If you don't live in California and follow Calitics, you may not appreciate how thoroughly our Last Action Hero governor has wrecked the state, and how barbaric his latest proposals are. We're getting his soundbites that not only involve massive cuts to education and public safety, removing health care coverage for a million children, and taking away home health care services for the disabled and elderly, but also killing AIDS patients by denying them their medicine. Down With Tyranny lays out the Collateral Damage.
But the savagery of his philosophy became apparent over the weekend when his round of cuts to the prison budget included saving 900 million a year scrapping substance abuse counseling, vocational training and other rehabilitation programs for inmates.
The seeds of our current budget crisis were planted during the recall campaign, when movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to find 4 billion a year in waste and inefficiency in the government, enough to pay for cutting one of the most stable and broad-based revenue streams, the Vehicle License Fee, or more commonly, the "car tax". This long-existing tax of 2% of the value of vehicles was mildly progressive, since those with newer and more expensive vehicles paid more.
Since the Governator never found his savings from reform, he borrowed extensively to pay for his car tax cut, and to cover money lost by the elimination of the California Estate tax.
And by a quirk of California accounting, since the tax cut came from state funds to replace local funds that had been raided, the tax cut is booked as a spending increase. Seven Billion Dollars A Year in tax cuts and borrowing to pay for tax cuts booked as expenses. Wingnuts, media, and DINO Diane Feinstein now say that we have to cut spending to stop this growth in spending, when there has actually been no net growth in California programs, except prisons, when adjusted for population and inflation.
Voters rejected the latest round of initiatives forced on the state by Schwarzenegger and regressive legislators in the Yacht party, and now the Republicans are using this election as a mandate to savagely attack the poorest and most vulnerable among us. California will be the only state without a Welfare to Work program and our penal system will be a national shame that makes Guantanamo look like a quaint outlier.
Schwarzenegger has failed as Governor, twice launching and campaigning for packages of initiatives that failed, and in the process earning the open scorn of his own party and the disgust of every progressive.
Arnold needs to resign.
California's downward spiral is a national problem, far greater in magnitude than the travails of an auto industry.
Contact President Obama today and ask him to stop supporting Arnold's barbarism. The President needs to ask Schwarzenegger to resign as a condition for loan guarantees for short-term debt. The Governator has failed California and failed the nation.
If we can ask the head of a failed bank, insurance company, or auto company to step down, why not demand the resignation of the Worst Governor Ever?
For all our sakes, this staggering fool needs to step aside, and let the Lieutenant Governor, John Garamendi, start trying to fix the state without declaring war on children, the poor, the pregnant, the elderly, the disabled, and the inmates.
We know what we need to do to fix California, which includes a balance of broad-based revenue increases combined with significant budget cuts, a restoration of the state estate tax, an oil extraction tax, an end to loopholes for corporate property taxes, and more progressive income taxes. We can't afford to cut tens of thousands of jobs in a reeling economy, and we can't attract new jobs if we butcher our public education system and rape our local governments.
As California goes, so goes the nation.
Arnold needs to go, immediately.