Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | November 7, 2010

Unstoppable; or, Annoying “California” Still on Suicide Watch

The Optimistic Conservative’s thing is avoiding optimism about the wrong things.  There can be no optimism about the path California has just chosen at the ballot box.  There can be only realism.  Unlike New York, where voters elected standard-issue tax-and-spend-as-usual Democrats, Californians last week veered leftward in a brake-screeching, tire-squealing skid worthy of a plotless summer blockbuster.  Optimism must come from a realistic assessment, not from hoping against hope that continuing down the wrong path will somehow result in being dealt the Neapolitan ice cream card in Candyland.

Californians are clearly trying to kill their state.  I don’t think anyone is stupid enough to really believe that the mythical quantity known as “green jobs” is going to save the economy, or that taxes can be increased without killing the jobs that emerge naturally in a healthy, voluntary economic climate.

But it looks like the attention spans of at least some California voters are short enough to prevent them from understanding what the real problem is here.  It’s not the public-employee pensions.  The pensions are a problem, but they’re not the problem.  Spending of every kind is a problem for California; no question about it.  But the state’s fundamental, bottom-line, nothin’-ain’t-gettin’-fixed-if-this-one-ain’t problem is that regulation and taxes increasingly discourage all normal forms of economic activity.

California’s problems can be viewed in three dimensions.  One is the impact of regulation and taxes.  It’s actually the regulation that is tying a millstone to the state’s neck.  Taxes are too high, yes, but taxes haven’t created an artificial drought in the Central Valley or prevented any offshore drilling, no matter how environmentally sympathetic.  Taxes didn’t impose a decades-old moratorium on building new nuclear power or electricity-generation plants.  Taxes aren’t going to drive even more business out of the state, and middle-class homeowners out of their economic viability, with mandated carbon-emission reductions over the coming decade.  Taxes are a pain for businesses, but businesses’ utility and employment costs are higher here than in the rest of the country because of the arbitrary effects of regulation – and that just makes the pain bigger.

Lightening California’s draconian, deliberately lifestyle-affecting regulations would dramatically increase the flow of revenues to the state treasury.  But the second dimension of California’s problems shows why the political will to do that has such trouble getting momentum.  The state is, and has long been, divided geographically – and profoundly so.

Political California” – the California that other Americans complain of – consists of Los Angeles County, the San Francisco Bay area, and a sprinkling of narrow constituencies that happen to be a majority in a few thinly populated areas (e.g., the Tahoe enclave, the Redwood Coast, and Imperial Valley, east of San Diego).  Exurban southern California – Orange County, San Diego, Ventura County, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties – went on 2 November as it always does: for the Republican candidates.  Fresno in the Central Valley, at the heart of the man-made, farm-killing drought, has historically been much less reliable for the GOP; its political character has for decades been that of a rural agricultural stronghold for populist Democrats.  But the Central Valley went for Whitman and Fiorina this time too.

It’s the power of concentrated numbers that gave Brown and Boxer their big victories.  As of today, Brown’s statewide lead over Meg Whitman is about 959,000 votes.  The great majority of that difference comes from just three counties.  In LA County, Brown’s lead is about 595,000 votes.  He’s more than 160,000 votes ahead of Whitman in Alameda County, and more than 135,000 votes ahead in San Francisco County (where he’s beating Whitman by a margin of 78.6% to 18.1% of the vote).  Together, these three counties account for more than 890,000 of Brown’s statewide lead.

The county-by-county map, from the Secretary of State website, tells the tale: Whitman won in a substantial majority of the counties, but the voters in the “safe” Democrat strongholds – the oldest and densest urban concentrations – went overwhelmingly for Brown.

The same pattern held true for Fiorina and the other statewide races.  The reason this effective political majority buys the facile untruths and bromides of the California Democrat is that the majority is composed of constituencies that seek to profit from that purchase.  The constituencies are concentrated in the two megalopolitan urban areas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  They are a tight coalition of victim- and ethnic-politics organizations, welfare organizers and their clients, academics, public policy advocates, service-employee and teacher unions, and dilettantes from the entertainment and tech industries.  Their top priorities are welfarism, across-the-board preferences, union benefits, and policy initiatives that create sinecures in government employment, as well as generating new rent-seeking opportunities in environmentalism, health care, and energy.

