Bait and switch in California

It looks as if Schwarzenegger, like Bush, having run as a moderate plans to govern as an extremist. (You really have to wonder how often this bait-and-switch deal is going to work.)

Yes, his environment secretary is actually an environmentalist, but everything else is straight from the Wilson-Reagan playbook. He kept the worst of his campaign promises: rolling back the car tax so as to put California even more squarely behind the fiscal eight-ball. And he used the threat of a divisive referendum campaign to bully the legislature into helping him keep the second-worst,

repealing a bill that would have allowed illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

(The repeal was presented as a compromise, with Schwarzenegger promising to “consider” similar legislation next year if it had provisions for criminal background checks, but I’m prepared to bet he welsches on that deal, too; at least, it’s clear he told the supporters of repeal one story and the supporters of the original bill another. The notion that this is about “terrorism” really doesn’t pass the giggle test, but that sort of shamelessness is old news.)

But the promise about not touching education, which obviously couldn’t have been seriously intended, has already gone by the boards. And the list of budget cuts seems to have been made by the Grinch: my four favorites so far are tightening up on food stamps. which doesn’t even save the state any money. cutting off home services to the aged, blind, and disabled, closing the rolls for aid to the developmentally disabled, and reducing fees for the doctors who treat MediCal patients. The next round of cuts is going to be deeper, and even tougher to make.

So far, he’s letting the University of California off relatively lightly, as I argued he should earlier in this space, and in this op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. Being nice the UC is consistent with a program that’s basically about shafting the poor; while UC is indeed an important gateway to the middle class for lots of kids whose parents didn’t go to college, it’s also one of the services most prized by the upper third of California’s income distribution.

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “Bait and switch in California”

  1. Defining "moderate Republican"

    Mark Kleiman calls it "bait and switch" — the Republican penchant for running as moderates and governing as extremists. George Bush is the obvious master of the trick, but Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be learning. Nevertheless, right now my reading

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