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California Mess Worsens

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPc85z9uhJQ']

California’s budget woes combined with poor economic results have long made it a poster child for poor fiscal management. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded to an A- by S&P, the lowest rating for any U.S. state, and its budget and pension shortfalls are infamous. Even more so than in other states, the main political challenge for California’s politicians will be to put the state on firm fiscal footing. Given the state’s poor current condition the rotten condition of its non-Hollywood, non-Silicon Valley economy, this process is bound to take years.

Governor Jerry Brown returned to the state house in 2011 with a plan to at least begin to tackle the state’s deficit. Like many other Democratic governors in similar straits, Brown has had to break some hoary blue taboos and made serious (though evidently not serious enough) cuts in spending and public sector employment.

Brown has fought, but progress has been short-lived, and on Sunday he was forced to to deliver some sobering news: State revenues have come in much lower than expected, some of his budget cuts did not work as well as hoped, and the projected  $9 billion budget deficit will instead be $16 billion. Brown is now asking California voters to support a tax hike, aimed mainly at the wealthy.

Via Meadia has long thought of California as a failing state. A mix of tight regulatory and environmental restrictions that satisfy the aspirations of rich Californians with an influx of low skilled immigrants who desperately need a wide open economic environment even if that means lax regulations would be difficult to manage under the best of conditions. California’s powerful public unions with their culture of entitlement makes it all much harder; so too does the state’s messy governance with referendums and legislative deadlock combining to produce a truly dysfunctional system.

It is all getting worse in a dismal cycle. New business is stifled even as many employers and successful people flee the state or opt not to go there in the first place. The housing bubble covered over some of California’s starker problems, but it will be some time before the residential construction industry picks up again — especially if the rest of California’s economy continues to languish.

Behind it all is the reality that California is too large and too diverse to be effectively run as a single state. The regional and economic differences among the voters produce political gridlock and the huge size of the state with its many expensive media market make the power of special interests even greater than in most of the rest of the country.

Governor Brown is now asking Californians to pay more for less: to raise taxes even as services decrease. In effect, he is behaving like the Greek and Spanish governments — offering voters nothing good, reduced to arguing that all their choices are worse than the swill he is asking them to drink.

He may well be right in the short term, but you cannot lead a state like this. California needs leadership that can offer a way out of the state’s current dead end. That involves a clean break with much of California’s current orthodoxy and it inevitably means a grudge match with the unions — or at least with some of them.

Currently, Californians seem bent on marching down the road to ruin; at some point, however, they will have to change direction. Via Meadia would like to see more public policy groups and others starting to work out the plans for a turnaround; California will needs ideas because sooner or later Californians will wake up, look at the wrecked state around them, and realize that big changes are needed.

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  • Rhodium Heart

    Here’s the question to which I thought I knew the answer, but I’m thinking that I actually don’t: Why should California and Greece and Illinois and Spain behave like adults and live within their means? There seems to be an endless supply of banks willing to lend each of the above as much money as they need to continue their profligate ways. If the banks lose their bets on Cali or Greece, etc., there is a government somewhere to bail them out. And if the banks win, collecting bigger interest payments, it’s bigger bonuses for the bankers. Socialized losses and privatized profits!

    We have incentivized bad behavior so, shockingly, we get more of it. Greece doesn’t worry about the German Army (!) marching in and taking payment in islands. California doesn’t have to worry about financially-responsible Texas foreclosing on Yosemite. So why live within one’s means if there’s always a rich Uncle Germany or Grampa USA to bail out the profligate?

  • Ann

    Jerry Brown was the man who caused the public sector union mess in California in the 1970., Who in their right mind would think he would have the knowledge or desire to solve any of California’s problems, which primarily stem from the pension funds. Do you really think that governor moonbeam hasn’t seen a regulation he doesn’t like? Both silicon valley and Hollywood are moving new operations out of state and many movie stars have their domiciles elsewhere too. California has been in deep decline since the late 90s, but people are just realizing it now.

  • vanderleun

    California: “Why Pay Less?”