There is, however, a demographic in this coalition that is less organized, and less motivated by the promise of power – or guaranteed cash flows – to overlook the dysfunctional aspects of what it doesn’t agree with.  There are union voters, for example, who don’t really think it’s a good idea to prioritize the convenience of an inch-long bait fish over the California businesses that create jobs and pay taxes.  There are people from the productive, privately-employed middle class who harbor vague environmental sympathies – or even very specific and knowledgeable ideas about environmental regulation – but who recognize rent-seeking and constituency-tending at the public’s expense as destructive.  There are members of politicized ethnic groups who don’t agree with the use of their memes by everyone else who’s looking for employment preferences or fecund new bases for lifestyle litigation.

This demographic, conflicted for different reasons, will increasingly be confronted, in the next few years, with the consequences of its loyalty to the California Democratic left.  This is the third dimension of California’s problems, and may be the one that turns out to be decisive.  The trend has been one-way for more than three decades now:  toward restricting the people’s economic and political options, while increasing their costs on behalf of economically non-productive constituencies.

Welfare recipients, government regulators, and public-service employees are equally non-productive in an economic sense:  they all represent overhead costs.  No overhead cost has any inherent “right” to prescribe to the cost-payer the conditions under which both payer and payee will operate.  Your electric bill has no “right” to be larger than you want it to be; it’s an overhead cost for which you receive value, but which you naturally seek to minimize.  California has effectively been operating for a very long time, however, as if the non-productive, overhead costs of regulation and public welfare ought to have precedence in deciding our collective way of life.  Instead of the payer calling the tune, the piper decides what the tune will be and sends a bill.

The consequences are inevitable.  But I believe a fourth factor may be the one that turns California around after the big wake-up call we have coming.  That factor is the bad housing market.  I don’t know how many middle-class Californians are hanging on right now, remaining in homes they’d have to take a loss by selling, but my guess is it’s in the hundreds of thousands (perhaps a handful of million) around the state.  For many people, it’s better to stay put, if their jobs or businesses are still bringing in any positive revenue, than to eat real estate losses that could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And the longer these people have to stay in California, the more votes there will still be for a return to sanity in state policies.

There are a lot of residents who would like to follow the exodus to Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, the Dakotas, and the Carolinas.  But many of them just can’t today.  That may be what saves California.  Jerry Brown won’t.  No factors will force him to change his political stripes in the next four years.  With the possible exception of RINO Steve Cooley as attorney general – a factor that will matter to only some issues – Brown will have a “dream team” of ideologically committed regulatory statists in the executive, and a legislature held by entrenched Democrats who can pass anything they want in the state budget.

This train has been set up to crash.  It will; nothing can stop it.  Apparently, that’s what it will take to split the Golden State’s Euro-style, anti-middle-class coalition of resentful utopians and rent-seekers.  And as other California pundits have already implored America:  when the reckoning hits, don’t bail California out.

J.E. Dyer blogs at Hot Air’s Green Room and Commentary’s “contentions.”  She writes a weekly column for Patheos.


Responses

  1. “They are a tight coalition of victim- and ethnic-politics organizations, welfare organizers and their clients, academics, public policy advocates, service-employee and teacher unions, and dilettantes from the entertainment and tech industries. Their top priorities are welfarism, across-the-board preferences, union benefits, and policy initiatives that create sinecures in government employment”

    great carping from a career government employee enjoying generous government healthcare benefits.

    • Yes, but people like OC, are some of the very few who perform(ed) a constitutionally required function which actually contributes to the nation’s security and prosperity. Even so they are, at least in their public capacity, egregiously underpaid (on merit and in many instances in actuall $$) vis-a-vis the predatory parasites at all levels of the civilian public sector.

  2. The big story around here is how Alexei Giannoulias went down. Mister Peanut came here shortly before the election and hosted a masssive rally for him on The Midway, and it did no good. Hopefully, this is a sign that there is just so much corruption an electorate can take.

    However, California is different. It’s not so much the corruption there, it’s the cluelessness. They believe in their progressive rubbish so fervently (ask Barbara Streisand) they just think somehow it will all work out. They see the sun come up each morning and the beautiful beaches are still there and so are the redwoods and the mountains.I think it is more likely many of those you think are stuck in their houses will figure out a way to up and leave.

