Schwarzenegger Finally Learns: Freedom Is Profitable, Statism Starves

While this is all good news for financially strapped Californians, many legislators in the state oppose the lease on the grounds that it’s a “sweetheart deal for one oil company.” And Democrat John Garamendi, the state’s lieutenant governor, framed his opposition to the proposed lease by ratcheting up the criticism of “big oil.” He said, “Big oil has been sitting at the governor’s right hand throughout [Schwarzenegger’s] administration.”

It should come as no surprise that a politician like Garamendi, who picks up the “big oil” refrain so effortlessly, not only opposes the plan for offshore drilling, but actually contends that the best way to make up the state’s monstrous budget shortfall is to raise taxes on oil and gas producers within the state.

Not surprisingly, the Orange County Progressive is also trying to rally opposition to Schwarzenegger’s plan. Their contention is that Schwarzenegger is the “biggest environmental hypocrite” ever, because his plan, if adopted, would create “the first new offshore oil lease off the California coast in 40 years.” It’s hard to fathom how these folks can go 40 years without offshore drilling and, upon finding themselves in the quagmire they’re in now, continue to push for a sustained moratorium on such drilling. It’s like watching Democrats in D.C. spend us into poverty with a stimulus bill, then disregard it’s utter failure as they seek to pass a second one.

Some of the opposition to Schwarzenegger’s plan is just laughable. Like those who dismiss the $100 million which Plains Exploration & Production Co. would immediately advance to the state of California if the lease gets finalized. These naysayers mock the cash the lease would garner up front by calling it “a statistically negligible amount given the state’s overall crisis.” Only liberals would dismiss $100 million in debt reduction on the grounds that it’s “statistically negligible.”

Although Schwarzenegger is not without his flaws and liberal tendencies, he’s right on this one. He realizes his state needs money -- both the $2 billion over the next 14 years and the $100 million California will receive as soon as the lease is signed.

Hopefully he’s realized the bigger lesson behind this mess as well. Namely, that big government tends toward bankruptcy but freedom is profitable.