California, like Africa, is oil rich. Africa has surpassed the Middle
East as a source of U.S. oil imports,and California is third to
Texas and Alaska, as an oil producing state. Yet most Africans enjoy
none of the wealth consequent to oil extraction in their
homeland, much like Californians. California charges no oil and
natural gas severance tax at the wellhead, unlike any
other state in the U.S., and, unlike even any African state. (Humbold State University map.)
by Ann Garrison
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger now
threatens California much as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and
World Bank threaten debt strangled, resource ransacked, environmentally
assaulted, and de facto colonized Africa, and the rest of the Global
South. In negotiations over the budget deadlock that now has California
operating on CA IOUs, he's demanded that the majority Democratic California
Legislature repeal years of hard won labor and environmental protection
in exchange for his signature on a budget that saves at least some of
the most basic human services.
If enacted without
amendment, his harsh budget cuts will end many California college
students' educations and sentence the most vulnerable Californians to
extreme privation, and even death; some Californians will literally
die without AIDS medication, in-home health services, health care for
children, and other very basic social services that Schwarzenegger
insists California can no longer afford.
Why is California no longer able to afford basic decency and dignity?
Because Schwarzenegger and his Republican minority:
1) Refuse to ask the wealthiest Californians, and corporations, to join in what he himself calls "shared sacrifice."
Refuse to ask Big Oil, despite record profits, to join in the "shared
sacrifice," by refusing to impose an oil and natural gas tax at the
wellhead, in this state which so uniquely charges none.
Don't even propose trimming all the State's outright contributions to
corporations, in "public private partnerships" for infrastructural
development, and/or, subsidies, to California's enormously wealthy
utility monopolies, like Pacific Gas'n Electric and Southern California
California is the world's eighth largest
economy, and, the largest state in the U.S.A. If Arnold
Schwarzenegger's harsh end game succeeds here, it will no doubt send
waves of corporatist triumph around the world.
June 30, 2009, I recorded this KMEC Radio interview with California
Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, on Arnold Schwarzenegger's
budget and agenda, posted to the Op-Ed News, http://tinyurl.com/mcandh
earlier this week.
Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached (more...)