Arnold Schwarzenegger has 25 billion reasons to be worried. After the media frenzy about the California recall election, the greenhorn Austrian managed to win more than three million votes of the Golden State.
Schwarzenegger has taken the helm of the sinking ship that is California. Vowing to steer the state in a new direction, Arnold seems to have forgotten one thing: The possible $25 billion dollar anchor left by ousted governor Gray Davis.
But of course everything seems kosher between the two who are conducting the changing of the guard. Even though Arnold took office about the same time the last vote was tallied, the recalled Davis told the media, “Our service is not complete until we’ve done everything humanly possible to prepare the next administration for their assignment.”
The word “assignment” is a gross understatement. After the smoke clears and Schwarzenegger gets settled in Sacramento, he has quite the job ahead of him. Repeatedly swearing to repeal this year’s tripling of car taxes, Schwarzenegger has already put himself $4 billion in the hole. Add to that the $8 billion in costs that has been saved for next year and Arnold is looking at a $12 billion deficit.
Then there’s the revoked $2 billion in bonds that was supposed to pay for employee pensions. Oh, and don’t forget to add the looming $11 billion in borrowed money that could also be deemed unconstitutional. Looks like Arnold’s inheritance isn’t too enticing after all.
The economy, of course, is top priority. But Schwarzenegger also has to deal with continuing media scrutiny of his every move. Sure, he’s no stranger to the spotlight, but Schwarzenegger is used to having second chances on the big screen. In the political arena however, scenes can’t be shot over. Just look at Gray Davis.
But on a lighter note, during his first day as governor-elect, Schwarzenegger received a congratulatory phone call from President Bush. Schwarzenegger mentioned that the President said, “he would do everything possible to help California to help me achieve my goals. I’m looking forward to working with him and asking him for a lot of favors.”
Stop right there, Arnold. Every other state has tried to do the same thing, and they’ve failed. Bush has done nothing thus far to bail states out of their increasing deficits, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to throw out life preservers any time soon.
For any favor that Bush gives Schwarzenegger, he’s looking for two in return. This is ironic, because even though Bush is scheduled to meet with the new governor, the rendezvous out west also serves as a two-stop fundraiser before an Asian leg of campaigning.
That leaves Schwarzenegger with billions of dollars to sweep up, possibly no help from the federal goverment and about 36 million angry people who are angrier. Add to that the watchful eyes of the media, political analysts and everyone else who is fed up with the ordeal and disaster seems imminent.
But stranger things have happened. Arnold just needs to make sure he surrounds himself with people who are willing to work, especially those who are appointed to his transition team. The first 100 days are going to prove whether or not Schwarzenegger can keep his head above political waters.
If not, it looks as if the only water Arnold will be swimming in is a sea of red.
Brandon Lausch can be reached at Goskateboarding2000@hotmail.com.