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      Jerry Brown, Our Angela Merkel

      This screed came from a close observer of the State Capitol:

      “San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy today. 3rd CA city this month. The poor get poorer… This state won’t recover for 20 years – especially...unempathetic people like Jerry Brown running it. It all comes down to economic inequality and he doesn’t have a damn thing to say about it. Obama says more than he does… and that’s really saying something! Tell your kids to move elsewhere."

      As a friend and sometime ally of Gov. Brown, I have been pondering his irreversible cuts to higher education and social services. It is the fault of the Republicans and the requirements of Prop 13, I know, but there is more. Jerry Brown is on the surface a Buddhist Schumacher “small is beautiful” practitioner, or seen as a follower of Mother Teresa whose compassion was for the dying. An Irish Catholic, he now seems more clearly to be a mother’s son, the German side. This all fits: frugality, penny-pinching, energy efficiency, high tech gadgetry, cuts in social programs...he told me once that consumption is “evil”, and another time, offhandedly, that welfare only helped lonely people eat white bread in their apartments. The other dimensions of Jerry Browns have been real enough, of course, he’s a man of contradictions.

      But in this time of cruel austerity, Jerry Brown turns out to be our Angela Merkel.

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