The Accelerating Decline of California
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  • Mogden

    What we’re looking at here is resigned acceptance of dysfunctional government as parasite.

  • Toni

    Here are some items California colleges DO have money for.

    “Even as UC campuses jettison entire degree programs and lose faculty to competing universities, one fiefdom has remained virtually sacrosanct: the diversity machine.

    “Not only have diversity sinecures been protected from budget cuts, their numbers are actually growing. The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.”
    http://www.city-journal.org/2011/cjc0714hm.html

    “For what have institutions of higher learning accomplished with their vast increases in revenues? The answer in all too many cases is administrative bloat.

    “Take the California State University system, the second tier in that state’s public higher education. Between 1975 and 2008 the number of faculty rose by 3 percent, to 12,019 positions. During those same years the number of administrators rose 221 percent, to 12,183. That’s right: There are more administrators than teachers at Cal State now.

    “These people get paid to “liaise” and “facilitate” and produce reports on diversity. How that benefits Cal State students or California taxpayers is unclear.”
    [http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/07/will-college-bubble-burst-public-subisidies]

  • Tom Holsinger

    Mr. Mead,

    Consider that some local governments and local government entities in California are also incredibly wasteful, incompetent and, in places, arguably corrupt. Some entities with particularly significant whacks to their state-funded budgets might have been singled out for those following audits which turned up such matters.

    Note that post-Proposition 13 funding of local governments with grants from the state government (up to 40% of the local governments’ budget in some instances) divorced responsibility and accountability from revenue to such an extent that such wastefulness, incompetence and corruption were inevitable.

    I.e., many of California’s problems are structural and result from the short-term restructuring of the relationships of state & local government revenues following the passage of Proposition 13. Which was then set in stone afterwards, and never revisited. But it was inherently disfunctional, and unstable, from the get-go.

    You might also consider who was Governor of California at the time.

    http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/avenueq/schadenfreude.htm

    “GARY COLEMAN:
    Right now you are down and out and feeling really crappy

    NICKY:
    I’ll say.

    GARY COLEMAN:
    And when I see how sad you are
    It sort of makes me…
    Happy!

    NICKY:
    Happy?!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    Sorry, Nicky, human nature-
    Nothing I can do!
    It’s…
    Schadenfreude!
    Making me feel glad that I’m not you.

    NICKY:
    Well that’s not very nice, Gary!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    I didn’t say it was nice! But everybody does it!

    D’ja ever clap when a waitress falls and drops a tray of glasses?

    NICKY:
    Yeah…

    GARY COLEMAN:
    And ain’t it fun to watch figure skaters falling on their […]?

    NICKY:
    Sure!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    And don’tcha feel all warm and cozy,
    Watching people out in the rain!

    NICKY:
    You bet!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    That’s…

    GARY AND NICKY:
    Schadenfreude!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    People taking pleasure in your pain!

    NICKY:
    Oh, Schadenfreude, huh?
    What’s that, some kinda Nazi word?

    GARY COLEMAN:
    Yup! It’s German for “happiness at the misfortune of others!”

    NICKY:
    “Happiness at the misfortune of others.” That is German!

    Watching a vegetarian being told she just ate chicken

    GARY COLEMAN:
    Or watching a frat boy realize just what he put his […]!

    NICKY:
    Being on the elevator when somebody shouts “Hold the door!”

    GARY AND NICKY:
    “No!!!”
    Schadenfreude!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    “[…] lady, that’s what stairs are for!”

    NICKY:
    Ooh, how about…
    Straight-A students getting Bs?

    GARY COLEMAN:
    Exes getting STDs!

    NICKY:
    Waking doormen from their naps!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    Watching tourists reading maps!

    NICKY:
    Football players getting tackled!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    CEOs getting shackled!

    NICKY:
    Watching actors never reach

    GARY AND NICKY:
    The ending of their oscar speech!
    Schadenfreude!
    Schadenfreude!
    Schadenfreude!
    Schadenfreude!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    The world needs people like you and me who’ve been knocked around by fate.
    ‘Cause when people see us, they don’t want to be us, and that makes them feel great.

