Economy State Government State Politics

California on the Chopping Block: Is There A Way Out?


Is it me? Or does Arnold Schwarzenegger sound really vengeful?
I get the feeling that, after last week’s vote, if he had the necessary Old Testament power, he would smite us all.

The LA Times reported that just before the governor delivered his blood-drenched new budget proposal to California’s lawmakers, he said he will be giving voters what they want, having “heard the message of the people”

If cornered he would no doubt say otherwise, but I don’t think Arnold means that in a nice way.

Here’s how the San Jose Mercury News reported the slaughterhouse to come:

Faced with a ballooning deficit and a clear signal that voters won’t pay more to fix it,
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released a budget plan Tuesday that would eliminate welfare, drop 1 million poor children from health insurance, cut off new grants for college students and shut down 80 percent of state parks.

In a state that long has prided itself on its social safety net, it could well go down in history as the most drastic reduction in social programs ever. And billions in further cuts will be unveiled later this week.

The governor’s proposal to whack an additional $5.5 billion
from state programs stunned even longtime Capitol-watchers with its blunt force. Ending cash assistance for 1.3 million impoverished state residents, for example, would make California the only state with no welfare program.

“Every single first-world nation has a safety net program for children,” said Will Lightbourne, Santa Clara County’s social services director. “This would return us to the era of Dickens — you’d have to go back to the 19th century to find a comparable proposal.”

All this, and Arnold also proposes cutting all rehabilitative programs within the state’s prisons. Drug treatment, educational classes, anything that might help an inmate once he or she is paroled. Gone. Chopped. Vanished. (This in a state with a 70 percent recidivism rate.)

What to do?



  • Asking the government to live within its means…. How shocking!! Now, California wants daddy to co-sign on an auto loan for an expensive new car rather than paying cash for a clunker that at least runs. — Calif. wants federal government to back its loans Maybe the state should lower its expectations and get by with what it has and can afford.

    Oh, and in the meantime, the state could take a tip from the TV show that clears clutter out of people’s homes. It could drag out all of its possessions, set up three sheets in the yard with signs over them saying “Keep”, “Throw Away”, and “Sell”, place what it owns in the appropriate pile, and do it. The “Keep” pile better be small.

    And, there is a lot of clutter that can be thrown away before you get to your precious social programs.

    Short – it’s time for the state of California to grow up and start acting like an adult.

  • The solution is for Californians to “start acting like adults” and throw out the economic illiteracy that cranks and crackpots like Woody have used to demagogue the electorate. The reason the state is in trouble is precisely because of excess influence by people as profoundly stupid, superficial, selfish and bullying as the Resident Troll. Sad but true that Californians let themselves be bamboozled by that bullshit. The election of Arnold on his idiotic “car tax” rhetoric was the latest episode in the California electorate getting a Woody over some remarkably stupid, childish notion put forth by a shameless, dimwitted blowhard.

  • Terrible that the whole second session of community college summer session has just been announced canceled. Lots of people, adults and high school kids as well were relying on those courses. It may be little known that in addition to adults working towards an AB, high school kids can use community college to get the Science lab, art classes required for entrance to the UC system, as well as those who need to make up or repeat core math, English and computer etc. Just what we need, more electoral illiteracy, more fodder for a.m. talk radio’s demagoguery.

    What really irks me is the idiotic way the May Props were — or weren’t — promoted and explained to the public. All we heard was that general doom would befall us if we didn’t pass the props, and the usual stuff from teachers which unfortunately many people tune out by now. But if they’d said, OK, if it doesn’t pass, here’s what we’ll cut: been specific, from social services to shuttering community colleges for the summer, it would have been more “real.”
    Just before the election when it was clear they would fail, Arnold seemed to finally understand he needed to make the consequences more tangible and specific, but too little too late. And it wasn’t all his fault — no one had foresight.

    This community college cut most hurts working people and those high school students who can’t afford private school and rely on this program. NOW, the brand-new facilities at Santa Monica College will sit closed all summer, when they couldn’t be put to better use than to educate these kids. We’ve spent billions in bond money for the physical plants and the SM College facility just unveiled a beautiful addition paid for with lots of additional philanthropy. L A City College is also the only option for many, as is a college in the valley. How penny-wise, pound-foolish.

    I mention a.m. radio in particular because the screamers like McIntyre were urging their listeners to vote No “on Everything” on the grounds that voting for the props would still leave a huge deficit, so why not let the whole thing implode and go back to the drawing board. Hand the Democrats and that Kennedy Republican Arnold their arses on a plate to send the message, no more taxes! Cut social services for those illegals, figure it out! Idiotic, but the way in which the legislators peddled the situation was far too short on specifics.

  • If any of you worry about zombies coming to eat your brains, hide out at reg’s house – he last place one would expect to find brains.

  • I missed it until now, but another commenter brought up the California loan bailout in an earlier post:

    …fool me twice, shame on me Says:
    May 27th, 2009 at 6:17 pm
    California to U.S.: Back us up for new loans
    State says it needs Washington’s help to stem financial disaster.
    …the state with the worst credit rating in the nation is asking that Washington act as a sort of co-signer on the state’s borrowing, to be backed up with money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

    – –

    reg, California’s financial problems didn’t begin with your current governor.

  • I’d not heard the specific of the community colleges being shuttered for the second session. This is terrible news.

    McIntyre and the like are vile irresponsible mini-demagogues.

    Sadly, I think Arnold’s leadership has been sorely lacking, even though his policy leanings are, for the most part, well balanced.