    And fuster, she is a military retiree. She was willing to risk her life so you could freely troll. She is not collecting 2 state pensions and working on a third like many Californians. She was not a teacher who specialized in calling in sick and could never be fired. She did not get rich in the military. The pay there, unlike Washington DC, is very modest. She did not get rich off her power and connections like Boxer, Feinstein, Pelosi and Reid.

    • zolt, when one set of people who’ve made a living by collecting government checks (and are still collecting bennies) financed by those very same tax and spend policies can explain why they’re not being hypocritical carping about the rest of the folks living off Uncle Sugar, I’ll be happy to listen and learn.

      (and not too many other folks get rich in gov’t service or on gov’t pensions or even from unemployment or welfare checks)

  3. There I ams. Much better!

  4. IMNSHO, Optimistic Conservative and Zoltan are right on, and fuster, you are totally all wet. California may or may not wake up before it’s too late, but I hope and pray that the rest of the country does not bail California out of the mess that Californians have created for themselves. I do not know if the rural conservative minority can keep the urban liberal majority from committing suicide, but I hope they can at least hold the liberals’ feet to the fire so they feel the pain of their foolish decisions.

    • dear ray, Californians are indeed over-the-top, but the opticon’s rhetoric and gross characterizations are below-the-belt sometimes.

      • Not this time. Calling the majority of the California electorate clueless i charitable…

        • I’m perfectly fine with calling the California electorate “clueless” and am quite happy to note that the author is part of that electorate.
          I’m less fine with the pot calling the kettle black.

          • I would comment in Opticon’s favor; but I started collecting Social Security a few months ago, so I’m now a kettle and hence restricted to commenting only in favor of redistribution programs and increased regulation, even if I think those policies are going to destroy the stove.

  5. They seem to have been able to steal the Illinois Governor’s race, though, Brown in the Governor’s mansion, I guess the return of the eight track tape, and est is not far behind, ‘bring on the Cadres’

  6. California may soon become a Spanish speaking version of Greece.

    Greece with a very high murder rate.

  7. Fuster:

    You often have incisive comments. But the attack you made against Opitcon was very dull-witted. Just admit it, and try to do better the next time.

  8. No, she does not belong in the electoral cohort foolish enough to return Brown, but his whole entourage back to Sacramento, with the possible
    exception of Cooley.

  9. “I don’t know how many middle-class Californians are hanging on right now, remaining in homes they’d have to take a loss by selling, but my guess is it’s in the hundreds of thousands (perhaps a handful of million) around the state. For many people, it’s better to stay put, if their jobs or businesses are still bringing in any positive revenue, than to eat real estate losses that could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And the longer these people have to stay in California, the more votes there will still be for a return to sanity in state policies.”

    I have wondered about these people and what a bind they’re in. However, I had not thought about the possibility that they, in their “rock-and-a-hard-place” predicament might bring political sanity back to CA. Wouldn’t that be ironic – through burdensome regulations and taxation, the state plays an integral part in their economic plight such that they *can’t* leave and they in turn deliver political salvation to the state.

    fuster, You apparently feel differently, but I for one don’t feel that all govt paychecks are morally equal. As I’ve said before here, a pension to a military retiree is a lot different to me than a pension to someone who has worked at HUD behind a desk. When someone makes a career of physically defending our country and perhaps even fighting in battle, they deserve a good govt pension and I’m happy to do my part to pay it. I’m less happy to have to pay for some bureaucrat whose cushy job was something I would have rather our country had done without. We can do rather well without a Dept of Education. We cannot do without a military.

    Now, more specifically, this article referred to the economic problems of the state of CA. Unless I’m missing something, J.E.’s pension comes entirely from the federal govt and not from CA. So while you may enjoy pointing out the “hypocrisy” of J.E. railing against unsustainable pensions in CA, it seems to be a non-sequitur to me in this instance.

    As the resident lefty here at this site fuster, rather than criticize J.E. personally, I’d be more interested in seeing what you have to say in regards to the union friendly, high tax, high regulation, excessive pension policies that CA has and the economic disaster that awaits CA because of them. Especially since your home state of NY is rather similar and not too far behind CA. Do you dispute that these liberal attributes of CA are highly damaging to the state? And if not, why not?

