Schwarzenegger Goes Republican Again, Endangering California

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By Jack D. Forbes –

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has given us a signal that he plans to run against Barbara Boxer for U.S Senate in 2010. It appears that he has decided to build up his Republican credentials by abandoning cooperation with the Democrats on the state budget. To be nominated by the increasingly right-wing Republicans he has to try to prove that he is a “no tax” man and is hostile to programs for the poor, disabled, unemployed, et cetera.

The truth is that in seeking to prove his Neandertal GOP credentials he is, in fact, risking another “Great Depression” in our state. We are already at virtually 12% unemployment (not counting those who have given up or who are only working part-time). We are at risk of going much higher if Schwarzenegger’s devastating budget is adopted.

The heart of any depression consists in the number of unemployed. The unemployed and the under-employed and the afraid-of-being unemployed must immediately cut back on all of their optional spending. When the people stop spending, the economy must go into a tailspin because very quickly corporations and small businesses start laying employees off or cutting back on hours. They also stop ordering goods, thus causing factories and distributors to also begin to lay people off.

From my experience as a child in the Great Republican Depression of 1929-41, I would say that keeping people employed is the first line of defense against a serious recession and a depression. It is the ordinary people who are the key. The rich and super-rich play very little role, since their spending is but a very small share of basic commodity economics and is not enough to keep commerce flowing.

Governor Schwarzenegger and his GOP “allies” refuse to learn from previous depressions and panics for the simple reason that they represent a very narrow class of voters and work for the well-being of an even narrower group, the wealthy. No matter what the crisis, they must earn their bread and butter it seems, by protecting the bank accounts and assets of the rich, and by seeking to increase the share of communal wealth held by the wealthy. Often the wealthy actually profit from a depression by using their ever-more-valuable money to acquire ownership of property or assets at rock-bottom prices.

Now the governor is threatening to dismantle part of state government rather than seeking new sources of income. But dismantling government, whether at the state or local level means essentially the creation of more unemployed. Thousands of state employees, firemen, peace officers, prison guards, teachers, park rangers, et cetera, will be the actual victims of the governor’s political ambitions.

But the victims will also be grocery stores, appliance shops, restaurants, apparel ships, bookstores, and other businesses that will be forced to lay off still other employees or shutter their windows and lock their doors. Charities and foundations will also suffer, even though they must pick up some of the slack left by a truant government. Children must suffer healthwise and learningwise as libraries cut back on hours, teachers are given heavier loads, and school programs in the arts disappear.

Many proposals have been made of ways to raise revenue to continue state and local programs without in any way harming the vast majority of the state’s taxpayers. Many ideas have been placed before the governor, but now he rejects all of them, in my opinion, simply to enable his continued political life as a Republican. In other words, the right-wing majority in the California Republican Party has him by his huevos as they say in Cucamonga!

Tragically, such political games will soon bring us thousands of more unemployed and countless shuttered businesses.

Jack Forbes is a historian, a former Guggenheim Fellow, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Before Columbus Foundation, holder of the Tinbergen Professorship in the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and other awards.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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11 thoughts on “Schwarzenegger Goes Republican Again, Endangering California”

  1. earoberts

    “Many proposals have been made of ways to raise revenue to continue state and local programs without in any way harming the vast majority of the state’s taxpayers. Many ideas have been placed before the governor, but now he rejects all of them, in my opinion, simply to enable his continued political life as a Republican.”

    What proposals? Raise revenue from where, that won’t break the backs of already strapped taxpayers? I agree with your premise that we need to keep people employed, first and foremost. But in order to do that, there must be a collective will for gov’t and private employees to take collective paycuts, rather than getting rid of newer or lesser paid employees. To convince gov’t workers and private employees to do this takes leadership at the topmost level – President Obama. But what does Obama do? Spend money like water – handing it out like candy. That money has to come from somewhere – the taxpayers’ pockets. And a good deal of that money is going to pay fat salaries of wealthy management – who keep getting wealthier.

    Many argue that management salaries are a drop in the bucket in terms of budgetary concerns. Look at the city of Davis. The primary problem is the bloated salaries of public safety employees in particular, and all city employees in general – especially the ones making $100,000 or more. Together with benefits, it is destroying the economic vitality of this city. I’m not sure The Governator is completely responsible for the economic mess we are in. There is plenty of blame to go around – from President Obama, to the US Congress, to the CA Legislature, to the Davis City Council!

  2. Davis Parent

    Now the governor is threatening to dismantle part of state government rather than seeking new sources of income.

    Do you still believe in democracy?

    What do you think the voters were doing when they, emphatically and overwhelmingly, voted down the ballot measures brought before us last month? Were we asking the state government to “seek new sources of income”?

  3. David M. Greenwald

    I think different people voted against the ballot measures for different reasons. For example, I voted against them because I was opposed to shuffling monies around rather than finding ways to seek new review. People on the left voted against the initiatives for different reasons than people on the right.

  4. earoberts

    “I think different people voted against the ballot measures for different reasons. For example, I voted against them because I was opposed to shuffling monies around rather than finding ways to seek new review. People on the left voted against the initiatives for different reasons than people on the right.”

    I wish people would stop labling people as either left or right. I am a conservative, but at times am in favor of what the left is in favor of. Other times I am in favor of what the right is in favor of. I consider myself an independent thinker on each issue, and judge accordingly. I do not vote for or against something based on my party affiliation. In fact, even tho a registered Republican, to make sure my vote counts in the primaries, I consider myself more of an Independent.

