An example of leadership from the man who would be Governor

The Democrats who run the California legislature have stubbornly refused to cut services as much as needed to close the budget gap, while the Republican minority has been able to block the necessary tax increases. So the state just passed a “budget” that doesn’t budge, and is going to have to be reopened in a few months.

Don’t worry, though, the Terminator is on the job (*):

He was only slightly more specific about his agenda than he was a day earlier, when he entered the campaign, promising to have a “detailed” budget plan soon and insisting that there were choices other than program cuts or tax increases to balance the state’s budget.

“We have to talk about a third” option, Schwarzenegger said, “bringing more business back” to increase state income.

“We have to overhaul our economic agenda,” he said. “We have to make sure everyone in California has a fantastic job.” He added that “it is very important that our children have first access to our state treasury.”

Of course, in the short run there’s nothing the state can do that will make any noticeable impact on business location decisions, and it’s in the short run that the state is going to run out of money. As to “making sure everyone in California has a fantastic job,” what the $%# is that supposed to mean? If this is an example of what Schwarzenegger means by “leadership,” (that’s what he’s promising, in lieu of actually knowing anything about state government) let’s have some more of the old hacks instead.

Schwarzenegger is starting to make Gray Davis look good. The fact that Riordan, whom Schwarzenegger just blindsided by getting into the race after he’d signaled that he was out, has endorsed him anyway tells you just how desperate the non-lunatic wing of the California Republicans has become for anything that looks like a way to get back into power.

Here’s an idea, though: Instead of raising taxes or cutting spending, let’s just have the state go into the business of selling whatever Aaaaaahnold has been smoking. It must be preemo weed if it’s convinced such an allegedly smart guy that we can fix an 11-figure budget problem with nothing but wishful thinking.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: