When we, as California residents, look at this period in our history, we will shake our heads. We will wonder how it is that we twice elected a movie star… again… to run the seventh largest economy in the world; someone who cannot see beyond his own satisfied reflection in his mirror. We will ask ourselves, “What was wrong with us?”
Today, I received a letter from the governor, in response to a letter I wrote to him, asking him to work on the budget before him remembering that his actions would affect multitudes of the poor and disabled, the young and the elderly, the unemployed and destitute. He proudly suggested that he was doing what was best for our state, even though he understood, “that college students will pay higher tuitions, some teachers may be laid off, and our state workers will get less money. But the only way to save our great state is to spread the sacrifice.”
Spread the sacrifice? The only people who are sacrificing in his budget are those who can least afford to lose anything in this dire economy, one to which he refers in the letter as the “greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
His inability to see beyond his own nose, to recognize what real suffering is in this state, is abominable. I believe with every fibre of my being that as he sits in his capital office, he genuinely thinks that things will be better in the long run because of his cuts. He couldn’t be more wrong.
State workers, the poor, and families of sick children and adults will all be in more debt because of his cuts. They will lose their homes, if they still have them, max out their credit cards, borrow from family members who can ill afford to help, and grow our state debt for Medi-Cal costs, so that Governor Schwarzenegger can say he balanced the budget. All he has done is to flex his muscles to impress those in power, believing that those of us at the grassroots are buying his malarkey.
In addition, our children will be less able to compete in the job market because of the cuts to education funding. The most qualified teachers are going to leave the state to make a reasonable living in an environment that isn’t impacted with more than thirty children to a classroom.
After thirteen years of working for the State, I can tell you that the budget is a series of creative numbers, moved around to show what officials want them to show. Nothing has really changed at the state level. We still get our federal monies. We still get all our taxes. We will still operate the programs that are a priority to the Governor.
The only thing that has changed is the perception of the right-wing politicians who can now feel vindicated by the governor’s signature on this decimating bill.
I am deeply saddened by the Governor’s choice making abilities and that he sees so little about those he serves. My only solace is that this nightmare will be over in a year.