    Having said that, I don’t care much for the Gov of our state. When things got tough, he caved, rather than doing what is best for the state. I suspect structural change is needed now, to get us out of the mess we are in. The legislature has become too partisan. I’m an old timer who believes you do what is in the best interests of the country/state/county/city, regardless of politics.

  5. steve

    “Often the wealthy actually profit from a depression by using their ever-more-valuable money to acquire ownership of property or assets at rock-bottom prices.”
    This sir is exactly why they are wealthy. Smart investors don’t buy at market peaks, that is a good way to get poor fast. Markets are prone to ups and downs and the government budget needs to fit to that just like our personal pocketbooks have to. Californians are the most taxed of any state and yet we are always in some sort of crisis mode with money. Clearly more taxation will not solve the problem and will only serve to infuriate the income earners (i.e. likely voters) in this state even more. And its not just the “wealthy” who are targeted, frankly anyone in the middle class and above is targeted by tax hikes. I make under 20k a year and get taxed hardly at all by the state. In fact i think my tax bill was a grand total of $200, not exactly an obscene amount. The “rich” or in this case anyone who is a homeowner and or middle class wage earner gets taxed up to 10% income by the state, then has to pay property taxes, gas taxes, vehicle taxes, sales tax(which is 8% now WOW). This is in addition to federal income tax, social security/medicare tax. I guess we could just take the route of imperial Rome and tax 90% of wages and keep 80% of the population on government assistance. What a great way to buy votes! Above all you neglect the fact that the evil wealthy people use their monies to produce jobs. contrary to popular leftist beliefs rich people not not make huge piles of money to swim in, they in fact reinvest it into companies to make additional profits and yes as a result make more jobs. To them money is a tool in addition to a unit of value. Above all you forget that we are surrounded by states w/ much lower taxes and much lower deficits. It is really not that hard to pick up and move a few hundred miles. So take a hint from the states w/ not so crappy economies and forget tax hikes.

  6. Neednt I remind you...

    I’m sorry, but the forbes article is skewed here. The democrats control most of everything now, so this is in large part their mess to clean up. The Dems control the CA legislature, the UC congress the presidency, and soon, the courts. But somehow Arnold S. is somehow to blame for this. I’m sorry, but Obama has his hand in this mess like the other person said because he is spending $ like it is going out of style, dragging the country deeper into debt (in the middle of a recession and massive layoffs!) But somehow forbes is going to rationalize the failures of Obama, the US congress and the CA leg. by attacking the lone republican: arnold S. Sorry Jack, nice try. Your president has to ante up, and you can’t excuse his failures indefinitely. The dems pretty much hold all of the cards now, and Swartz… has delivered concession after concession.

  7. Well

    “The democrats control most of everything now, so this is in large part their mess to clean up. The Dems control the CA legislature, the UC congress the presidency, and soon, the courts. But somehow Arnold S. is somehow to blame for this.”

    Until you get rid of 2/3rds rule, you have a situation where anyone could be blamed. So you have to get a Governor, and two-thirds of the legislature to pass something–which means you have to get 3 Republicans legislators and a Governor to get anything done. So when it doesn’t get done, you have plausible blame on both sides.

  8. political sniping

    Governor Schwarzenegger and his GOP “allies” refuse to learn from previous depressions and panics for the simple reason that they represent a very narrow class of voters and work for the well-being of an even narrower group, the wealthy. No matter what the crisis, they must earn their bread and butter it seems, by protecting the bank accounts and assets of the rich, and by seeking to increase the share of communal wealth held by the wealthy. Often the wealthy actually profit from a depression by using their ever-more-valuable money to acquire ownership of property or assets at rock-bottom prices.

    this garbage is nothing more than a left-wing rant with little substance. I’ve heard it before at least a hundred times at college. This is the yale-harvard-berkely talking points. These universities are all about $ and research grants. They take piles of cash from the saudi-terrorists (911-hijackers) and let them in no-questions asked. Then when their visas expire they don’t bother to inform uncle sam that these people went missing after they should have returned to their countries because the saudi oil $ is too good. This is by way of saying Mr. Forbes that the leftists love being rich, they just line the pockets of different people and organizations.

    Furthermore, you ever heard of John Kerry? John Edwards? Ted Kennedy? Do you know how much these people are worth!! Bill Clinton would give 500,000 dollar speaking engagements. This global warming fad is now big business.

  9. To Political Sniping

    You missed the point embedded in your own post. The problem isn’t that politicians are wealthy, it’s that they represent the wealthy in the electorate at the expense of all others and thus have become marginalized.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    This is really something, this quote comes from Mike Genest, the fiscal director for the Governor in response to the Democrats basically warning him things are collapsing if we do not find cash in a day:

    ”I certainly recognize that $3.3 billion of solutions proposed in the May Revision will be lost if certain measures are not enacted into law by tomorrow at midnight….we have not developed a specific plan for addressing the potential loss of these solutions.”

    Really you haven’t planned for the loss of #3.3 billion?

  11. earoberts

    “This is really something, this quote comes from Mike Genest, the fiscal director for the Governor in response to the Democrats basically warning him things are collapsing if we do not find cash in a day:

    ”I certainly recognize that $3.3 billion of solutions proposed in the May Revision will be lost if certain measures are not enacted into law by tomorrow at midnight….we have not developed a specific plan for addressing the potential loss of these solutions.”

    Really you haven’t planned for the loss of #3.3 billion?”

    And what was the Democratic response to this statement?

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