    That’s the new motto on the new state flag with a gelded gopher as the new emblem on it.

    As for “Behind it all is the reality that California is too large and too diverse to be effectively run as a single state. ” you have it exactly right.

    California has to be split in two. The southern half gets Hollywood and Sacramento. The Northern half get the rich forests and marijuana farms and all the water.

    San Francisco? Nuked from orbit by a missile out of Vandenberg just before it is converted by Jerry Brown into a local sustainable artisan lettuce farm to feed him and the millions of other beta males with the rich vegetable matter that they thrive upon.

  • Mrs. Davis

    The problem is not the leadership of Caliphornia, but the citizens who elect it. They had a chance to take on the teachers’ and prison guards’ (but I repeat myself) unions in the Schwartzeneger referenda and failed to pass them. They are getting what they deserve. It’s a beautiful place, but I doubt if this will be resolved without the kind of out of doors political activity we have seen in Greece. Or worse. I suspect much worse.

  • PBC

    The November election can be summed up as Romney/Wisconsin versus Obama/California.

  • Corlyss

    “Currently, Californians seem bent on marching down the road to ruin; at some point, however, they will have to change direction.”

    Not as long as there’s a politician left in Washington to bail them out. We, the taxpayers, have been doing it since Prop 13.

  • Corlyss

    @ Mrs. Davis
    “The problem is not the leadership of Caliphornia, but the citizens who elect it.”

    Spot on. De Tocqueville’s nightmare come true.

  • http://inthisdimension.com alex scipio

    It’s nonsense (no offense, Prof Mead), to think that Californians, of which I am a native, will one day awaken to reality. We won’t. Ask George Clooney – a PURE capitalist, 0.001-percenter, charging what the market is worth for his talent.. voting for the anti-capitalist. His schooling, quite obviously, was .. uh… lacking.

    Here’s the reality for the average CA voter, who is below-average in income and lives in a major city, probably on welfare: As long as you vote for the Dem they will keep giving you money. To think the average voters looks beyond that is to ignore the history of CA since the Dills Act (legalizing Public Sector unions, signed by Jerry Brown in 1977), and the pure vote-buying via AFSCME and SEIU ever since. They give their money to a Dem, he gets elected, votes the SEIU more money, raises taxes to get it, pays it to their workers, union dues automatically witheld, given to Dems.. vicious, suicidal economic spiral.

    You are right about the size of the state, but it isn’t that easy to say – split it in half, as many proposals have suggested over my lifetime. More to the point, and can aid other states, as well, set an upper limit on the population of a major metro AS a major metro – it exceeds that size and it automatically is seceeded from the state and becomes its own state. Because CA is three major metros (SF, LA, SD), and 50 of 58 counties are RED, splitting these folks off will get them out of the way of those of us wanting to work for OUR kids rather that SOMEONE ELSE’S kids, which is what welfare has become. I don’t go to work to support other mens’ children, and I am continually irritated that the left thinks I do. Get the idiotic Blues out of the state and farmers can farm again, workers can work again, families can thrive again – and those living in the big blue cities can live within their own squalor rather than stealing the future from the producers.

    Oh, and Congress needs to pass bankruptcy legislation for states. Blue states may not take it (for the reasons above – abrogating SEIU/AFSCME contracts will ensure the end of the road for bought-Dem-pols), but there will be NO reason for other states to continue sending CA, IL and others money if they can declare bankruptcy to get their houses in order. That’ll leave it up to the Blue pols to decide – but NO MORE NATIONAL MONEY TO BLUE STATES.

  • Gary L

    Michael Lewis offers an unforgettable look at California’s current status via the perspectives of former Governor Schwarzenegger and firefighter Paige Meyer of the bankrupt city of Vallejo.

  • thibaud

    There is no plausible to recovery and economic health for California that does not include border security + ending the importation of an illiterate Mexican underclass.

    Given that this issue has become a third rail in CA politics – cf the candidacy of Meg Whitman for governor – it’s almost certain that CA will undergo a steady and inexorable decline.

