Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election victories, but a bit of a libertarian tint

It was a good election, for the most, part speaking from my vantage point in the great state of Washington. Obviously, I'm glad Barack Obama won.

Also exciting are election results in 3 states where gay marriage was approved including here in Washington. Recreational use of marijuana was approved also.

Jump up and down for joy and then realize that Tim Eyman, the generator of many conservative anti tax initiatives in our state, is celebrating also. Eyman's Initiative 1185 passed with a large margin. I-1185 requires a 2/3 majority in the legislature for any tax increase. I voted against 1185, but realize that it's part of a libertarian streak in both this state and country. There's still a small government, anti authority stripe in our culture. Some of that is good, but it can cause conflict when we expect teachers to be paid and our roads repaired.

Speaking of conflict, now that we have approved marijuana use, here in Washington, the stage is set for a showdown with federal authorities who still see marijuana as illegal and may try to enforce the law as federal law supersedes state law. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the deficit ridden federal government have the money to pay for enough police to enforce it's laws without cooperation at the local level?

Our culture's ambivalence over the role of government is also heading us right into the "fiscal cliff." That's when a bunch of difficult things come to pass like the dreaded sequester of across the board spending cuts to both military and domestic programs. It was approved by Congress last year in a deficit cutting compromise. Something has to be done about that to keep the military, Medicare and all those things running at the levels people seem to expect.

Our culture's libertarian influence is good in a way, but also problematic. It helps to keep us free from too much government control, but there's always a tradeoff. We also expect comforts from having the largest military in the world and programs such as Medicare. These all use government funding.

Of course, if we can innovate and figure out how to do these things without government, we've got it made, but that's a bit of a stretch.

Meanwhile, if the federal authorities can afford enough police to try to enforce federal marijuana laws in the state, I guess we can say "bug off." That's the American libertarian stripe. It's kind of a double edged sword.

Big victories for Democratic Party in many parts of the country. Picked up two seats in the US Senate. First openly gay senator among them.

In California, democrats have more than simple majority in both houses of the Legislature. Also Californians did vote to tax themselves more. Prop 30 passed. Part of the reason why it passed is that they took a good look at what would happen if it didn't pass. They worked out an alternative budget that showed them the cuts in schools and so forth. The voters passed the tax as opposed to suffering the alternative. It was spelled out quite clearly by Governor Brown, so I hear from listening to podcasts on KQED Radio. Michael Krasney's Forum show has done stuff about it.

Be careful, though, in California. Since the Democrats have control in the legislature and governor's mansion, they might get blamed if it screws up. California often leads the way.

It's been a good election to celebrate.

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