Capitol and California – Dan Walters
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Four years ago, when the state’s economy was hopping – thanks, we know now, to an unsustainable housing bubble – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took credit for prosperity as he campaigned for re-election.

By pushing workers’ compensation reforms through the Legislature and vetoing costly bills that employers opposed, Schwarzenegger bragged, he sparked a flood of job-creating investment.

As he winds up his governorship four years later, California is mired in the worst recession since the Great Depression, thanks to the implosion of the housing industry. Unemployment has more than doubled, with well over 2 million workers jobless.

Does Schwarzenegger now shoulder blame for the state’s economic malaise? Of course not. He practices the time-dishonored political tactic of claiming credit when times are good and shunning responsibility when recession hits – while still peddling economic nostrums.

Schwarzenegger is not alone. During this election year, other office-holders and office-seekers are chanting his “jobs, job, jobs” mantra because polls find economic worries topping voters’ concerns. Democratic legislative leaders even call their state budget version a “California jobs budget” because it would save unionized government jobs by raising taxes.

Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, the two would-be Schwarzenegger successors, have both floated what they say are prescriptions for returning prosperity to the state. Simply put, Brown, who claims credit for a big jump in jobs during his first governorship three decades ago, would encourage more green industries while Whitman would cut taxes and reduce regulation.

Sen. Barbara Boxer and her Republican challenger, Carly Fiorina, are exchanging economic salvos. While Boxer tours the state touting the effects of federal “stimulus” spending, Fiorina campaigns with state business leaders, one of whom said Boxer “treats business much like the Huns treated the cities of Europe – as targets of plunder and pillage.”

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