Friday, January 06, 2006

Arnold turns big spender

Arnold gets a C+. Granted we need some of the stuff he spoke of last night, but others were off the charts.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for a gigantic building spree that he said would unclog freeways, modernize schools and revamp the state's fragile levees in a State of the State speech Thursday that mixed contrition for past mistakes with a bold call to upgrade California during the next decade.

Both humbled and full of hubris, Schwarzenegger declared that he was wiser after his special election defeat last year but quickly changed the subject and unveiled a plan, jaw-dropping in scope, to build or rebuild highways, schools, levees, courthouses and jails that would amount to more than $222 billion in public works projects.

That's waaaaay more than the initial press release hinted at and I don't think schools, courts, and even jails should be included in with infrastructure even though we undoubtedly need more of those as well (especially jails). Then Arnold starts waxing all lefty on us.

[...] Saying it was "time for those who often work the hardest and earn the least to benefit from California's growth,'' he called for increasing the state's minimum wage of $6.75 by $1.

He proposed eliminating a planned tuition hike at California universities this year and said he would provide K-12 schools with $1.7 billion above the guaranteed minimum next year.

And he called on the federal government to let the free market work by allowing Americans to buy cheaper prescription drugs from countries like Canada.

"If I would have closed my eyes, I could have believed that speech was being given by a Democrat," said state Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough.

[...]Saying he supported the general idea of an increase in building, Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Riverside, said "the real hard decision is, how are you going to pay for it?"

Another dollar for minimum wage? What happened to the Arnold from the recall, who was trying to bring business back to California? This won't help that. And I'm all for protecting the drug company patents as much as possible. The only way for them to recoop their massive research and development costs is to sell their drugs for a profit, and we are close to the only country that allows that. Do you think it's also a coincidence that nearly all drug breakthroughs come from US companies? Come on Arnold don't start selling out to the left.

As far as paying for it no new taxes is good, but hopefully you realize you'll need more than bonds. Borrow too much and Wall Street will begin to label California a risky investment. It's going to have to mean cutting more fat; don't just borrow that money.

UPDATE: Carol Platt Liebau has some choice words for Ah-nold:

The Arnold Schwarzenegger who last year pledged to cut spending and reorganize the government now seems intent on simply subsidizing it, and its workers, as generously as he possibly can. “We need more roads, more hospitals, more schools, more nurses, more teachers, more police and more firefighters, more water, more energy, more ports, more, more more.'' Now that’s an agenda that the Democrats — and their union masters — can embrace.

If he keeps it up, every big spender in the state will be thrilled; once again, the taxpayers will be left holding the bag. As Arnold Schwarzenegger discards his “ersatz Reagan” identity and morphs into an “ersatz Brown,” it’s worth remembering that when his new political role model left office, only 2.2 percent of the state’s general fund was devoted to debt service.