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Brown in Latin: 'Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Jerry Brown's Monday press conference to announce his revised budget proposal was full of warnings, including this from the philosopher Thomas Hobbes: if the legislature doesn't adopt his proposal, California politics will break down into "bellum omnium contra omnes" -- a war of all against all.

    By that, he meant that instead of settling the budget in the legislature, groups across the political spectrum would bring forth initiatives raising or cutting taxes, and attacking their enemies.

    Brown's budget proposal was much less interesting than his rhetoric -- which drew on his classical education -- and contained only a few relatively modest changes. He said the temporary extension of income taxes he wants would be for only four years, instead of five. He dropped his proposal to eliminate state enterprise zones, not because they are effective (they aren't) but because the votes aren't there to kill them. And there are proposals to eliminate more than 40 boards and commissions.

    But in essence, Brown is doubling down on his original plan -- a mix of cuts and tax extensions. And he wants voters to approve those tax extensions, even though he now says that the extensions could go into effect before the actual vote.