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Economy

Broke, Schwarzenegger begs President Obama for $8 billion. Is a California default coming?

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Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Wow, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just continues to flounder and flub and flim-flam his way through one of the worst performances by a governor in the United States even as he gets helped to the bottom by one of the worst full-time legislatures ever elected in the United States -- or so the polls strongly suggest. Now, Arnold is making national news by begging President Barack Obama for $8 billion to keep social programs funded and to keep California state government workers on the job.

Here's what is so bizarre about the governor's latest, and doomed -- if recent history is any guide -- effort to make Sacramento spending somehow match Sacramento tax revenue: 

California pays far more into the federal coffers than it ever gets back -- way, way more money comes out of the pockets of California residents than returns to be used inside the state's boundaries. You can blame the California Congressional delegation, one of the worst Congressional delegations in United States history, a squabbling bunch of politicians who openly admit that the Democrats among them and the Republicans among them do not meet to hammer out plans for getting California's money back from Obama.

In fact, many among our worthless delegation are barely speaking to one another.

In a visit to LA Weekly early this year, a top aide to Barbara Boxer looked positively shocked when asked why the delegation, which is huge at 53 U.S. representatives and 2 senators, has not figured out a plan to throw their weight around. The word we got back was that the Democrats and Republicans on our "delegation" have no intention of working together for California. Good Lord.

Not that California's possible lurch toward a state default or some kind of public bankruptcy is Washington's fault. Year after year, Arnold has signed budgets that dramatically outspent tax revenues and other income, practically ever since his election in 2003 to replace the recalled Gray Davis.

Schwarzenegger points to the economy, but the truth is that he blew it even while the California economy was flush. Now, amidst recession, several badly hit states including Texas have been able to balance or nearly balance their budgets while California has dug itself deeper and deeper. Maybe he should ask the Salvation Army bell ringers for help.

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