‘We have to be prepared, because we are the fifth largest economy in the world…’
But the Republican “governator’s” progressive successor, Gov. Jerry Brown, terminated it.
Now, California is suffering from a sprawling Wuhan coronavirus outbreak without Schwarzenegger’s pandemic infrastructure, and state hospitals are facing the grim prospect of rationing care.
Worse, Brown and current Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom have thrown their weight behind tens of billions of dollars in wasteful “green” energy programs while the cost of maintaining the state’s lifesaving breathing ventilators was a mere $5.8 million a year.
As public servants, “our ultimate responsibility is not just to make a budget balance, but to save lives,’’ Schwarzenegger told Politico on Tuesday.
The Hollywood mega-star turned GOP politician was referring to budget cuts Brown pushed on the Democratic-controlled state legislature in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Why he chose to cut millions in pandemic preparedness programs while spearheading billions in literal train-to-nowhere projects is a question that should haunt Californians.
As of Thursday afternoon, California had 9,816 reported infections and 212 deaths. And health officials believe the worst is yet to come.
Between Brown and Newsom, $77 billion was wasted on an environmentally friendly bullet train that was supposed to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles. Except, it was never built and not a single passenger ever boarded the green transit boondoggle.
The average cost of a 90-minute shuttle flight is $149.
Schwarzenegger said the dismantling of his pandemic programs was “shortsighted,” which is perhaps a bipartisan euphemism given the seriousness of the times.
“I thought, ‘We have to be prepared, because we are the fifth largest economy in the world,’” he said.
Schwarzenegger’s pandemic proposals included three 200-bed mobile hospitals that could be rapidly deployed to virus hot-zones and provide advanced health care.
“Each hospital would be the size of a football field, with a surgery ward, intensive care unit and X-ray equipment,” wrote the Los Angeles Times.
Stockpiled supplies also included kits for an extra 21,000 critical-care beds and 2,400 portable breathing ventilators.
But those lifesaving ventilators are long gone, and the state is now in desperate need of them.
“The one treatment we know works are ventilators… so we need more,” Newsom said to Trump last week with hat-in-hand.
In light of the state leadership failures, Schwarzenegger urged Californians to stay home.
“Government can only do so much,” he said. “At the end of the day… it goes back to people power.”