Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A pig and pony year

Today was Governor Terminator’s very last State of the State Address.

He opened with a heart-warming story, that simply must be quoted in full: “Now, I want to begin with a true story from which we can draw a worthwhile lesson. As you might guess, the Schwarzenegger household is something of a menagerie -- an Austrian bodybuilder, a TV journalist, four children, a dog, a normal goldfish, a hamster and so forth -- and in recent years we added a miniature pony and a pot-bellied pig. Now, it’s not unusual for me to look up from working on the budget or something and to find the pig and the pony standing right there in front of me and staring at me. Now, the dog’s food, which we keep in a canister with a screwed-on lid, sits on the top of the dog’s kennel. And the pony has now learned how to knock the canister off the top of the kennel and then he and the pig wedge it into the corner. Now, there’s this ridge on the lid of the canister and the pig with his snout pushes this ridge around and around until it loosens up and then they roll the canister around on the floor until the food spills all out. And then, of course, they go to town and they eat it. Now, I have no idea how they ever figured all of this out, to tell you the truth. I mean, it’s like humans figuring out how to create fire. But it is the greatest example of teamwork and I love it. It’s about teamwork. So one lesson to draw from the pig and the pony story is what we can accomplish when we work together. And last year we here in this room did some great, great work together. We had a pig and pony year.” He did not say who is the pig and who the pony in this scenario.

A LITERAL WAR: “For decades this state was in a literal war over water”.

WELL THAT’S CERTAINLY A COMPELLING ANSWER: “Because some people say ‘how can we afford these bonds in the current economic climate?’ I say, how can we not?”

IF HE CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WATER AND BLOOD, MAYBE WE SHOULD ALL JUST DRINK BOTTLED WATER UNTIL A DEMOCRAT IS GOVERNOR: “Our economy cannot grow without water. Our population cannot live without water. It is our state’s lifeblood.”

HE IS FOCUSING ON PRIORITIES. AND PRIORITIZING FOCUS. “If I had to summarize in one word our focus for the coming year, it would be the word ‘priorities.’”

STOP TAXING RICH PEOPLE!: “144,000 taxpayers pay almost 50 percent of all personal income taxes. Now, think about that -- 38 million Californians have to rely on 144,000 people for their schools, their fire protection, their health care, their public safety and so many other services. That makes absolutely no sense.”

YOU MEAN THE CENTURY WHEN WE STILL HAD JOBS AND HOUSES? “Now, here is what we need to accept. Our economy is 21st century and our tax system is 20th century. It is stuck in the wrong century.”

WHAT WE DO IN CALIFORNIA: “The Commission proposed major, radical reforms. Now, some people right away said they are too bold and thus they would be too hard to enact. Now, what do they mean too bold? Bold is what we do in California.” Wait, or is it blow we do in California?

AND OUR LOSS WOULD HAVE BEEN AUSTRIA’S INCREDIBLE GAIN: “And what do they mean too hard? If I had hesitated in my career every time I made a move because it was too hard, I would still be yodeling in Austria.”

WHICH CHILD DO WE CUT? NO, THAT’S NOT DISTURBING AT ALL: “the current tax and budget system is cruel... It is cruel because it is forcing us to make a Sophie’s choice amongst our obligations. Which child do we cut? Is it the poor one or is it the sick one? Is it he uneducated one or is it the one with special needs? That is cruel.”

He noted that we now budget 11% for prisons and 7.5% on higher education and that this is wrong. So is he calling for reversing the cuts in higher ed that he himself insisted on? Hell no. His solution? A constitutional amendment that says that we should spend more on higher education than on prisons. “What does it say about any state that focuses more on prison uniforms than on caps and gowns? It simply is not healthy.”

And he wants to privatize all the prisons.

He complained that California only gets back 78¢ of each tax dollar it sends to Washington, and said the health care bill “has become a trough of bribes, deals and loopholes. Yet you’ve heard of the bridge to nowhere. Well, this is health care to nowhere.”

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