    Within 30 years, CA will have the socioeconomic stratification of a Brazil or Mexico: a thin class of super-rich hunkered down in their coastal enclaves in league with a massive underclass and a thin, desperate, shrinking middle class with one eye on the border.

  • Georgian Mountain Lion

    Wow, he is a better actor than his predesessor…

  • Snorri Godhi

    “State revenues have come in much lower than expected [...] Brown is now asking California voters to support a tax hike”

    Apparently Brown never understood the concept of the Laffer curve.

    “A mix of tight regulatory and environmental restrictions [...] with an influx of low skilled immigrants who desperately need a wide open economic environment even if that means lax regulations”

    My understanding is that, on the contrary, it is exactly the tight regulations that create a market for the labor of illegal immigrants.

  • http://Www.chicagoboyz.net Lexington Green

    California and Illinois Democrats are hoping for a federal bailout under Obama II. If he wins they may get it. Obama’s goal is to turn the entire country into California. Then it will be almost impossible for citizens to vote with their feet. Or, more accurately, the goal is to turn the whole country into Cook County, where only one political party exists, and all significant economic decisions require political connections. A second Obama term will get us most of the way there.

  • thibaud

    @ #12 – “tight regulations” do not “create demand for illegal labor.” The low-end, unskilled labor market is primarily supply driven: restrict entry into that market by illegals, and wages will rise.

    Some bottom-level jobs esp in light manufacturing and agriculture will be lost as employers substitute labor-saving machinery for workers, but overall, native-born low-end workers of all races will benefit hugely – as will the public generally.

    Illegal immigration costs the state of CA * billions * each year – the burden on each citizen household in CA has been estimated at roughly $2,000 per year.

    Nothing symbolizes the bankruptcy and decadence of our political class than the determination of elites of both parties and all ideological persuasions to pretend that illegal immigration is not a fiasco that is destroying schools, local and state budgets, and public support for an ethos of communal provision.

  • Jim.

    @12:

    The irony of the regulatory state in California is that it ignores the ad hoc small businesses set up by that minority underclass.

    People used to the non-existent regulatory structure of countries south of our border simply don’t bother to do things like get permits to expand their houses, run taco-truck businesses, dump junk in whatever vacant lot’s handy, and other commercial enterprises. Not to mention the way that they forgo immigration papers in the first place. Blue-style regulation is simply ignored. Blue-style handouts, however, are eagerly guzzled down.

    I suppose the rest of us could start imitating these liberties; (though we don’t qualify for the handouts) but unfortunately, we don’t have a home out of the country we could abscond to if the heavy hand of the law came down on us with fines and liens.

    There is something very, very wrong with government when peoples’ livelihood depends on government’s being ineffectual at enforcing its writ.

    Only wholesale reform (or Revolution, in the case of 1770s America) can fix a system like this.

    If, some election / crisis year, every single office in the state goes from D to R, I could see this resolving itself. Peacefully, even.

    If not… CA is going to turn into Brazil, the land of possibilities that might have been.

  • gringojay

    State won’t split nor unions accomodate, but just keep on singing: ” … check out anytime – but you can never leave.”

  • pashley1411

    Brown wouldn’t have said a dam thing, and hoped to shuffle off a few more blocks down the road, but for another tax increase on the ballot. Today its wonderful, unless we think we can get higher taxes, and tomorrow it will be wonderful again, just pass those higher taxes.

  • h

    WIll somebody please walk me through this sentence? I don’t understand it:

    “A mix of tight regulatory and environmental restrictions that satisfy the aspirations of rich Californians with an influx of low skilled immigrants who desperately need a wide open economic environment even if that means lax regulations would be difficult to manage under the best of conditions.”

  • EvilBuzzard

    There should have been a chapter on Jerry Brown in Atlas Shrugged.

