Nice Work, Guvnuh

Is it just me, or is Schwarzenegger immune to criticism? Would not any other governor be skewered over this kind of flip-floppery? Extended quotes from an opinion piece by Steve Lopez for the LA Times:

I keep thinking it’s going to be impossible for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to outdo himself, and he keeps reminding me never to underestimate him.

For two years, he’s been telling us public education in California is one of his top priorities. In his State of the State speech Wednesday, he said schools are a disaster, with 30% of high school students dropping out. This followed a grim Rand Corp. report that gave California schools lousy grades for funding and student achievement.

So what’s Big Boy going to do about it? Take an ax to education funding. Yeah, that oughta get Johnny reading.


“Devastating,” state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said of the $2.2-billion cut expected when Schwarzenegger’s budget is released Monday.

And do you know how Schwarzenegger, who keeps saying he represents the will of the people, is going to make that $2.2-billion cut? He’s going to trample on Proposition 98, the education funding protection approved by California voters.

In California, state spending per pupil has gone from among the highest in the nation, before Proposition 13, to the company of backwater cellar-dwellers.

Money alone can’t fix the schools, but the wealthiest state in human history ought to be ashamed of its status as a national laggard.

Parents of means, like Arnold and Maria and their pals, don’t have to worry. They have the choice of shelling out for private school or moving to one of the handful of well-heeled communities where public schools actually work. Parents without means? Good luck and God bless.

“Ninety-nine percent of California’s kids are in districts spending less than the national average. California is No. 8 or 9 in terms of personal income per capita, and we are down around 30 or 40 in the country in the percentage of income we devote to education.”

Don’t count me among the naive who think that the problem of California education can be solved by money alone – the problems are more complex than that. But I know for damn sure we’re not going to fix their sorry state by de-funding them. And I also know that if the state of CA education continues to decline (as hard as that is to imagine), California will become an ignorance factory. Thanks for looking after our state, Arnold. You really showed that Gray Davis guy a thing or two.

I’m ready for my recall now, dahlink.

Music: The Fall :: Fiery Jack

12 Replies to “Nice Work, Guvnuh”

  1. In any event, I was finally able to access the article.

    “[…]the Governor shall submit to the Legislature, with an explanatory message, a budget for the ensuing fiscal year containing itemized statements for recommended state expenditures and estimated state revenues.”
    — CA constitution (Article 4, Section 12)

    . . . but why does Mr. Lopez assume that the Governator has some mysterious power to just shove his proposed budget down the legislature’s collective (in more ways than one) throat and make it stick? For that matter, if his proposed budget is so {bad|mean-spirited|wrong-headed|evil|favorite-liberal-shibboleth}, then–instead of jockeying for political position in the press–why doesn’t Mr. Lopez’s beloved legislature simply pass a budget which conforms to Prop. 98 requirements, “corrects” his “errors”, “fully funds” “education”, and show us all how it’s done?

    You know what? (Second base ;-) If Mr. Lopez wants to blame somebody for “de-funding” government schools in CA (whether said “de-funding” is real or imaginary), blame the legislature (still Democrat-controlled IIRC). They’re the ones with actual spending authority, not the governor.

    Just to clarify: I’m not defending RINO Arnold, I think he’s (at best) trying to apply patching solutions to something that’s fundamentally broken; but I honestly wish liberal commentators could just confine themselves to stating facts in this case, without having to trot out the “reduction-in-the-rate-of-increase = cut” canard again.

  2. > Scot – Try accessing the page again with cookies disabled.

    No thanks – the web is pretty much unusable these days with cookies disabled, and virtually all privacy concerns they once posed no longer concern people much (they certainly don’t concern me, and I spend 12 hours a day online!) But point taken.

    > why does Mr. Lopez assume that the Governator has some mysterious power to just shove his proposed budget

    I don’t know that he does assume that. The point is that the governor proposes these particular budget cuts at all. That he thinks that’s a sound course of action. That he thinks it’s critical that we not have to pay the auto registration taxes we were paying, thus drastically worsening an already dire budget situation, and then propose this as a solution.

    > why doesn’t Mr. Lopez’s beloved legislature simply pass a budget

    If the word “taxes” wasn’t considered an obscenity in America, they might be able to.

    > without having to trot out the “reduction-in-the-rate-of-increase = cut” canard

    I didn’t get that from the article (that we’re talking about a reduction in the rate of increase).

  3. If the word “taxes” wasn’t considered an obscenity in America, they might be able to.

    Taxes are considered obscene because of how they are used.

