The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 2, 2012
Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses public pensions on Jon Stewart show

121001Schwarzenegger book signing.jpgFormer California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on The Daily Show Monday to promote his autobiography, "Total Recall." The three-part unedited interview with host Jon Stewart touched on California's fiscal woes, with Stewart framing the subject as a political problem created by an initiative process that has allowed voters to refuse to raise taxes and simultaneously demand more government services.

Schwarzenegger pivoted from that point to public pensions, a topic that became a focus of his administration. The California Legislature created a system that now carries "$400 billion" in unfunded pension obligations, the Republican movie star said, money spent "looking backward" to pay benefits for work done that could be used for investing in the future on things such as education and infrastructure.

Stewart, a Democrat who generally sides with organized labor, offered little resistance to Schwarzenegger's pension claims, although the two later sparred over tax policy and the economy.

We've embedded the Daily Show segments below. Scroll to the 5-minute, 50-second mark of the first one to catch the pension discussion. The second clip includes Schwarzenegger explaining why he didn't feel beholden to the Republican Party. He crosses swords with Stewart over tax policy in the third segment, which opens with Stewart asking, "I'm wondering why you aren't a Democrat."

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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