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Why not have Jefferson become a state at the same time Texas secedes? The flag wouldn’t even need to be changed!

    http://www.jeffersonstate.com/

  • Andrew Allison

    Attractive as it may be, the two-state solution duplicates too many functions to be cost effective — we have too much overhead already. “Temporary” taxes are not the answer either. We need is a balanced budget, with the legislative and administrative arms being the first to be to be cut off in the event of failure.
    Here’s an easy way to start: make State income tax a line item on the Federal return (as percentage of Federal AGI), and get rid of the FTB and all the lawyers, lobbyists and accountants for which it provides employment. Etc.

  • f1guyus

    “Sooner or later Californians will wake up, look at the wrecked state around them, and realize that big changes are needed.”

    Don’t count on it. Like being badly educated or 30 lbs overweight the “wrecked state” will be the “new normal”. Dems will continue to get elected, the social infrastructure will continue to deteriorate etc. And when the inevitable unrest develops that will be “normal” and productive people leaving will be “traitors” It’s just normal.

  • jjv

    A rare miss for WRM. California is “not to larger or too diverse” for reasonable governance. It is not much bigger than Texas, nor much more “diverse.” The argument reminds me of the rap on the modern presidency before Reagan came along. The initiative and referendum and the one party nature of the state (and that party being Democrat) is the problem.

  • Whitehall

    As to illegal-friendly regulations, I was surprised to learn from my 16 daughter that one must be 18 to work anywhere hot food is prepared, including coffee brewing, in Santa Clara County (San Jose et al, aka Silicon Valley.)

    That means that white youth can’t take jobs from adult illegals in our sanctuary cities.

    Those farm kid labor rules that the Obama Administration tried to impose would have had the same effect nation-wide.

  • koblog

    California —
    – 78% fail science testing
    – 50% dropout rate in LA schools
    – highest sales tax
    – highest income tax
    – 48th worst business environment
    – $500 billion owed the union pensions
    – home to 33% of the nation’s welfare recipients while having only 12% of the population
    – refuses to tap vast oil reserves
    – closes off water to farms
    – regulates anything near the coast
    – bans plastic bags
    – defines marriage as man and woman
    — overturned arbitrarily by a judge
    – shuttering electric generation plants
    – paying people to drive electric cars
    – mandate all cars painted white to lessen A/C
    – subsidize solar panels that die just as they’re finally paid for
    – erect and subsidize windmills that kill bald eagles, but don’t produce enough power to matter
    – raise taxes only to see revenues drop
    – regulate manufacturing out of existence
    – cover the desert with solar collectors, then complain about wires and damage to the desert


    -

  • http://www.varifrank.com Frank Martin

    Funny how the California is always called too big, too “diverse” or too complicated to run when Democrats are in charge. As a 3rd generation native Californian, I beg to differ. If you want to see how the United States would work if it were governed like France, look no further than the policies of the California State Government.

    The State of California works in direct and inverse proportion to the size of the State Government in Sacramento. In the 1970’s, when we had a part time legislature, things worked far better and yet, there was by comparison to today, almost no state government. In the 1960’s The Los Angeles Basin created more cars than Detroit did in the same time period as well as more aircraft than Boeing and more ships than any other part of the country.

    Today, none of those industries exist in Southern California. They didnt leave of their own accord. They were driven out, buy the very people who purport to care for the poor.

    The geographical borders of the state haven’t changed since the 1840’s but what has changed is the range and size of government in the state.

    There is no better argument for doing less than to see what happens when you do more than the State Government of California which hasn’t just killed the “golden goose”, its pressed the remains in a fine imported french duck press and then made the output illegal due to concerns from Vegan lobby and PETA.

    I notice that throughout history, every time the proponents of “Big Government” are actually in charge of a government, shortly after they take power there is an almost immediate collapse in the number of people who think that the government works, as if there is something wrong with the people being governed and not the government itself.

  • Richard

    I’ve lived in California most of my life and curiously I still consider my self a (summer) Minnesotan. During my time in California one calamity after another was supposed to happen which California was not supposed to survive: earthquakes, brush fires, mud slides, race riots, and so on. I’ve read over the years the blame game: It’s the Iowans, the Okies, the Mexicans, the Blacks who will bring down California. It’s too big, it needs to be broken up. But, every morning, the sun comes up, the fog rolls out to sea, and life goes on.