  10. By the way, where is Geoffrey Britain? It’s been well over a month since he’s commented here. For such a frequent contributer at TOC, such a long hiatus is uncommon. I hope everything is ok and you’re just laying low for awhile GB.

  11. You really need to take a closer look at New York.
    I await anyone who can explain why the combined budget of the state and NYC is approaching $190 billion for 19 million people, and that combined budget does not include the budgets for the other 57 counties with the other 10.6 million people outside NYC.

    Yes, one third is for the expansive and expensive Medicaid that awaits the other states. Cuomo versus Perry is the match-up I await – the real Obamacare debate.

    But, I now have to assume that one fourth of that $190 billion just might be corruption.

    By contrast, Massachusetts’ state budget is about $21BIL for almost seven million people. With better schools. And unbelievable levels of regulation. I pay cash for my med Rx, but the state dictates that the pharmacist MUST force me to the cheapest generic unless the correct form is used to specify my preferred generic. I can not replace my 1954 bathtub faucets because the state is so worried I will be scalded if I control the hot water, as if the regulated replacement faucet does not also allow me to scald myself with hot water.

    Anyway, someone really should make a chart and compare how the high taxed states actually spend their money, on a per capita basis.

    • K2K — I don’t know NY nearly as well, since I don’t live there. But I’m sure it bears looking into. $190 billion is, indeed, astounding, considering that that’s more than California’s budget (around $133 billion for this year at last count). And CA has 37 million people.

      I think you may have taken the trick, however, with the tale of Massachusetts’ water faucet safety obsession. I have to admit, we don’t actually have that problem in California. Of course, if someone wanted to misuse plumbing fixtures scald a FISH, that would be another story.

  12. I appreciate the defenses from commenters. fuster, of course, was in error to begin with. It’s elemental to hypocrisy that one actually be doing the thing one preaches against.

    If I advocated unionization and collective bargaining for the military, bigger benefits and larger pensions, and/or the enlargement of the military’s mission to include supervising your health care and lawn-mower emissions and siting wind farms so they don’t disturb my back yard — then, fuster would have a case.

    As it is, he just sounds like he thinks it’s a rotten deal that America pays pensions to vets.

    It also interests me that so many readers seem to think I was railing here against government pensions. I don’t actually rail against them. That’s not just because I get a military pension either.

    I don’t have a problem with pension programs, although I do think some government workers’ pensions are way too high. Frankly, no one should retire on 90% of his top salary at taxpayer expense. Government jobs shouldn’t award pensions at that level at all. If private industry wants to make the attempt, hey, knock yourselves out, but don’t come to the taxpayer to make good on broken promises.

    That said, I never advocate cutting pension benefits for the elderly who depend on them, and it would take a really big emergency to get me to agree that government should break faith in general with those who are already relying on its commitments.

    California’s projected pension commitments are unsustainable, but that’s IF they stay on the same course for FUTURE retirees. The state doesn’t need to cut pension amounts for those who are already retired. I do think the state will have to make some significant changes to its executive-level pension program, and put those changes on the calendar so workers under a certain age can start planning for them now.

    For those on pensions over a certain amount (call it $65K, for argument’s sake), there should be different COLA rules. COLA reviews should occur less frequently as your pension amount rises, and for the top 10% of pensions, there should be no COLA commitment at all.

    In general, as others here have said, my objection is to increasing the size of government for bad purposes. Law enforcement and firefighting, for example, are proper functions of government, and I don’t resent paying people to perform those jobs or paying them pensions.

    I do resent paying people $100K a year — and another $20K in benefits — to come up with ways to withhold water from my household and coerce me into riding a bike to the grocery store, and then paying those people $90K a year and health benefits when they retire from a fruitful career of limiting my economic options and costing me more money.

    RE — I understand we are owed an account of a recent, very sports-filled weekend? I wasn’t sure you’d deign to join us again after the trifecta you laid out for us. As for GB, I haven’t heard from him. I don’t see new material at his home blog either. GB — we miss you!

