Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 6, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

SPENDING CAPS....Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal for a constitutional cap on spending increases failed last night, and as usual the LA Times story about it provides no clue about why it failed. Go ahead and read the story yourself and see if you can figure out what the real sticking point was between the Democratic and Republican proposals.

Luckily, the internet allows me to read other newspapers, and apparently the primary point of disagreement was actually pretty simple:

[Communications chief Rob] Stutzman said the biggest obstacle to closing a deal was that Republicans wanted the cap to be based on general operating fund spending of $72 billion a year. Democrats wanted a higher base, $83 billion. Actual spending last year was about $78 billion.

There were some other issues too, but the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Sacramento Bee all seem to agree that the baseline for the spending cap was the biggest point of contention.

This is really starting to piss me off. Why is it that the LA Times, with three separate reporters contributing to their story, can't manage to spend a few paragraphs explaining in plain English what the points of disagreement were? Instead, the story is just an enormous mess that explains nothing except that a bunch of people in Sacramento are unhappy with some other people. Who edits this stuff?

Liberal bias? Conservative bias? Forget it. I think the LA Times Sacramento bureau has an incompetence bias. They insist on writing political stories as soap operas instead of spending some time telling us what's really at stake and what's really going on. They need to knock it off.

Kevin Drum 10:32 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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