| I'm telling you, this special election campaign resembles the Bush-Cheney "9-11 9-11 9-11 Terrist comin' to kill you in your beds!!!!1!" 2004 campaign more with each passing day:
As he launched a radio ad campaign Tuesday for his budget measures on the May 19 ballot, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said failure to approve the package would worsen the state's already-dire fiscal crisis.
"If they don't pass, we will be facing a $50 billion problem," Schwarzenegger said at a meeting with Daily News editors and reporters. "It will mean massive cuts in education, hospitals, prisons. These are things people don't want to see cut."
$50 billion. How does the Governor arrive at that figure? He includes $16 billion dollars for the two years of regressive taxes that would be washed out in 2012 and 2013 if Prop. 1A fails. He includes an expected lawsuit from education interests to force payment of $9 billion in raided Prop. 98 funds if 1B fails. He includes the $6 billion that would not fill budget gaps from the last budget if Prop. 1C-1E fail. And then... I don't know, that's only $31 billion, I guess $50 billion sounds like a nice big number.
You can put it on posters!
This is not the first time the Governor has flat-out made up numbers to win an election. That was his road to victory in 2006, when he lied about Phil Angelides' tax programs. The True Lies are back, and sadly I don't expect a soul to call him on it.
Let's partially accept the Governor's premise and agree that we would have a deficit caused by cutting two years' worth of tax increases in 2012 and 2013. Is he suggesting that the legislature would be barred from acting on anything for 3-4 years until that future problem arises? He might as well say we have a $200 billion dollar problem, extrapolating out to 2050.
The "doomsday scenario" only exists if you accept the premise of the conservative veto. Only then does California risk going over the cliff. A responsible, functional legislature that has the ability to reflect the will of the people of the state is in no danger, which is why the only reforms anyone should be voting for are the full repeal of the 2/3 requirement for budgets and taxes.
Somehow the Governor feels that ratcheting down services and leaving behind millions of Californians is the "responsible" course. Right now we're at the bottom of per capita spending in almost every major category - 44th in health care, 47th in per-pupil education spending, dead last in highway spending and 46th in capital investment among all states. Heck, the state can't even get people their unemployment checks in a timely fashion. The so-called "responsible" course has utterly failed, and the Governor and his allies want to constrict this pitiful investment even more.
I will quickly tire of these nonsense efforts to scare people into backing another layer of restriction onto an already failed budget process. Hopefully the voters feel the same way.
UPDATE: This is amazing. Shane Goldmacher queries the Governor's spokesman on where the hell Arnold came up with the $50 billion dollar figure, and look at the response:
"He was speaking hypothetically," said spokesman Aaron McLear. "His point was if we don't reform our budget system then we'll be right back where we were with that huge budget deficit."
I'm sure he'll continue to "speak hypothetically" in the most hyperbolic way possible. Some would call this manner of speaking, um, "lying."