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

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.

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

3. Trade a
cut in the sales tax rate for an extension of sales tax to all products and

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

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

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

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.