    I don’t mean to diminish the current problems here: corrupt politicians, Tammany Hall type labor unions, and dumb voters, and a boom and bust economy. But, California seems to survive its doomsday critics. It is dismaying that Californians chose to bring back Brown, the source of many its ills for a second go round. But, California will survive even its stupid voters much as it has not sunk into the sea from earthquakes either.

  • GC

    “Brown has fought, but progress has been short-lived, ….”
    Oh yeah? Please give me one example.
    Pretty please?

  • VA Teacher

    I suspect the only thing that keeps California afloat is the hope of a Federal bailout. I honestly don’t see how that is going to happen. Either the Federal government is going into Paul Ryan mode and there won’t be money for a bailout, or the Federal government will be controlled by a coalition of blue staters led by Obama who will only vote money for California if there is also equivilant per capita spending for every other state (traditional log-rolling). [BTW, when Obama and friends talk about "infrastructure" and "stimulus" and "investment"...read between the lines; it all boils down to bailing out California (and the other failing blue states) without calling it a bailout.] Spending on that scale will crash the U.S. economy and take us all down the chute. Either way, California is unsustainable.

    The California crash is coming and it won’t be pretty. The only real question is whether it sucks the rest of the country with it when it goes.

  • Brucee

    The problem is not the state is “too big to govern”, what an absurd notion.

    The problem is too many people belong to the free-lunch party, ie. Democrats. CA continues to expand government, with more mostly do nothing regulatory boards to employ all these free-lunch hangers on.

    Does CA really need a furniture advisory board, check the tags on the next lawn chair you buy…

  • Gordon

    @1: “We have incentivized bad behavior so, shockingly, we get more of it. Greece doesn’t worry about the German Army (!) marching in and taking payment in islands. California doesn’t have to worry about financially-responsible Texas foreclosing on Yosemite.”

    Exactly. Hence banks have the incentive to lend to impecunious California and Greece at a higher (nominal) rate of interest because their credit worthiness is really equal to Texas and Germany’s.

    This remains the case as long as Texans and Germans decide that they are better off by remaining within the union. In turn, Californians and Greeks are free to be parasites until their respective union collapses.

  • don

    Gee, well, since California is often compared to Greece in the making, imagine if California was offered the choice to leave the union? No, not offered the choice, but rudely kicked out? I wonder what the Golden State’s drachma would be worth? Fifty percent less than the current dollar (since no longer backed by the full faith and credit of the United States)? That would reduce California living standards, but the Hollywood movies and Napa Valley wines could be exported cheaply. Maybe Silicon Valley could actually make competitive solar voltaic arrays, and the Feds could better balance their budget without funding the California bullet train boondoggle and selling off all those Federal parks and military reservations?

  • AD-RtR/OS!

    Frank Martin:
    CA went to a full-time legislature in IIRC 1969, courtesy of the snow-job provided by “Big Daddy” Jesse Unruh.

  • ajb

    If I give my teenager a credit card and tell him how much he’s allowed to spend, and he spends five times that much, I’m still responsible for paying for it. And I will. But you can bet his credit card will lose a fight with a pair of scissors. Maybe we’re at the point where our hole is so deep that we do need a temporary tax increase to pay our teenager-cum-Legislature’s bills, but we should only approve it if we put shackles on the Legislature’s ability to spend. We had Prop. 1A a few years ago, that if I recall would have raised taxes and put a limit on spending that the legislators could get around only by saying “pretty please”. Not good enough, but what do you expect from a proposition written by the Legislature? The only temporary tax increase I would vote for would be an initiative, initiated by some anti-tax and anti-spending citizens group, that would put *real* shackles on future government spending ability. (Plus it would tax everyone fairly, and not just the rich, so that everyone is affected by the consequences of runaway spending.)

  • CatoRenasci

    What goes around comes around. Junior Brown (as those of us who actually knew his father call him) was the idiot child who allowed public employees in California to unionize during his first turn as governor.

    He has shamelessly pandered to the illegal immigrants and encouraged California to build an unsustainable welfare state while hobbling business.