    Handing an overweight person more Twinkies doesn’t necessarily lead them to think about dieting.

  4. I don’t know that he does assume that.

    Mr. Lopez’s apparent level of outrage certainly comes across as though he starts from the (false) premise that the Governator has some unilateral power to spend (or in this instance, not spend) money in a government budget. If I’ve misinterpreted and that’s not his premise, then IMCO it serves no purpose (other than finger-pointing to create a diversion, and partisan political posturing) to beat him up about it in the way Mr. Lopez did, rather than simply stating facts.

    In short, why go to the effort to bash the Governator when he’s not the real threat to “education” spending at a level of which Mr. Lopez approves?

    The point is that the governor proposes these particular budget cuts at all.

    But that’s just the question: Are they really “cuts”, or are liberals trying to frame this debate on a false premise (again)?

    That he thinks that’s a sound course of action.

    I think most of what he’s done and proposed is unsound (if only because it doesn’t go far enough to shrink the state government); this is just one more example.

    That he thinks it’s critical that we not have to pay the auto registration taxes we were paying,

    Besides the fact that tax cuts are popular with his base (I’m not in any way discounting political motivations here), is there anyone who hasn’t figured out by now that raising taxes during economic recession only makes it worse — even when you don’t have a legislature that consistently spends more money than it receives in tax revenue?

    I’m not sure I’d choose the word “critical”, I just think that a car-tax increase (forgive me, but that is what it is) is a bad idea.

    thus drastically worsening an already dire budget situation

    . . . which was and is not created by “under-taxing”.

    If the word “taxes” wasn’t considered an obscenity in America, they might be able to.

    Did you mean to imply that you think elected politicians (e.g., CA legislators) are totally, utterly unable to live within their means?

    CA taxpayers settled this matter long ago (1978). The legislature either will, or will not, live within their means (said “means” being what portion we, not they, decide they shall receive of our property). To date, they’ve chosen the latter (else budget deficits and “crises” every year would be a distant, not-so-fond memory). Sadly, Republican governors (whose behavior demonstrates that their adherence to small-government principle is, at best, tenuous) have “gone along to get along”.

    I repeat: If the legislature is really as concerned as Mr. Lopez is that the governor proposes not to follow the requirements of Prop. 98, then the legislature has been delegated the spending authority to “correct” that “error” — up to and including overriding the governor’s veto. That they have consistently failed–so far–to get the message and cut other spending, whether to meet this now-constitutional obligation or to meet other proper priorities of government (as opposed to improper or false priorities), should tell us all we need to know.

    I didn’t get that from the article (that we’re talking about a reduction in the rate of increase).

    My understanding, from early report, is that his proposed budget increases “education” funding by 7% (yes, I want to know “7% of what?”, too). I’d also like to know what percentage of current “education” funding the $2.2B “cut” works out to, so that we taxpayers can compare apples to apples, and not be tricked into outrage based on lying with statistics.

    I’m still not defending RINO Arnold; but that doesn’t mean I regard his opponents’ arguments as immune from scrutiny.

  5. Coincidentally, this random quote just popped up on your main page:
    “Ruling a nation is like cooking a small fish – a light touch is best.” –Tao Te Ching

    Or the same insight of more recent vintage:
    “That government is best which governs least.” — Thomas Paine

  6. Or one of my favorite quotes:

    “A government big enough to give you what you want is big enough to take it all away.” – Barry Goldwater

  7. > Handing an overweight person more Twinkies doesn’t necessarily lead them to think about dieting.

    Conversely, and more to the point, as I see it: Taking food from a starving person doesn’t make them healthier.

    Our schools are not drowing in fat. They’re drowning in neglect. Not to say that more efficiencies are not possible, but per capita funding of Californian schools is below the national average, and our test scores are way below (and dropout rates are much higher). Per-capita spending on students in many other countries is much higher than here, and so are test scores.

    In other words, your Twinkie Defense :) assumes that there’s already too much taxation (or fat?) in the system – a premise I don’t agree with.

    Just surfing around trying to find data on taxation and school spending in Europe and here and came across this interesting (non-data) thread — not entirely germane, but most of the sentiments expressed there reflect what I experienced during my year in Australia and my months in Holland, Sweden, Denmark, etc. High taxation semi-socialistic democracies with fantastic education, great quality of life, and health care systems that I’m still jealous of.

  8. High taxation semi-socialistic democracies with fantastic education, great quality of life, and health care systems that I’m still jealous of.

    And homogenous populations with Draconian immigration law.

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