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Governator to State Employees: U R PWNED NOOBZ

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As reported by our good friends, the Stuggling LA Times, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger*, has weighed the options and determined that when it comes to negotiating a new budget, the most effective tactic?

Human Shields:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has prepared an order to cut the pay of about 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until a budget is signed. Administration officials said Schwarzenegger was expected to sign the order, a draft of which was obtained Wednesday by The Times, early next week as part of an effort to avert a cash crisis. The deadline for passing a budget was July 1, and without one soon, the officials said, California may be unable to borrow billions of dollars needed to keep the state solvent.

Note: That's Federal minimum wage, not State. The only question we have is, is this the insult, or the injury part of the equation?
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The Republican governor's controversial plan, likely to be challenged in court by public-employee unions if carried out, would allow the state to defer paying about $1 billion a month, administration officials said. Workers would be repaid their lost earnings once a budget was in place.

Oh, thanks for clearing that one up. This is obviously the injury part. The insult will come later, when the state magically decides it can't afford to pay back the lost wages.

Democratic lawmakers urged Schwarzenegger not to sign the order.

This is the same Democratic party that produced the visionary, bold leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, so you know they'll stand firm, never back down and never surrender, right?

Fortunately, it appears this is nothing more than a Kabuki performance designed to make the other side blink first. Schwarzenegger is presumably betting that the State Dems will wish to avoid being tarred with the dreaded obstructionist lable, or worse, wasting time with lawsuits designed to figure out the legality of something that is clearly not entirely legal:

The state Supreme Court has declared it legal to drop the pay of even union workers down to the federal minimum wage in the event there is no budget, but not if they work overtime. It is unclear whether the state's electronic payroll systems are sophisticated enough to sort out which employees would be eligible to have their pay suspended.

You know what they say - to ask the question is to know the answer.

Administration officials say they hope to avoid that problem by suspending almost all overtime. Only workers whose jobs are vital to public safety would be exempt from the governor's order.

Which proves the point that this is mere political theater designed to terrify State leglislative Democrats into submission. Rest assured, they'll cave, unless we get involved in the fight. The valiant people with the Courage Campaign have already set up a petition to fight this nonsense while deftly pointing out that the budget problems could easily be solved by closing the Yacht Tax Loophole.* We suggest visiting and placing your name on it.

*Yes, we know it hurts to make Michael McDonald Cry,

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Photo by d_vdm via Flickr