    Brown has no shame. He destroyed his Father’s greatest work. What a little [profanity removed] he is. I didn’t like him when I met him in 1959 and nothing I’ve learned since has given me any reason to raise my opinion of him.

  • Kenny

    Maybe when the ‘big one’ comes and the rotten section of California (the coastal areas) falls into the Pacific, then meaningful political reform can happen.

  • Hal

    Is there any realistic chance CA could be divided into an East California (LA, SD, and the southern Central Valley), West California (the coast from SLO County north plus the northern Central Valley), with Inyo County and the other parts east of the Sierra crest going to Nevada?
    To avoid upsetting the US Senate balance, perhaps all parts of Oregon and Washington east of the Cascade crest would become part of Idaho and the remainder of both states west of the Cascade crest would become a new state called Cascadia.
    This idea is not original with me, and seems based on the theory (or hope) that two merely big states would be more manageable than one giant. If it ever got serious consideration, it would be interesting to see how the various factions would line up.
    Just wondering.

  • Brian

    I’m a bit tired of people generalizing about “Californians” and how we “deserve what we voted for”. I didn’t vote for it. None of my friends have, either. We have been in this state since before it degenerated into a total leftist hole, and we’ve tried our [darndest] to do something about it. Sadly, we’re outvoted by the idiots. But there’s a lot of us who did nothing to make this mess, have consistently voted against it, and yet are going to suffer for the stupidity of other people, and the greed of politicians who took big payoffs from the unions.

    We don’t deserve it. We’re just stuck with it, because many of us have businesses here, all our clients are here, and moving would be even worse for us economically. I can’t desert my practice for another state unless I find a job in another state, which is harder than it sounds in my line of work, and would involve expenses I largely can’t afford thanks to the slumping business environment and high taxes here. It’s a catch-22.

    So stop telling me I deserve it. Not all Californians are socialist nitwits. Not even a significant majority of them. Just enough to gerrymander [heck] out of the voting districts and make sure they keep control.

    For what it’s worth, we probably should be two states, but one state should just be the Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles, and then the rest of us could run a decent state while that bunch disintegrates into a third world country.

  • Teacher in Tejas

    In Novembe 2010, I read a fascinating proposal on some law professor blog, that I wish I had saved. Someone posited a briliant idea:

    1. Like the alcoholic who can’t stop, CA bottoms out and begs Uncle Sam for a bailout.
    2. DC gives California a period of time to get their house in order (say 3 years)
    3. At the end of three years the state has made no, or little, headway on their fiscal disaster.
    4. Uncle Sam then writes a bailout check to……….wait for it………..THE TERRITORY OF CALIFORNIA!

    This provoked a great discussion of Federalism, the Constitution etc. Madison’s original intent etc.

    I think this makes perfect sense: When you declare bankruptcy, the government does not let you keep your business, the factory etc. If the nation’s tax payers are bailing out the nose-picking idiots who keep sending Boxer, Feinstein, Waters, Stark, Brown et. al. to positions of authortity, then they shouldn’t be able to keep their state.

    In the discussion someone else posited the following: And readmission to the union is done county by county as each smaller sector of government puts their house in order.

  • mojo

    I seem to recall that it was this same Jerry Brown who allowed public servants to join unions in the first place, back in his first disastrous tenure of the Governor’s office.

    How’s that working out for everybody?

  • f1guyus

    Actually the two California’s aren’t North and South. They are costal and inland. The costals send the inlanders their criminals, their smog and their regulations (from which they carefully exclude themselves) The inlanders send the costals their food, water, and gardeners.

  • Liz

    Cali needs a Chris Christie type. Someone to break the back of the cancerous unions. No more dopers or vapid Hollywood types.

  • BWP

    Richard…. I’m not sure, are you being a Pollyanna or a Democrat? From a purely geological point of view, you’re right, the sun will come up and the tides will rise and fall; but the quality of life for the person observing these phenomenon will not be positive enough to wax poetic.

