(originally published at Fox & Hounds Daily)
If you follow sports, this is the season of trades. The baseball non-waiver trading deadline just passed with a flurry of deals. And the National Football League has seen a week full of trades, with more to come.
If only we could make trades in California governance. But you know how that goes - gridlock, supermajorities, legal realities.
But it's summer, so let's leave reality aside. Here are five deals that would be worth swinging, if we could.
1. Trade Gov. Jerry Brown to Texas for cash, and a jobs strategy.
Texas has money in its reserve fund it doesn't want to use because Gov. Rick Perry prefers to cut schools and health programs first. And, as it happens, Jerry Brown still has political capital that he apparently doesn't want to use on any of the big changes the state needs. So let's make an exchange of underutilized assets.
Gavin Newsom would ascend to the governorship. Yes, that prospect is a little scary, but at least he's got strategies on political reform and jobs.
2. Republicans trade away the 2/3 vote for taxes for an honest election system.
The GOP has clung to the 2/3 vote like a declining superstar, even though it's outlived its usefulness - and may soon be retired. Time to get something for the 2/3 vote while it still has value. And Republicans are getting hurt by an election system that exaggerates Democratic strength. (More on the virtues of this trade here [LINK:
3. Trade a cut in the sales tax rate for an extension of sales tax to all products and services.
This should be a win-win for all teams. Such a deal would collect more badly needed revenue for the state while giving a badly needed break to businesses that actually sell things. Conservatives should like this move since it ends the practice of government picking winners (people who sell services) and losers (everyone else). Maybe Amazon could be convinced to drop its referendum as part of the deal.
4. Trade away redistricting and top two primary and get instead election changes that would actually make politics more competitive.
Take a look at the redistricting maps. They have produced districts that are strikingly similar to the districts produced by the notorious 2001 gerrymander. And all the promised new political competition hasn't materialized. The top-two primary is on its way to being a dud too.
But these two reforms - redistricting and top two primary - still have value, because good government types believe in them contrary to all evidence. So it's a good time to trade them for an election system that uses proportional representation - and thus would introduce competition everywhere in California, and thus make every vote count.
5. Trade the state of California out of the U.S. and into the European Union for future considerations.
Yeah, the EU has its troubles. But the Euro is stronger than the dollar. And the EU bails out its members when they are in trouble. The U.S. government's new debt limit deal will reduce support to the states, deepening the budget crisis in California.
What could we give the U.S. in return for granting us our leave? Free trade. We'd still let them use military bases within the California borders.