    It seems we needed to have passed at least 1A and 1C, which is why I recommended doing so, but the fact that there was much wrong with both left voters confused.

    So here we are.

    As reg mentioned, the car tax was a stunt that the governor used to get elected. Now it is one among the hard winds that have combined to create our very, very destructive perfect storm. That and prop. 13, and the term limits that have given us a bunch of spineless, inexperienced, lobby-beholden babies in the state leg, the insane unwillingness of the Repubs to agree to some reasonable closures of tax loopholes and carefully selected tax hikes, a corrections system that continues to eat a gargantuan percentage of whatever part of the state budget that isn’t nailed to either debt service or entitlements….

    Y’all know the list.

    Bottom line: We are so, so screwed.

  • The irony is that Arnold – once elected – began impersonating an adult and I guess he deserves some credit for that. But his election was predicated on precisely the kind of irresponsible, childish demagogy that got us into this rut, starting with Prop 13, through term limits, etc. etc. as you outline. I’ve not been terribly harsh on him in recent years, but when I step back and look at the mess – a TOTALLY unnecessary mess driven by rightwing tax demagogy that was childish and utterly irresponsible in that there was no possiblity of commensurate cuts in spending except by creating an artificial crisis. While this may have been a conscious strategy, it is an inexcusable and totally disingenuous strategy of narcissistic ideologues. Arnold’s election helped poison the well as part of a long line of toxic rightwing assaults on responsible governance.

  • Never liked the guy much, but credit where it’s due – Gray Davis to Arnold:
    “I told him during the transition, you need two things to be successful:
    You need rain in the north and a strong economy. And there is nothing you can do about either one.”

    Whatever happened to that “rainy day fund” Arnold promised us ? It all sounded so good…

  • Ben Dover, of Ben Dover International has just offered free, open membership to all Californians for the next five years. Sorry Woody, but you must be a California resident to accept this free, limited offer.

  • California, Here I Come (yeaaaaaah!)
    Right back where I started from
    where bowers of flowers
    bloom in the spring
    each morning at dawning
    birdies sing at everything
    a sunkissed miss said, “Don’t be late!”
    that’s why I can hardly wait (come on!)
    open up (open up! open up!) that golden gate
    California, Here I Come

  • “We are so, so screwed”

    Oh, it’s crying time again, you’re gonna leave me$$$$
    I can see that far away look in your eyes$$$$
    I can tell by the way you hold me darling Oooh$$$$
    That it won’t be long before it’s crying time$$$$

  • Woody Says:
    May 28th, 2009 at 9:46 am
    I missed it until now, but another commenter brought up the California loan bailout in an earlier post:

    …fool me twice, shame on me Says:
    May 27th, 2009 at 6:17 pm
    California to U.S.: Back us up for new loans
    State says it needs Washington’s help to stem financial disaster.
    …the state with the worst credit rating in the nation is asking that Washington act as a sort of co-signer on the state’s borrowing, to be backed up with money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.



  • Mrs. Salazar, I just wanted to give credit where credit is due about a point that someone made before my similar one.

    – – –

    Celeste: As reg mentioned, the car tax was a stunt that the governor used to get elected. Now it is one among the hard winds that have combined to create our very, very destructive perfect storm.

    Talk about stunts. Look at all the tax break lies that Obama told to get elected. Now, IRS collection are down 34% and Obama is talking about a “value added tax” AFFECTING EVERYONE on top of his major net income tax increases. If your governor created the perfect storm for a government fiscal crisis, then Obama will flood Americans out of homes with his financial version of Hurricane Katrina.

  • If anyone needs another name when posting comments I have a few suggestions.
    1) Wally
    2) Conchita
    3) Mustang Sally
    4) Big Betty
    5) Dan Matthews
    6) Marty with the short pants
    7) Marty sin pantalones (for the spanglish speaking
    8) Robert the Robber Baron
    9) Professor Irwin Corey
    11) Jim the preacher
    12) La Abuelita
    13) Santiago
    14) Hiroshi
    15) Drinking With Tony

  • I guess I better get this in while I can, just in case Arnold reads this blog – Fuck you, Woody ! (Which, of course, is in much better taste than Troll Boy’s relentless bigotry. Which reminds me, the first “fuck you” was for fun. This one’s for your mindless, hateful screeds against gays and minorities – Fuck you, scumbag!)

  • People have been calling for the death of California for, what, 50 years now? 100? As a former California resident, I heard it all before, and after every crisis it all comes back to a simple fact: BILLIONS of people consider California paradise (myself included), and would love to live there if they could. Yes, billions, if you count everyone who has watched movies, and whose idea of paradise ranges from the southern beaches to the northern hills, to wine country and Silicon Valley, to deserts and Yosemite back country, to warm sun and cool air 350 days out of the year. It’s not an accident that the two industries that no country has come close to usurping–computer technology and entertainment–are rooted in California. After the billions of dollars of toxic loans are washed out of the system, there’s simply no doubt that California will be the first to recover. As much as people love to sign its death warrant, these same people will be wagging their tongues to live in Santa Monica, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Barbara, etc., etc. Just a matter of time.

    So cheer up, Californians (if you haven’t already, waking up and stepping out into the gorgeous sunshine and dry air). It’s inevitable.

  • My four proudest achievements – aside from graduating from SFSU – in the three years in which I lived in California are as follows in no particular order:

    1.) Voting for Harvey Milk for supervisor of District 5 because he was the best person for the job.

    2,) Voting No on Proposition 13 June 1978.

    3.) Voting Yes on Proposition 8 June 1978.

    4.) Voting No on Proposition 6 November 1978.

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