    As many have observed, it the voters who created the mess by listening to the media and not investigating for themselves as to the quality of the candidates or perhaps they truly believe that you CAN rob Peter AND Paul to pay them their ‘due’ as a victim, minority, or ‘green energy producer.’ The problem now is too many self-interested voters demanding that the tide (of red ink) stand still, too many union thugs in charge, and a state government of bureaucrats and crony criminals too bought to be un-bought.

  • A. Umansky

    There is no doubt about California’s immense financial problems. And everything Mr. Mead points to is right on. But what is so interesting and rarely pointed out is how the prolific growth of the Federal government is the real culprit in a state’s ability to tax and raise funds. The high Federal tax rates and federal deficits impedes local and state taxation. Just look at the numbers! California’s budget deficit for its fiscal YEAR is $16 billion. That is equivalent to FOUR DAYS of Obama’s Federal deficit. Which tells you everything you need to know about where the money is flowing and where POWER is held. Governor Brown is an amature when it comes to deficit spending compared to Obama and our Federal overlords.

  • koblog

    Gerrymandering has a lot to do with California’s problems, too. I live in perhaps the most tortured shape in the nation, the 36th.

    In 1980 I was in “B-1 Bob” Dornan’s district. Now I’m mysteriously in what was Jane Harman’s district, which was willed to a fellow traveler Janice Hahn in a can’t lose “special” election when Jane retired to buy Newsweek for $1.

    Those that hold the state house during the Census year get to draw the boundaries. They’ve drawn themselves into permanent majority, then complain about how government works/doesn’t.

  • Foobarista

    One item, in particular, that is problematic is the “Hollywoodization” of Silicon Valley. In the 1970s and 80s, Silicon Valley was basically “conservative” libertarian, and generally voted (socially liberal) Republican or pro-biz Democrat – and, most importantly, funded Republican candidates for state and federal office.

    This was, in part, due to the roots SV had at the time in defense or the chip business, both of which took awhile to get off the ground, so they typically had grown-ups running things.

    This changed with the first Internet boom, and the bunch of 20-something billionaires it created. Unfortunately, their political instincts were similar to Hollywood and focused on needing to be seen as deserving of their sudden wealth and status, so they went with what was “fashionable”, namely Democratic free-lunchism and statist greenism. This change in SV turned CA from a tossup state into a Dem stronghold.

  • teapartydoc

    States that go bankrupt should enter a modified status within the union, sort of like a receivership. State assets would be sallable as a means of paying off debts. They will forfeit their electoral college votes in national elections and their senators and congressmen will be allowed to sit in congress and participate in debate, but their votes will not be counted, only registered in a permanent record. Re-entry into the union would require a two-thirds majority vote of the other states. Subdivision would be an option, but would require a 2/3rd majority of both houses of congress. In reality, re-entry might be subject to subdivision, depending on compromises worked out between the other states during debates on the issue. It may come to something like this.

  • Stephen

    Move the western border of Arizona to about the 605 freeway and give the rest to Nevada and that should fix the problem.

  • Kevin M

    Well, obviously the answer isn’t to raise taxes for cancer research like Prop 29 does. If you must jack up tobacco taxes, at least put it to some critical use.

  • Kevin M

    California needs to be broken up into 4 states. Southern Cal, Central Valley, SF Bay Area and South Oregon.

  • rbrandt

    The state’s problems are self made and could be fixed pragmaticly but there is no political will.

    Open the coast line to drilling.

    Unleash the water restrictions on farming.

    Cap pension benefits based on lifetime earnings – not the final year of earnings.

    Limit welfare to US citizens.

    Reduce regulations particularly environmental and not allow individuals to sue to enforce those regulations.

    Eazee Peazee – CA fixed.

  • cowgirl

    Mental illness is defined as something or some behavior that you keep doing even though the results are disastarous. My psyche teacher used this example:

    A patient wants to stop going into bars, getting drunk and getting into fights that result in their getting hurt and thrown into jail. The shrink tells the drunk that they need to stop going into the bar which leds them to getting drunk into fights and into jail.