  13. Fuster is a very small froggie today.

  14. JED, I actually do take issue with the pensions all the way down the line – and they will have to be cut both for current and future pensioners. I have not seen a recent estimate for the liability but I am convinced that the real deficit is much higher than stated because the state – like almost every state and large municipality – has wildly optimistic financial forecasts on return rates and retirement draw rates. If my firm used the same type of estimates myself and my CEO and CFO would all be ready to spend times in the minimum security prison of your choice. Firefighter and police pensions are some of the most wildly out of balance plans, with most of the liabilities off the books. Yes, future retirees must realize the numbers are going down, but in reality, there won’t be enough money to pay out as the retirements begin. It is all coming to a crash, and very little can be done about it in a place like CA. They are toast. Other places have some chance to make some changes, but the window is closing.

    Yes regulation is a problem, as well as the generally well known CA “laziness” problem. As energy costs and employment costs continue to rise, couple that with the generally understood low productivity of many CA employees, more businesses will flee or they will fail.

    CA has decided that hard work and producing no longer are appropriate goals for their society. They believe the remaining productive citizens can be milked by an ever increasing number of parasites. I wish it would work out better, but they are just the opening act for NY and IL. And maybe some more states will join in (MA with their unique healthcare situation must be praying for ObamaCare – sorry with Ms. Pelosi staying in place the GOP will sweep in 2012 and it will be repealed – completely – and so MA will be next to go bankrupt).

    So sad. I just cannot believe there are that many stupid people living there.

    And I can tell those of you in CA, not enough people are going to be willing to throw you any money. Any GOP House member who agrees to a bailout will be done the next go round. So I hope the grocery stores will take state issued IOUs.

  15. J.E., I’m happy to oblige. The trifecta Dallas sports wknd (NHL, NFL, World Series) two wknds ago was great. Cowboys Stadium is the best football stadium I’ve ever been to. I highly recommend it to any football fans out there. On the minus side, the (enormous) standing room section that is both inside and outside only served Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft for beer. Those MGD’s took a little will power to get down. The experience was made even better when the Cowboys were thumped by a not very good Jacksonville Jaguars team (I’m a Redskins fan).

    The Rangers/Giants World Series game later on Sunday was very cool too. A highlight was seeing a massive American flag stretched out across the outfield being held by members of the armed services. A bigger highlight was seeing Bush 41 and 43 come onto the field and 43 throwing out the first pitch. 41 looked a little rickety. 43 threw a nice pitch. I was in a closed section behind the plate and was wearing a “Miss Me Yet” t-shirt that has a picture of GWB with a coy smile and wave. It was a huge hit in Texas of course. Lots of high-fives and a couple people took pictures. It was a blast! If you haven’t seen the shirt, click or cut and paste on the below link and you should be able to see it. It’s hysterical!

    https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=27cc9a7f0f&view=att&th=12c2d835613ad0b9&attid=0.1&disp=inline&zw

    • Thanks, RE, what a great deal, huh? That must have been rare and incredible (even the part of it featuring the unspeakable Cowboys). I’m sad to say your link just takes me to the Google mail login page, but I’ve seen some great T-shirts with Dubya on them so maybe I’ve caught sight of that one elsewhere. I’m sure you got a good response to it among sports fans in the Dallas area.

      I think I speak for most TOC regulars when I say: I’m envious!

  16. Cant resist commenting on the defeats of Alexi Giannoulias (D.) for Senate and Bill Brady (R.) for Governor in Illinois. Obama did come to Chicago for a rally on the Midway for Alexi. But the Midway is in the middle or a big African American area, next to a spot of academia (University of Chicago). In short, this rally was not aimed at winning over independents or wavering Democrats, but at getting the core base out to vote. Giannoulias had already lost the others on his own.
    Bill Brady also failed to win a lot of independents and former Democrats. He had lots of opinions about social issues that did not play well in the Chicago suburbs where Mark Kirk did well with a message of fiscal sanity and attacks on Giannoulias’ corruption. A cannier choice by Republican primary voters could have given Illinois a Republican governor in this election cycle.

  17. Margo, they stole that vote, in part by delaying the military absentee ballots, now they won’t seat Kirk
    who did win, in time for the special session, Finally
    there’s this, remember he was for Cap n Trade, apparently he’s like another Castle in training;

    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/128185-sen-elect-kirk-could-give-dems-a-vote-on-disclose-act

  18. OT, I nsa exists, it’s a wonder how a year ago, give or take, we were all at ZC, and it was a lively site,
    I think avatar was the turning point, when the Czar
    turned back to the left, maybe too much of the semiotic Quellist

    • Dot Zombie site is very interesting case. Such talented people. Vot a waste.

