So what’s next in California? The Wall Street Journal editors warn:
California voters sent a blunt but welcome message Tuesday about runaway government. By rejecting by nearly two-to-one the political establishment’s $16 billion in higher taxes, spending gimmickry and more borrowing, the voters said it’s time government faced the same spending limits that the recession is imposing on everyone else.
Teachers unions, business leaders and the politicians outspent initiative opponents by six-to-one, and they still lost. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had warned that if these initiatives were voted down, government services would have to be slashed, criminals released early and public employees furloughed. But voters decided that as painful as these cuts may be, the alternative of letting the state’s tax-and-spend machine continue was worse. How right they are.
The response so far from Sacramento is typically short-sighted. Mr. Schwarzenegger, legislators and public-worker unions are now conspiring to roll out plan B: a federal bailout.
Yikes. But won’t the rest of the country be outraged by being asked to pick up the dime for the exorbitant spending of one state? After all, the lopsided two-to-one “no” votes suggest that even in the most liberal states voters have had it with “sky is falling” threats used to bully them into condoning fiscal irresponsibility. Why would a senator from Arkansas or a congressman from Michigan vote to spend money to cushion the comeuppance awaiting California politicians?
I suppose Obama might risk yet another “bailout” to save some loyal supporters, but if there is one aspect of his agenda most hated by a broad swath of voters it is the bailouts. If voters didn’t like bailouts for car companies or banks, they are sure to go bonkers over a bailout for flaky Californians.