    NICKY:
    Sure!
    We provide a vital service to society!

    GARY AND NICKY:
    You and me!
    Schadenfreude!
    Making the world a better place…
    Making the world a better place…
    Making the world a better place…
    To be!

    GARY COLEMAN:
    S-C-H-A-D-E-N-F-R-E-U-D-E!”

    http://www.thebards.net/music/lyrics/Always_Look_Bright_Side_Life.shtml

    words and music by Eric Idle

    Some things in life are bad
    They can really make you mad
    Other things just make you swear and curse.
    When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
    Don’t grumble, give a whistle
    And this’ll help things turn out for the best…

    And…always look on the bright side of life…
    Always look on the light side of life…

    If life seems jolly rotten
    There’s something you’ve forgotten
    And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
    When you’re feeling in the dumps
    Don’t be silly chumps
    Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing.

    And…always look on the bright side of life…
    Always look on the light side of life…

    For life is quite absurd
    And death’s the final word
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.
    Forget about your sin – give the audience a grin
    Enjoy it – it’s your last chance anyhow.

    So always look on the bright side of death
    Just before you draw your terminal breath

    Life’s a piece of ****
    When you look at it
    Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
    You’ll see it’s all a show
    Keep ’em laughing as you go
    Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

    And always look on the bright side of life…
    Always look on the right side of life…
    (Come on guys, cheer up!)
    Always look on the bright side of life…
    Always look on the bright side of life…
    (Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
    Always look on the bright side of life…
    (I mean – what have you got to lose?)
    (You know, you come from nothing – you’re going back to nothing.
    What have you lost? Nothing!)
    Always look on the right side of life…

  • Jim.

    You know, if the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could be defunded, that might lead to a vast improvement in American jurisprudence.

  • If the next president and Congress are of the right make up, the best thing that could happen to CA, IL, and some Northeastern states would be to allow for either state bankruptcy or a referendum to allow for return to “territorial” status pending reforms.

    The fact is that CA won’t/can’t be returned to sanity with out Greek-style riots. The public employee pus has to come out.

    It’s sad to see such a beautiful state with some still decent people, reduced to being bullied by a corrupt class of public employees (all of them, not just unionized).

    Maybe we should sell CA to China in exchange for our debt. They would have no compunction in stomping out public employee greed and violently putting down riots. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving class of people.

  • If we are honest we must allow that uncontrolled immigration from south of the border has a lot to do with this. California is being overwhelmed.

  • Tom Holsinger

    Luke,

    There is a difference between something which afflicts all of California, and a local government entity squealing about the end of 30 years of fun with other peoples’ money.

    Politics is the study of power. The most enjoyable power is _unaccountable_ power. Only there is an end to everything.

  • Well you know what they say about statistics.

    When I first started practicing law in the 1980’s it was normal for a routine civil case to take 5 years. and occasionally more, to get to trial. Sometime in the 90s California began a fast track system for civil cases, designed to greatly reduce the time it takes to get to trial. So the numbers you cite may seem high from a short term perspective, but from a longer term perspective they don’t seem that unusual.

  • Luke Lea

    “For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District could have saved $166 million on various construction projects if they had accepted bids from non-union firms.”

    Hiring illegal labor. Let’s get real here.

  • Luke Lea

    I just looked it up. The union scale for journeyman carpenters in L.A. right now is $35/hr. Forty-three years ago my beginning apprentice wage was $30/hr and journeymen were making right at $50/hr. Plus Blue Cross/Blue Shield Medical insurance, (which was lucky because I broke my neck in a fall back then — spent two months in the hospital!)

    So in 43 years progress in California for construction workers means a 40% reduction in pay and still the contractors are screaming. Of course they have a point. If your competitors are hiring illegals or new immigrants for $10/hr it is impossible to compete. So it is really all about the rules of the game. Milton Friedman said it best: you can have open borders or a welfare state but you can’t have both. And when it comes to trade, Ross Perot was correct: it would be a race to the bottom and that giant sucking sound you hear is America’s working heart getting ripped out — or is it only breaking?

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