Governator hits the poor

The Governator asks California’s poor to sacrifice for the state.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recommendations for a balanced budget include something America’s wealthy have been hooting for for years: the end of aid to the poor.

 What the…?

Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget proposals are harsh; he gave background to the legislature 2 June. His message? "…we once again face a $24 billion deficit. California's day of reckoning is here." The flaccid economy means people aren’t buying anything, and the state is broke.

He told the legislators and the state:
"I know the consequences of those cuts are not just dollars. I see the faces behind those dollars. I see the children whose teachers will be laid off. I see the Alzheimer's patients losing some of their in-home support services. I see the firefighters and the police officers who will lose their jobs. People come up to me all the time, pleading, "Governor, please don't cut my program." They tell me about how those cuts affect them and their loved ones. I see the pain in their eyes and I hear the fear in their voices and I hear the demonstrations outside of our Capitol. It's an awful feeling but we have no choice."

Governor Schwarzenegger has an estimated worth of 800 million dollars and an estimated annual income of 11-15 million dollars, money he worked hard for as an actor. It is unlikely he understands what his cuts actually mean to people. When he finally goes drooling into his twilight he’ll be surrounded by patient, trained, well paid staff.

Then Schwarzenegger said words many in the county are saying, "Our wallet is empty, our bank is closed and our credit is dried up" and he forgot to say "the car needs work and if we sick we’re going to die".

Schwarzenegger next said what he must have heard a hundred times from the counties:

"We must also restructure the relationship between state and local government. We all hear from the local officials about the heavy hand of Sacramento. If we are providing fewer resources we have an obligation to cut most of the strings and mandates and to get out of the way. Right now we are cutting billions of dollars from our schools, so shouldn't we give districts more freedom and flexibility and not tie their hands with strict rules like who is allowed to mow the lawn or fix the roof, or do the plumbing?" Plumbing, that’s what he thinks schools need?

Indeed, one of the extras the Governator is thinking of hacking is the Waste Management Board, which might give a momentary break to Sierra County waste management problems (though many of the rules are Federal).

Because the real estate market is so hot, Arnold has decided it’s time to sell some stuff:
"I'm also proposing to sell off state property, because Sacramento should not be in the real estate business, especially when we are in a fiscal crisis like this." So, now the state will be competing for buyers with folks forced to sell the family farm.

The Governor didn’t detail the pain in that speech, but it is available, and here it is in a nutshell:
There won’t be anymore Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or "TANF". There will be cuts to "welfare to work" and the applicants will have to come in more often to show why they can’t get a job (there are no freaking jobs). In order to cut welfare, California will become the first state to reject $3.7 billion federal bucks in grants. This would save $1.8 billion in share of cost. There would be a further loss of $600 million stimulus dollars.
This translates to cuts in home health for the very sick or elderly, cuts in insurance for poor kids, cuts in money for counties to deliver services that are literally life and death.

What Arnold’s plan means for Sierra County Poor:

Arnold’s plan is a good one. There are more poor than ever, they don’t spend much and so can’t help the state out of its mess. He’s made the point before that the poor are much more used to poverty than the rich, so his plan doesn’t effect the rich very much. Indeed, part of the problem with the poor is they never give him money. If they were on the ball, they would do what Chevron recently did and give him $750,000. (Go HERE)

However, the Governator isn’t asking the poor to simply sit on the curb until they die, at least not yet. In exchange for taking their meager allowance, he’s going to soften some laws, let some people out of jail, reduce funding for law enforcement and abolish the Prop 36 drug program. This should take the heat off the poor so they can survive.

The Final Analysis

Sell property in a down market? Deny millions and billions in federal bucks? Cut aid to the poor even as jobs disappear? Some might think Arnold was crazy.
And, they’d be right, if it weren’t for one thing: Arnie hopes the Feds will bail California out. He’s slashing things that mean the most to the feds, the things that keep the rabble from revolting: food, medical care. He’s also tinkering with things like Waste Management which is a big deal to the Feds.

Hasta la Vista, Baby

It hardly makes sense to blame Scharzenegger for the failing of the global economy, but this kind of brinksmanship is foolhardy. What will happen to the poor and sick in California? Let’s put it this way: lock up your chainsaw and hit that alarm on the car at night.


File:Arnold Schwarzenegger.JPG
Stolen from Wiki

Website Builder