Re "Gov. Warns of 'Armageddon Cuts,' " Jan. 21: What a neat trick -- by dumping budget decisions in the laps of voters, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has absolved himself of any responsibility for fixing California's deficit. Should voters reject Propositions 57 and 58, the doomsday scenario he paints would be our fault, not his. Such a passive-aggressive tack seems strange from a man so attentive to his image of "take charge" hypermasculinity. Then again, Republicans have long trafficked in hysteria -- fear of communism, crime, homosexuality, etc. -- to justify their platforms.
Of course, there need be nothing inevitable about "Armageddon cuts" should the propositions fail. The governor's rhetorical sleight of hand clouds the fact that he has other tools at his disposal, selective tax increases the most obvious. If Schwarzenegger wants to show us his backbone, he should do what he was elected to do -- work with the Legislature toward a solution to our fiscal problems, with all options on the table, rather than plying the electorate with scare tactics to get what he wants.
Re "Surcharge Not Too Taxing for Wealthy," Jan. 21: Once again, Steve Lopez has given us a great column filled with insight and solutions. The proposal from Paul O'Lague and John Bachar to tax the wealthiest in California is the answer. Why don't Schwarzenegger and the legislators look at other alternatives in solving our fiscal crisis instead of pushing Propositions 57 and 58? We need creative thinking and new solutions, right Arnold? Then, for God's sake, just do it!