Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Governor Wounds Me

Here are the Governor's remarks: http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2010/08/schwarzenegger-were-not-taking.html

Here's my comment at The State Worker blog, now buried by the hundreds of other comments:

Those are the most personally hurtful remarks I have ever experienced from a government official. I feel as if I have been slapped. And then kicked. It is insulting on so many levels that he feels it is appropriate to accuse the questioner of ignorance in order to answer the question. That isn't a response, it's bullying, plain and simple.
State employees know what's going on in the private sector. There is no possible way to not know--the lives of private sector working people and public sector working people are inextricably linked. The people of one "sector" cannot even function without the other. All workers need state employees and state employees need grocery checkers and car mechanics and babysitters and on and on. Not to mention that all the workers in these two sectors are each others' spouses, sons, daughters, parents, neighbors, lovers, bffs...
This, I'm afraid, is where we completely diverge from the lives of the Schwarzeneggers, no matter how many millions he generously hasn't made in the past 7 years. It is physically sickening that he thinks it is valid to compare his choosing to stay as rich as he is, instead of becoming richer and richer and richer, to the plight of the working people in California. There. Is. No. Comparison.

That was yesterday and it's still bothering me that he said these things. I am not even opposed to furloughs; I'd be FOR them if they actually seemed to help with California's deficit, but there is too much evidence that they don't -- the State still owes workers either the time or the money and it's costing a bundle to fight the legal challenges. Politically I may be a Democrat, but at the molecular level I seem to be a Socialist; I am never comfortable having more than others. He's misguided when he thinks that everyone who disagrees with his approach is merely greedy.

I strongly object to the insinuation that the people who depend on every dollar they earn every month are simply whining when they say they need that money. His statement that "the banks immediately offered" to cover workers' salaries if budget problems caused them not to be paid is patently false. IF you bank with a local credit union, and IF you have direct deposit, and IF the minimum wage threat took effect, it was announced last month that the credit union would cover your salary. But before that we were told no, they wouldn't. One reason was that it was possibly an ethics violation for State employees to receive 0% loans. No relief was ever offered for bridging the salary gap brought on by furloughs. If you don't have direct deposit at a participating credit union, you could apply for a loan at 4.9% and good luck with that.

Face it, movie stars and people with trust funds and others who do not depend on your salary every month to make ends meet, people who don't even know what the ends are -- you do not understand what it means to live month to month. It means so much more than the math of how much comes in vs. how much goes out. It means that every little incident in your life ripples out in unpredictable ways; ways that can be inconsequential, or catastrophic. There is a level of uncertainty that cannot be quantified continually taking its toll on your peace of mind. A leaking pipe, a broken down car, a sick parent, any routine little incident of daily life can spin your world into a dizzying spiral of calamity. That knowledge is always there. And it's not theoretical. At the least it's about threadbare towels vs fluffy ones, but it always carries the potential of food vs. hunger, safety vs. danger, life vs. death.

4 comments:

The Plush Gourmet said...

Beautifully said. Thank you for explaining clearly and correctly the way life REALLY is for those who live from one check to the next. Believe me this is not a choice that people made - it has come about as the crash ate our 401K's, destroyed our retirement funds, chewed up our savings, and devalued our property. When The Gov has to decide between fixing the broken tooth or fixing the almost broken car so he can go to work with the throbbing tooth, then he can talk to me.

Paprikapink said...

Exactly. Thank you for sharing your example. It's spot on.

pinkpackrat said...

Just because we all know what misery loves, I gotta share that it is no bed of roses here in New Jersey with the newly minted Governor Christie and his slash and burn policies. I guess it isn't always sunnier in California:-)

Paprikapink said...

Thanks for your comment, pinkpackrat. I've been reading that a lot of the good done by the stimulus efforts on the federal level are undone by cost cutting measures on the state level. The Feds create programs and jobs and the states slash programs and jobs even faster. Of course, the Feds are also well known for requiring states to perform certain functions or meet certain requirements without providing states any funding to do it. A snake swallowing its tail comes to mind....