How much of this is actually happening? How are you coping? Will the state regain it's former status? Any leadership in the wings to handle that?
I'm wrestling with getting my son out of there, but it's far too complex at this time. It will probably take a catastrophe of sorts. But this is grim news.
Outstanding speech by one of the few politicians who is an adult about public policy.
This is a preview of what is going to happen to this nation if the Obama Administration is able to enact it's agenda.
California tragedy--spreading to the rest of the country?
Congressman Tom McClintock offered remarks in Washington , D.C. , recently to the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Pacific Research Institute that clearly illustrate why California is facing such a large fiscal mess. His beginning joke is so funny because it is so true:
"I know that everybody likes to poke fun at California - but I can tell you right now that despite all of its problems, California remains one of the best places in the world to build a successful small business. All you have to do is start with a successful large business."
Here is the rest of the speech:
Laugh if you will, but let me remind you that when these policies finish wrecking California, there are still 49 other states we can all move to - and yours is one of them.
I should also warn you of the strange sense of déjà-vu that I have every day on the House floor as I watch the same folly and blunders that wrecked California now being passed with reckless abandon in this Congress.
We passed a "Cash-for-Clunkers" bill the other day - we did that years ago in California .
Doubling the entire debt every five years? Been there.
Increasing spending at unsustainable rates? Done that.
Save-the-Planet-Carbon-Dioxide restrictions? Got the T-Shirt.
To understand how these policies can utterly destroy an economy and bankrupt a government, you have to remember the Golden State in its Golden Age.
A generation ago, California spent about half what it does today AFTER adjusting for both inflation and population growth.
And yet, we had the finest highway system in the world and the finest public school system in the country. California offered a FREE university education to every Californian who wanted one. We produced water and electricity so cheaply that many communities didn't bother to measure the stuff. Our unemployment rate consistently ran well below the national rate and its diversified economy was nearly recession-proof.
One thing - and one thing only - has changed in those years: public policy. The political Left gradually gained dominance over California's government and has imposed a disastrous agenda of radical and retrograde policies that have destroyed the quality of life that Californians once took for granted.
The Census Bureau reports that in the last two years 2/3 of a million more people have moved out of California than have moved into it. Many are leaving for the garden spots of Nevada , Arizona and Texas . Think about that. California is blessed with the most equitable climate in the entire Western Hemisphere; it has the most bountiful resources anywhere in the continental United States; it is poised on the Pacific Rim in a position to dominate world trade for the next century, and yet people are finding a better place to live and work and raise their families in the middle of the Nevada and Arizona and Texas deserts.
I submit to you that no conceivable act of God could wreak such devastation as to turn California into a less desirable place to live than the middle of the Nevada Nuclear Test Range . Only Acts of Government can do that. And they have.
You can trace the collapse of California's economy to several critical events: the rise of environmental Ludditism beginning in 1974; the abandonment of constitutional checks and balances that once constrained spending and borrowing; and the rise of rule by public employee unions. There are other factors as well: litigation, taxation, illegal immigration - but for the sake of time let me concentrate on the big three.
The first was the rise of environmental Ludditism with the election of a radical new-age leftist named Jerry Brown as governor of the state - an election that also produced overwhelming liberal majorities in both legislative houses.
Like Obama today, Brown lost little time in pursuing his vision of California - an incoherent combination of pastoral simplicity, European socialism and centralized planning. At the center of this world view was a backward ideology that he called his "era of limits" - the naïve notion that public works were growth inducing and polluting and that stopping the expansion of infrastructure somehow excused government from meeting the needs of an expanding population. Conservation replaced abundance as the chief aim of California's public works, and public policy was redirected to developing irresistible incentives for the population to concentrate in dense urban cores rather than to settle in suburban communities. Brown infused his vision into every aspect of public policy, and it is a testament to his thoroughness and tenacity that its basic tenets have dominated the direction of California through both Republican and Democratic administrations.
He canceled the state's highway construction program, abandoning many routes in mid-construction. He canceled long-planned water projects, conveyance facilities and dams. He established the California Energy Commission that blocked approval of any significant new generating capacity. He enacted volumes of environmental regulations that created severe impediments to home and commercial construction, empowering an incipient no-growth movement that began on the most extreme fringe of the environmental cause and quickly spread. This movement reached its zenith with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the enactment of AB 32 and companion legislation in 2006. This measure gives virtually unchecked authority to the California Air Resources Board to force Draconian reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.
This has dire implications to entire segments of California 's economy: agriculture, baking, distilling, cargo and passenger transportation, cement production, manufacturing, construction and energy production, to name a few.
We, too, were promised an explosion of "green jobs," but exactly the opposite has happened.
Up until that bill took effect, California's unemployment numbers tracked very closely with the national unemployment rate. But since then, California's unemployment rate began a steady upward divergence from the national jobless figures. Today, California's unemployment rate is more than two points above the national rate, and at its highest point since 1941.
The second problem is structural: the collapse of the checks and balances and other constitutional and traditional constraints on government spending and borrowing.
Let me mention a few of them.
The State Supreme Court decision in Serrano v. Priest severed the use of local revenue for local schools and invited the state take-over of public education. AB 8 of 1979 - the legislature's response to Proposition 13 - essentially did the same thing to local governments generally.
This means that vast bureaucracies have grown up over the service delivery level, wasting more and more resources while hamstringing teachers in their classrooms, wardens in their prisons and city councils in their towns.
Next, constitutional constraints on fiscal excesses began to fall. In 1983, Gov. George Deukmejian approved legislation to remove the governor's ability to make mid-year budget corrections without having to return to the legislature. The loss of this provision exposed the state to chronic deficit spending by removing any ability of the governor to rapidly respond to changing economic conditions. In 1989, Deukmejian sponsored Proposition 111 that destroyed the Gann Spending Limit that had held increases in state spending to inflation and population growth. If that limit had remained intact, California would be enjoying a budget surplus today.
The disastrous tax increases by Pete Wilson in 1991 and Arnold Schwarzenegger this year were made possible by this tragic blunder. Finally, we've watched the constitutional budget process that had produced relatively punctual and relatively balanced budgets for nearly 150 years collapse in favor of an extra-constitutional abomination called the big five.