A good friend of mine, a judge at the civil justice court of Hamburg, once surprised me stating he would not socialize with teachers. Although such a statement is of course untenable as a generalization it was a fairly just conclusion given the disastrous role teachers have played in the state of Hamburg and other advanced Western states. This seems to be the lesson Arnold Schwarzenegger has finally absorbed. Indeed, no one has probably paid out more to the teacher unions than the famous body builder, turned actor, turned governor of California. Over the last couple of years, Schwarzenegger's weakness at the hands of the powerful teacher unions of California has wrecked his entire reform agenda. But to most people's surprise, with California’s facing bankruptcy, Schwarzenegger is back in full terminator mode:

California is so broken that we must look at every bold proposal out there, no matter how daring or radical -- including the idea of a flat tax"…Mr. Schwarzenegger has shocked nearly everyone in Sacramento by embracing some seismic policy changes to fix the California budget for the long term. These reforms include a flat-rate income tax, a spending limitation measure with teeth, and deep cuts in wasteful spending.

Schwarzenegger will create a bipartisan tax reform commission which will work on his proposal of a uniform tax for everyone of 6%. Against this only very few deductions will be allowed. Everyone who has spent days with their UK tax return will have to envy Californians. Edmund Burke was right to defend prejudices as the quickest guide for our actions if there is no time to reflect in full depth which way to go.