Fun! Teachers Union to Take Over Capitol


I, for one, am looking forward to the California Teachers Association's planned takeover of the state Capitol the week of May 9.

I love old-fashioned dinner theater.

And that's all that the teachers' union takeover really is: entertainment. CTA  wants to take the action to oppose any attempts to impose an all-cuts budget. The union's critics claim they are doing Wisconsin-style disruption of government. Both sides are wrong -- becasuse they are overstating the importance of the takeover, and of the Capitol itself.

The takeover is really nothing more than political fun -- in an old timey, quaint sort of way. No one does this sort of thing anymore, because  it's a waste of time. Fiscal decisions aren't made in the Capitol. Decisions on spending and taxation are made by formulas, laws and constitutional amendments that were long ago approved -- mostly by voters themselves.

The budget is merely a formula of formulas. The legislature isn't worth protesting -- or inconveniencing with a Capitol takeover -- because they have so little power. Lawmakers act mostly as a clean-up crew for the fiscal messes created by previous voter decisions. Constitutionally, legislators are janitors in California.

The trouble with CTA's protest may be that it gives the mistaken impression that the legislature has the power to fix the budget mess. It doesn't. So let's hope the teachers' union makes clear that they are going to the Capitol not because the Capitol matters to the current fiscal debate -- but because they want to change the California governing system so that future takeovers of the Capitol won't be a complete waste of time.

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