by John Hawkins | May 20, 2009 11:49 am
Arnold Schwarzenegger ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism, but like most other politicians who sell themselves that way, he quickly abandoned any and all pretenses of financial responsibility.
As a sidenote, that’s very common. Many people falsely believe that social conservatives tend to be fiscally irresponsible — and while such animals do exist, see George W. Bush for example, what you find in Congress is that almost all of the fiscally conservative pols are also socially conservative while the Republicans who aren’t fond of the Christian wing of the Party, with rare exceptions, aren’t serious about small government and reduced spending either.
But, back to the topic at hand. After recalling Gray Davis for his financial irresponsibility, Californians got a candidate promising fiscal responsibility, who turned out to be even more of a big spender than Davis.
Now, the bill is coming due and the gap is almost unbridgeable. Meanwhile, Californians, who are hurting badly in this terrible economy and have a double digit unemployment rate that’s one of the highest in the nation, have no interest in giving up more of their hard earned money for the state government to waste on frivolous programs,
An angry electorate soundly defeated a slate of special election budget measures Tuesday, a decision that left Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers holding virtually nothing but a scalpel to deal with California’s $21.3 billion shortfall.
Schwarzenegger, who dropped Election Day campaigning to attend a White House announcement on new auto fuel standards, was scheduled to return Wednesday to meet with legislators and discuss options for the budget.
“The longer we wait, the worse the problem becomes and the more limited our choices will be,” the governor said in a statement issued after the propositions were decided. “That is why tomorrow, we will come together to begin to develop a budget solution that gets our state back on track.”
Schwarzenegger and lawmakers called the special election in February as part of a plan to solve a $42 billion deficit that had been projected through mid-2010. ‘
They asked California voters consider a complex mix of spending reforms, higher taxes, borrowing and funding shifts.
Most of the measures were losing by wide margins, with at least 60 percent of voters rejecting them, according to partial returns.
Voters approved just one of the six propositions, a measure prohibiting pay raises for lawmakers and other state elected officials during deficit years.
What’s going on in California is what has been going on in this nation for far too long. We’ve been spending money hand over fist on ever more irresponsible things and the implicit promise has always been, “You’ll never pay the price for this because somebody else will foot the bill.”
But, guess what? Economic circumstances change, the rich get tired of getting soaked and take steps to avoid it, and eventually, the poor and the middle class have to foot the bill for wasteful government spending. Yet, when that day comes, the answer always seems to be, “We don’t want to pay any new taxes.”
However, if we don’t want to pay new taxes, we need to do everything possible to block new spending, lest we end up in a crisis situation, like California — that may lead to their desperately cutting essential services just to try to keep their heads above water for another year.
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