Statist liberals all over California rejected their ideology and voted out Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger the governor of California. And in a state teaming with Chicanos, Cruz Bustamante was trounced. Arianna Huffington flew off on her broom and allegations of sexual misconduct by the Terminator washed over him like a gentle rain as voters laughed down the feminists who have virtually dictated the agenda in California for decades. Why? Why? Why? The answer is obvious, although is seems to have eluded the permanent pundits who pollute the airwaves and the print media. It all had to do with cars.
California is not the only state hijacked by a corrupt legislature dominated by the two-party hoax. It is not the only state run by a governor of limited intelligence who has perpetrated a mindless and obvious fraud in promoting a budget that was balanced only in the sense that it stood precariously on the precipice of disaster. Smoke and mirrors are not a new technique for lying about the budget. New York is every bit as bankrupt as California, but the outrage is nowhere on the same level. But Pataki would never have done what Davis did to raise cash in an act of such desperation that it raises questions about his sanity. He tripled the automobile tax.
Anyone who has spent even just five minutes in California knows that it is the most auto-centric state of the so-called union. The car is king. When Henry Ford paid off the pols so they subsidized the highways, the fate of the state was sealed. With the exception of San Francisco, which kept them as a tourist attraction, all over California, they pulled up the trolley tracks and paved them over with the taxpayers’ money. In California, you simply cannot live without your car. And most families with several breadwinners have several cars. And most particularly, struggling Chicano families, with eight or nine members driving to six or seven jobs per person, depend on cars as their lifeline. You bet they voted for the recall.
Just imagine the devastation a tripling of the car tax has on an average California family. And Schwarzenegger, himself, of the huge Hollywood fortune and of the rich wife from America’s royal family, still smarts at having to pay any taxes at all, let alone a gigantic fee to drive around in his Humvee. It was his personal taxes that drove Reagan into politics in California, and it is personal taxes that propelled the muscle man into the governor’s mansion in Sacramento.
Reagan promised to cut taxes. He said he would not raise them, that his promise not to do so was cast in concrete. But when he took a look at the financial situation, he reversed course. In a famous performance, he grinned as the taxes went up, and said, "The sound you hear is sound of concrete crumbling around my feet." Everyone laughed, because he was a charmer, and he got away with it. In all likelihood, Arnie will end up doing the same. But how will he do it, since Proposition 13 prevents him from raising property taxes without a referendum? He will reduce the car fee but he will raise all the others. He will impose a fee for sneezing, a fee for laughing and a fee for crying. He will impose a gigantic fee for various forms of cosmetic surgery, socking it to the Hollywood community that shunned him. The cost of a speeding ticket will soar, as will the cost of a building permit for non-contributors to his campaign. The surcharge on a movie ticket will skyrocket, now that he will no longer be making non-blockbusters that lost money after the producers paid him his twenty million. Since he is not a real conservative, he will be loath to cut spending on the liberal programs that have bankrupted the state. Indeed, he has pledged to up the ante in education on a public school system that has nowhere to go but down.
If Arnie had any real imagination, he would abolish the public school system and let a thousand flowers bloom. He would abolish the automobile tax but he would also stop squandering public funds on roads. Private transportation systems would spring up, unclogging the highways and reducing pollution. But don’t hold your breath. When Arnie says, "politics as usual have been defeated," you can only laugh. He’s just pumping iron.
Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author of a new novel, The Immortalists, as well as The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, and the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He is writing a new book, The Road To Baghdad — The Money Trail Behind The War In Iraq.