Students vs. Arnold

Ah, youth. So energetic. So enthusiastic. So idealistic.

So primed to be disillusioned.

Students protesting fee hikes at state-run universities actually thought they might talk some sense to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But he told them:

“I don’t have more money because they are refusing to fix the system,” Schwarzenegger said of state legislators.

Telling the students, “We are so glad you are here,” Schwarzenegger insisted that “we are on your side of the fence.”

Schwarzenegger told the students about the proposal he’d made in January for a constitutional amendment to prevent California from spending more on prisons than universities. He blamed the prison guards’ union for driving up costs at the state’s lockups.

“They are a force,” he said of the union. “They are very powerful.”

But he signed all those budgets. He didn’t have to. Nobody forced him to. And didn’t he campaign in 2003 that he was the man to “terminate” the state’s perennial deficits and “blow up the boxes” of government bureaucracy and waste? The girly-gov. wimped out. He should have resigned and let somebody else do the job.

Let’s remember that, for fiscal 2005-06, Arnold increased general-fund spending an incredible 15%. That was the height of the housing boom, which brought in record tax receipts. And some people — including then-state Sen. Tom McClintock, and Steven Greenhut and I at The Orange County Register — warned that it couldn’t possibly last.

Arnold didn’t listen. He spent all the money. Every last cent. He was like those folks you see on TV who win $26 million in the lottery, and blow it all in a year, expecting they can win $26 million every year. Except at least those folks blow their own money, whereas Arnold blew our tax money — and ran up the debt on our credit cards, too.

All those California kids should realize they’ll also be paying the rest of their lives for the debt Arnold ran up — unless they leave the state.

— John Seiler

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