By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Boys! Girls! Men! Women! Are you tough enough to be a Californian? You're not some pencil-neck softie content to let any bullying Arizonan kick sand in your face, are you? No! Not when you can melt off the flab of government services with Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dynamic Oligarchy method of toughening up.
How tough do you wanna be?
How does Dynamic Oligarchy work? It's simple: Based on the proven weight-training techniques that served Arnold so well—combined with his regimen of diet, steroids and no marijuana until after competition—the governor will build your stamina and strength by progressively adding fees and debt load to your "weight stack" until you achieve your goals.
Struggling to pay for college? Well, add 10 percent to 40 percent to the high fees you're already paying to go to a state university, and compete for fewer seats as UC enrollments are cut 10 percent. If you go to a community college, look for a 44 percent increase.
Struggling with illness or disability? What are you, a cripple? Toughen up by jumping the new hurdles it'll take to qualify for Medi-Cal. The already-strapped outfit will have $2.7 billion less under Arnoldnomics.
Need help from police, firemen or paramedics in your community? Toughen up again, crybaby, because cities will be getting millions less from the state. Studies have shown that few activities burn as many calories as trying to save your burning house.
Looking to take your family camping, the only vacation that many families can afford these days? Well, park and campground fees are nearly doubling, so toughen up and join the rugged pioneers living amid the ice plant on freeway embankments.
And to keep you from backsliding, repayment on a $15 billion bond will assure that you're lifting more for years to come.
The beauty of Dynamic Oligarchy is that it works where it's needed most. If you're an "unfit" member of society struggling to meet your meek goals, it zeroes right in on you. But if you've already achieved your goals—like if you're rich, for instance—you're off the hook. The governor reportedly considered and rejected a tax on those earning more than $250,000, which could have brought in $1.5 billion, but where's the challenge in that? It's like society is a body, and we're the weak, pasty-white legs that will be getting a more rigorous workout from now on—no pain, no gain!—while the perfect six-pack abs of the rich can kick back with a well-deserved beer. Roll out the Schwarzenkegger!
Maybe you're one of the lucky thousands who saw candidate Schwarzenegger crush a car with a wrecking ball at the OC Fairgrounds a few months ago. I'll never tire of his quote at the time, which ranks with Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine's best: "In movies, I played a character that if I didn't like something, I destroyed it! I viped it out!" Then he brought tons of pig iron down on the hapless auto.
Now that he's dropped the ball on the rest of the state last week, it helps explain why Schwarzenegger said so little in the way of specifics when he was a candidate. He was going to open the books, stamp out the crazy spending, target the special interests. Who could be against that? It played right to every Americans' belief that government is rife with frivolous programs pissing away sopping buckets of our tax dollars. Hidden in hive-like Sacramento office buildings, you just know there lurks a Department of Coddling Ungrateful Immigrants, the Diplomate Board of Chakra Alignments, the Bureau of Lunches & Such. Schwarzenegger was talking a win-win, where we'd fix the budget by simultaneously pruning this nutty, zany out-of-der-heads cash-drunk bureaucracy down to the size the founding fathers had intended. You know, back when they had big buckles on their shoes and "choice of health care providers" meant leeches or witch-dunkers.
How did we know that the special interests Arnold was complaining about were our kids and our poor and ailing elderly? Here the Diapers-and-Depends set toddles and hobbles around looking sympathetic and all, when evidently they've been in the smoky backrooms, making deals and sucking large at the public teat this whole time. In the old country we'd just put them outside to die or learn to survive. Give 'em the shove, Gov!
Look, I know the state is in a budget crisis and hard decisions need to be made. I don't envy the choices Schwarzenegger has. But in keeping some campaign promises and jettisoning others he's looking more like a Bush Republican every day. He promised not to be beholden to special interests or solicit campaign funds from them, yet he has. He promised to order an investigation of the sexual harassment allegations made against him by several women, and cancelled that. He made a splashy and possibly unconstitutional grab of state funds to send to cities and counties to offset the money they lost when he slashed the car tax, and now his budget is taking most of that away from them again. He's playing some of the same masking tricks with the debt that he accused former Gov. Gray Davis of. He's reneged on promises to school kids and the needy.
So why, when he's dumped other promises, and is imposing fees that sure feel like taxes, is he keeping to his pledge not to raise taxes, particularly on those who have prospered so in California?
As the Los Angeles Times' Steve Lopez pointed out in his Jan. 11 column (where he also advanced a draconian idea suggested in this column months ago that the governor bail the state out by selling naming rights to beaches and forests), 95 of the nation's 400 billionaires are in California, with a net worth of nearly $103 billion. Judging by the cars I drive next to, we're similarly laden with millionaires. For all the bitching I hear about how tough California is on business, lots of people get rich here. Shouldn't they be willing to bear a little more of the state's burden than the schlub who's just scraping by? If I had more food on my plate than I could possibly eat, and you had a survival biscuit, shouldn't I be expected to more give more than you to those who have nothing?
I'll leave that for the ethicists to figure out. What I'm more worried about is, do I just have dicks on the brain, or did anyone else think the graph Schwarzenegger kept stroking in his budget speech looked like a big Picasso-drawn cock? Sure, it's a graph, but it was a jutting, jaunty purplish-pink kind of graph (the serrated cross-section line marked $63.8 would be the foreskin, I suppose). Please tell me I don't have dicks on the brain. Someone?
I expect to be talking about anger more in the weeks ahead, since the minute-media take on Howard Dean is that he's "too angry" to get elected. Schwarzenegger rode into office on almost nothing but anger. He had no experience, no budget, no articulate program, no argument he was willing to test against the other candidates. He was mad as hell and he dropped wrecking balls on cars. Democrats won't do that for you. Usually, nothing short of a Warner Bros. cartoon character will do that for you. But Arnold had his car-crushing Kristalnacht, and the angry electorate voted for him.
We'll probably have further cause at the state level to ponder the pitfalls of voting angry. But nationally, I'd say any Democrat who wants my vote had damn well better be angry. Distinguish it as righteous anger, perhaps, but if a candidate can look at the lies, misdeeds and injustices radiating out of the Bush White House and not work up a head of steam over it, he or she should get the hell out of the way. These are times deserving of our anger, friend.