    The majority of the people in California (I know because I was born, raised and living in the SF Bay Area all my life) keep voting democrats/liberals into office who keep spending money, promising big pensions to state workers, tax the rich, regulate business to death, follow the religion of global warming, hand out free lunches, dinners, houses, and education to illegal immigrants, stop the flow of water to fertile vallies to grow food and are constantly running out of taxpayer’s money.

    Like the drunk, the people of California need to stop voting liberals/democrats into office.

    This is not a hard problem to solve, but when one is afflicted with mental illness, it becomes impossible to solve.

  • richard40

    I agree that the problem with Ca is not that it is a big state, since TX is almost as big, and is having no problems at all. For that matter CA itself was doing quite well back in the 50’s and 60’s when it was governed by free market repubs. The problem now is the state is governed by idiot socialistic leftists, who ruin everything they touch, even a former ag, mineral, industrial, entertainment, and research powerhouse like CA used to be.

    As to what will happen to them, 2 possibilities. If Obama prevails, they might get a bailout and drag down the entire country with them. Otherwise they will go bankrupt, the welfare and state employee gravy return will end, because there will be no more money left there to loot. CA will then go through a period when they will look economically a lot like depression era Alabama.

    Once the gravy train ends, the leftists and the state employee and welfare parasites that depend on it will move to other states or starve. If enough move out, and their big cities become depopulated wastelands like Detroit and Cleveland, the rural free market right will again have a chance to take over, and their natural endowment of agricultural, climate, tourism, and mineral riches will give them a chance to prosper again like they did in the 50’s and 60’s. Hopefully at that point, the new conservative government will have learned their lesson, and enact structural protections to ensure that the leftists, welfareites, and unions can never again take over and loot them again.

  • Ann In L.A.

    I wouldn’t bet on California coming to its senses. Has Detroit? CA is just Detroit writ large.

  • richard40

    I just thought of another way CA might be saved. The state still has a large rural inland area that still beleives in the free market and votes repub, except for some areas that have been overun by ilegal immigrants. If they could somehow magically get rid of San Francisco and LA, they could probably restore a conservative majority again. One thing that might do it is if a huge earthquake destroys most of those 2 cities, especially if they got hit with a Japan style tsunami. Kind of like what happened to New Orleans, where most of the worste welfare parasites and the most corrupt gov toadies, got flooded out, and the much smaller city that is left is much better for it.

  • constitution First

    If history is any example CA will demand, and receive, a bailout. As a taxpayer from as far away as one can get from CA, (physically and ideologically) I have a problem with bailing out a failed socialist experiment that I fundamentally disagreed with. I think It basically would fall under ‘taxation without representation.’

    Whatever happens, it won’t be pretty.

  • Kris

    Gary@9, thanks for that link.

  • Retired Prosecutor

    When you are a Californian, you get accustomed to the continuous lies and hyperbole from the Democrat leadership. So when Jerry Brown says a tax increase is absolutely necessary to “save the schools,” one is a little suspicious. But — after all — it’s “for the children” and will supposedly keep class sizes in check. Thus, a heavily taxed populace is urged to pony up again.

    But it turns out that the truth is that the money for the tax increase is 100% for unionized teacher compensation, in the form of a payment being made with the new revenues to the California Teachers’ Retirement System. Well, fool me once . . .

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-23/new-california-taxes-pay-for-pensions-not-schools.html

  • Leon Haller

    Why the [heck] was my comment censored?

  • Sy

    CA will only recover when real budget cuts are forced upon it. Vote NO on Brown’s new tax proposals.

  • maxernst

    The mess in CA was predicted long ago, buy those opposed to mass immigration.

  • Donna

    I am a 2nd generation native Californian. In 2004 all generations of my entire family had moved to other states. We were sad to leave, but it was obvious that Liberals had taken over California and we didn’t want to live in a totalitarian state. Liberal ideas always sound good, they just never work. The results are obvious and the more socialist California gets the more people will vote with their feet.

    I was very worried about finances when we left but my whole family is better off now. For us it was the right thing to do.

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