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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Signs of intelligent life?

Health warning: Regular readers with certain medical conditions may wish to consider whether this column could be hazardous to their health. It contains content that suggests not all Republicans are terminally clueless naysayers.

For those of you who remain, a quick caveat. That disclaimer doesn't mean I'm jumping ship. Or that all the money-saving ideas offered by the minuscule Senate Republican caucus have merit. But I am impressed they have actually offered some ideas, any ideas instead of the usual GOP "No."

Fear not, the "welfare car" brouhaha is not being endorsed here --although I would support any GOP move to eliminate their own transportation per diems. I'm not holding my breath.

But as the Senate considers such oldies but goodies like racinos and sales tax increases, it would be worth taking a closer look at some ways to close the ballooning gap between revenue and spending.

The GOP agenda has some oldie, moldies too, including vaguely worded calls to eliminate "prescription medication waste." And it does suggest that not all tax breaks are created equal because they call for the end to the film industry tax credit and the life sciences "biotech bailout."

But two suggestions seem worthy of at least discussing: repeal of the Pacheco Law and a statewide wage and hiring freeze on non-essential government employees.

The Globe's Scot Lehigh discusses the pros and cons of the Pacheco Law, which limits the state's ability to contract with private firms for services they can deliver more efficiently than state workers.

A wage and hiring freeze would match the action of virtually every other employer in the commonwealth.

In the end, the GOP package, even if it was adopted in its entirety with its fair share of stale clinkers, would not close the gap. Taxes, as much as we don't like them, are inevitable in an economy that has collapsed along with the rest of the nation and world.

But there are a couple of worthwhile reforms other than pension, ethics and transportation that ought to be addressed. And the phone booth-sized caucus deserves some credit for putting a couple of ideas on the table instead of mimicking its DC counterparts and just bellowing "No."

You may now return to normal reading of this blog.

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Blogger Chris Rich said...

Once upon a time, the Mass GOP consisted of larger than life blue bloods and colleagues of a similar bent who entered public service out of a sense civic spirit and noblesse Oblige'.

We had Frank Sargeant, Elliot Richardson, Ed Brooke, Chub Peabody and comparably principled and benevolent sorts who attempted to leave the Commonwealth better than they found it.There was a faint trace of A Lincoln in them.

Back then Democrats were the epicenter of crooked ward heelers and loveable rogues who took their lead from James Micheal Curley.

Weld might have been the last of that GOP cohort and the two Senators from Maine are about as close to that outlook as we get.

The Boomer and beyond versions of the Mass GOP have mainly been low brow money grubbers and tax whiners who labor at the rock candy mountain myth of something for nothing.

The offspring of the Old GOP guard eventually morphed into a Limousine liberal wing of a Democratic cohort still largely dominated by crooked ward heelers and scoundrels less loveable than old Curley in an uneasy alliance with the Limousines who are less adept at fighting dirty.

It should come as no surprise that this wretch pack of preening narcissists and grubby grafters has left us with the commonwealth at its most degraded and run down state in living memory, the old pooch of a state just has too many ticks.

May 20, 2009 10:44 AM  

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