Democrats governed their petri dish as they always govern. They buy the votes of government workers with taxpayer-funded jobs, salaries and benefits – and then turn around and accuse the productive class of "greed" for wanting their taxes cut. This has worked so well nationally that more people in America now work for the government than work in any sort of manufacturing job.
Strictly adhering to formula in California, as the private sector was bleeding jobs and money, Gov. Davis signed off on comically generous pensions for government workers. Government employees in the Golden State earn more than the private-sector workers who pay their salaries – and that's excluding the job security, health benefits and 90 percent pension plans that come with "Irish welfare," as government jobs used to be called.
Economists refer to this backward ratio between public and private-sector salaries as "France." (Inasmuch as they are paid more and work less than private-sector employees, perhaps we could ease up on treating public schoolteachers like Mother Teresa washing the feet of the poor in Calcutta.) The public-sector unions repaid Davis with massive contributions to his re-election campaign.
Davis bought himself re-election and is now the most hated officeholder in America. The people of California are willing to plunge their state into humiliation and chaos just to get rid of him. The fact that Arianna Huffington hasn't been laughed off a stage yet is a pretty good gauge of the public's frustration with Davis.
And yet, Bill and Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic Party think Gray Davis is doing a super job. Democrats have denounced the recall – a genuine citizens' revolt – as a "circus." According to recent polls, two out of three people in this overwhelmingly Democratic state want Davis out, and still the recall is being called a "Republican power grab."
Most touchingly, Democrats claim to be shocked at the exorbitant cost of a recall election. They were not such penny-pinchers when contemplating Enron-style pensions for school crossing guards. Nor did their fiscal conservatism kick in when Davis announced this week that he would sign legislation providing "intolerance and hatred control training" for all California schoolteachers. Yeah, this is the guy who wants another crack at straightening out the budget.
National Republicans had been enjoying watching the Democrats' petri dish disintegrate into a parasite's paradise and are reluctant to let Davis go. So there were long faces all around when the Terminator threw his hat in the ring. No longer content to play an evil robot, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger will now be running against one. Far be it from me to tell Republicans to stop enjoying the Democrats' pain, but California is about to fall into the ocean.
Either Schwarzenegger will dismantle the government employees' Versailles Palace, or California will continue to be a laboratory for failed liberal policies.