Tuesday, October 19, 2010

(limited) kudos to the Guber-nator from Reason!

Tim Cavanaugh in Reason with a few (surprisingly?) nice things to say about Gov. Arnold...

Most commentators, including editors of this magazine on multiple occasions, say the Schwarzenegger administration has been a failure...led the state into deficits as large or larger. His repeated high-profile struggles with public-sector employee unions ended in humiliating defeats, including the failure of several gubernator-backed ballot initiatives...In policy terms, the Schwarzenegger administration was a protean monster, lurching from limited-government quests to epic socialist debacles.

So is there a case for Gov. Schwarzenegger? Here’s my best defense:

First...Schwarzenegger’s time in office has been marked by almost constant public struggles with teachers, prison guards, nurses...willing to fire heavy weapons at his opponents. He has furloughed state employees, sued refractory state officials, declared states of “economic emergency,” and rolled out every pay-cut gimmick and spending freeze in his arsenal.

These fights have paid off in unexpected ways. The looming public pension crisis—a vital but boring issue—has unexpectedly become an item of national media interest thanks in large part to Schwarzenegger’s war with state employees.

Schwarzenegger...set yearly state records for percentages of bills vetoed, memorably adding an acrostic F-bomb in the memo accompanying his rejection of a Port of San Francisco boondoggle....

Finally, while Schwarzenegger failed to shrink government, he did limit its growth. His year-to-year spending increases averaged 1.4 percent...


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