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01/19/2004 Entry: "Schwarzenegger in the Land of Nuts"

"Combine that with the loud and conflicting messages that voters will hear in the coming weeks on Proposition 56, the initiative that would allow budgets to be passed by a 55 percent legislative majority rather than the two-thirds margin now required, and you have the makings of precisely the sort of doubt that causes voters to say 'no' on everything.

"The defeat of the deficit bond would obviously throw all of the governor's budget proposals, already laced with rollovers, borrowing and other Sacramento business-as-usual gimmicks, into a cocked hat. But given the long-term debt the bond would impose on the state and the monster interest costs that come with it, its defeat might not be the unmitigated disaster that Schwarzenegger is warning us about.

"Or, to put it another way, passing the bond could be a much bigger disaster than its defeat."

What's that thing deGaulle used to say about France? "How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese?" There has to be a comparable quote for CA, like, "How can anyone govern a state that has 246 different number one priorities?" Okay, needs work, but you get my drift.

*snip*

"But he's (Angelides [bio]) not leaving any doubts that he thinks the governor is on the wrong track -- that Schwarzenegger has proposed an 'appalling budget' and that he intends to remind Californians that the disinvestment in education, infrastructure and other public assets is a huge mistake. As treasurer, he says, he'll fight for a budget 'that's truly balanced,' not one papering over a $14 billion structural deficit with another $8 billion in borrowing, rollovers and raids on other funds.

"Whether those reminders are just part of the treasurer's responsibilities or the beginning of a gubernatorial campaign lies in the eye of the beholder. Next week Angelides will visit university campuses to argue that the governor's acknowledged limitations on access and financial aid are a breach of the state's long-term commitments.

"Beyond that low-key campaign, however, there's that broader message about the national culture of irresponsibility -- the relentless attacks on regulation and taxes 'that have no respect for the legitimate role of public investment (emphasis mine).' Those attacks are 'such a powerful force. ... It has to be repelled.'

"If Schwarzenegger has a Plan B, he's not likely to talk about it much before the election. So far what he's mostly doing is warning that if his bond doesn't pass, the state will be bankrupt -- which in fact can't happen. States can't file for bankruptcy.

"What defeating the bond would do is to force the governor -- and the state -- to stop denying the fiscal facts and confront the reality of California's situation. Plan B is overdue."
Peter Schrag: Schwarzenegger's fiscal strategy: Where's Plan B?, by Peter Schrag, SacBee, January 14, 2004

 

 

 

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