Here on the Left Coast, we have seen the Mexifornia future and it doesn't work. An economy built on the "cheap" labor of millions of illegal aliens who are kept afloat by billions of tax dollars in welfare is not a viable system. California's deepening budget hole from berserk spending simply cannot be papered over any longer. The massive costs of supporting a massive unskilled foreign population now threaten basic services.
The long-expected budget crisis has formed up in detail over the last while in the capital of Mexifornia. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has tapdanced his way to the end of the fantasy budget road. He managed to sidestep a lot of potholes, but his luck ran out: the subprime mortgage meltdown punctured the housing bubble and revealed the disastrous extent of California's shaky finances and a history of irresponsible choices.
Californians are being told by the suits in Sacramexico that the situation is dire. The press dutifully repeats the warnings; here are some recent headlines from the San Francisco Chronicle for a sampling of the tone:
Apparently the Democratic legislature hopes the public's response will be "Tax me, please!"—Speaker Fabian Nunez has said as much, that the Dems want tax increases. There is sure to be at least one proposed cut that pushes everyone's button. I'll admit I cringed when I saw the map of 48 parks slated for closure.
Incidentally, as salt in the wound, the riff-raff legislators who got us into this mess are scheming to have their careers extended. Proposition 93 would eviscerate the 1990 initiative-based law that launched term limits for pols in Sacramento. In particular, Prop 93 would allow Speaker Nunez (a loyal pal of Mexicans everywhere) and Senate President Don Perata (under investigation by the FBI for receiving kickbacks) to remain in power.
See Stop Prop 93 for more details about what's being called a "naked power grab." No problema to the Governator, though; he supports the measure and continued dysfunction in state government.
You may remember that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger got into office because of the similar financial mismanagement of his predecessor Gray Davis, who was removed via a celebrated recall election. It was quite the people's uprising at the time. Arnold was elected as a Republican who would bring fiscal discipline to a town famous for its lack, and citizens hoped for some improvement in state government.
But if anything, the Governator has taken political huckstering to a worse level than before. He initially talked reform but quickly fell into the Sacramexico style of wheeling and dealing. He became friends with lowlife Speaker Nunez, who has recently come under scrutiny for his extravagant lifestyle on the taxpayer's tab, particularly his fondness for expensive wine purchased in France.
It's not like the looming budget disaster came as a surprise. State Senator Tom McClintock, a serious financial realist, warned the Governor that extreme spending could not continue:
"Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock recalls a meeting with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger one year ago. The veteran Thousand Oaks lawmaker tried to warn the governor that he was traipsing down the same deficit trail as his recalled predecessor.
"In fact, McClintock cautioned, Schwarzenegger's path was even more risky than that of Gray Davis.
"McClintock showed the governor a chart he had drawn. It illustrated that spending under Davis had increased an average of 7% a year. Under Schwarzenegger, it was climbing at a 10% rate. Similarly, he pointed out, the deficit—the billions being spent over the revenue coming in—was larger than under Davis." [Taking off the budget blinders, finally, By George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, Jan 10, 2008]
As recently as early January, the Governor was said to be considering $5 billion in increased education programs for non-English speakers, even though the overall budget shortfall has been known for months. Can we at least hope the H-bomb of entitlements, universal healthcare for citizens and illegal aliens, is now off the table?
No, if the Governor's State of the State address of January 8 is to be taken seriously. He continued to sell his socialized medicine plan, saying, "sometimes you have to be daring, because the need is so great."
But free medical care for foreigners would be the mother of all illegal alien magnets. After a year or so after implementation, there would be not a single sick child left in Mexico, and to a lesser extent beyond. Many Mexicans already come for "free medical care they say they can't get back home."
A new California program with the imprimatur of the famous movie-star governor would be enormous news throughout the Third World and would have huge drawing power. Coyotes would certainly market illegal border crossing with an additional pitch regarding the healthcare opportunities for the kiddies. Heck, you would be a bad Mexican parent if you didn't smuggle your sick munchkin into California.
To be clear, coverage for illegal alien children is what's being discussed now…now. But the Mexicans in the legislature would never stop there. One-Bill Gil Cedillo recently introduced his ninth version of drivers licenses for illegal aliens, just as a measure of how important the well being of invader Mexicans remains in Sacramento.
Even a budget crisis of this magnitude has not caused the Governor to consider basic cost-cutting measures. By comparison, Assembly Member Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) has legislation (AB1758) that would end taxpayer-subsidized tuition for illegal immigrants. It is estimated that 18,000 illegal aliens are enrolled in California's higher education system, from community colleges to UC, at a cost of around $117 million per year.
Illegal foreigners receive a lot of our tax money. A 2004 FAIR study reckoned that the cost several years ago for California was $9 billion annually. No one would imagine that number has decreased.
The situation of Los Angeles County is indicative of the worsening financial bloodletting to taxpayers: Illegal Aliens Receive $37 Million From County In November [KHTS, Jan 8, 2008].
"Twenty five percent of the all welfare and food stamps benefits is going directly to the children of illegal aliens. Illegals collected over $20 million in welfare assistance for November 2007 and over $16 million in monthly food stamp allocations for a projected annual cost of $444 million.
" 'This new information shows an alarming increase in the devastating impact Illegal immigration continues to have on Los Angeles County taxpayers,' said [Supervisor Michael] Antonovich. 'With $220 million for public safety, $400 million for healthcare, and $444 million in welfare allocations, the total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers far exceeds $1 billion a year – not including the millions of dollars for education.' "
That's one rather large county with 10 million residents. Think about those cost figures multiplied to the state level, where there are now nearly 38 million residents. Now imagine what could be done if a governor or legislature were willing to remove the many enticements and to encourage illegal foreigners to leave—as Oklahoma has done so successfully.
With such ongoing defiance of the simple necessity to operate within budgets, it's hard to imagine a workable solution coming out of the California capital. The Governor promises no new taxes, but plans a massive new spending program of socialized medicine.
As Sen. McClintock said on the John and Ken radio show Jan 8, [MP3]"There's no substitute for a governor who can pronounce the word NO." And the Senator has remarked more than once, "You can't finance socially liberal programs with fiscally conservative policies."
But the SacraMexicans continue to try, to the harm of all Americans in California.
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She is heartbroken to see the California paradise paved over and turned into a Mexican slum.