by a wide margin. It also looks like the US in another way. Gerrymandering has made districts safe for both parties. The rural districts look like red states. Social conservatism rules; the cities and suburbs look like blue states. The world's most important nation has become ungovernable.