    • Perhaps – but when you think there is no right and wrong and that all truth is relative – it is tough to hold an audience.

  19. If, as is generally understood, pension and other obligations owed by California counties and municipalities are contracts that cannot be significantly reduced, then one practical course of action for the taxpayers of the state is to dissolve the current governmental entities and replace them with new, unencumbered ones. Los Angeles County should go out of business, like any other bankrupt, and be replaced by something like Hollywood Parish and Arcadia Borough, divisions that could begin operation with a fresh financial start and operate with the knowledge gained from the previous failures. California itself might be wise to divide into smaller units, there’s little social or economic affinity between Humboldt County and Ventura County.

  20. And, since my soapbox at ZC looks so far away, dear frems, please note that. FINALLY, David Brooks has writed a truly great column in today’s NYT, focusing on the USA’s preeminent position as the world’s great crossroads nation, a singular and matchless melting pot of creativity, innovation and prosperity.

    Hats off to Brooks, hurrah!

    (Of course this all works out if the klueless leftoids do not get their way, and if the damage they’ve done can be reversed.)

  21. Well, what happens is you run out of money, then the plan gets turned over to the PBGC and if you are lucky you get 40 cents on the dollar. When the money is gone, prior agreements hold alot less weight. And the money is running out.

    Just ask all those pensioners from the steel industry who the Steelworkers ran into bankruptcy. It seems that the SEIU and AFSCME are doing the same thing. When it happens, wonder if their members will be pleased with the money spent on political campaigns when it could ahve been used to protect their pensions.

    I love it when the ship starts to sink and all the rats jump ship. This time we should be waiting to eradicate them as they leap.

  22. cm may well have the final answer to California’s inevitable plunge: being dismantled and reorganized. That doesn’t sound like much fun at all for citizens.

    I note that many of the comments over at Hot Air urged conservative Californians to sell out now, no matter what the losses. That’s all very well to say from a distance, but for some people, especially if they bought in the 2004-6 timeframe, they’d take losses north of $200K, $300K, or $400K by selling now.

    My own loss would be more modest, on the order of probably $70-80K. But that’s still a lot of money to owe unsecured. People who’d owe more than that, but not be sure of jobs or income in another place, would really be facing an untenable future. If they haven’t gone into default, the lenders aren’t going to write off huge balances for them just because they “want” to get out of California. Even in, say, Puddle Squat, Wyoming, you’re at an insuperable economic disadvantage if you come into town owing $250K unsecured and want to get a job and a place to live.

    • Yeah, JE, that is rather unrealistic.

      I think the most you can do is just hang on and ride it out for many. If you are working for a private enterprise and are getting paid, do what you can. I would be saving like crazy in that circumstance. This may come down to a version of the group of people being chased by a lion. How fast do you run? Just faster than the slowest runner.

  23. So, how do you break up a state? Are there any existing mechanisms? It has happened before, hasn’t it–weren’t Maine and Massachusetts united once? And West Virginia was separated from Virginia during the Civil War. Any other examples? What would a secession movement within a state look like?

    One compelling argument is that you would get more Senators.

  24. Modifications to political entities happen all the time. Cities absorb and annex other cities. Many small towns in rural America have become unincorporated after being bypassed by railroads or highways or exhausting the resources that led to their founding in the first place.

    City and county elected officials don’t necessarily have their own money on the line when they sign an agreement with firefighters and cops that commits future residents to staggering financial contributions. The morality of that is a subject for another time. All of the geographic features that make California the amazing place that it is still exist. Its problems are a direct result of government policies, even if those policies have been endorsed by a combination of unthinking voters and powerful rent-seekers. However, if even one political subdivision were able, through reorganization, to escape the staggering financial commitments made for political reasons and move forward with prudent and realistic tax policies, it would become a magnet for business activity and home ownership. Real estate values would increase dramatically, unemployment would drop, the tax base would increase. Other cities and counties would be forced to adopt similar policies or wither away. It’s probably just a matter of time before some enlightened soul sets this machinery in operation. Hopefully, it will be a short time.

    • Cities is one thing; states implicate the federal structure and Constitution. I’m sure there are ways of doing it–I’ll be there are even groups that have figured out the necessary steps, even in CA.

  25. here’s something aspirational (?) for you secessionists.

  26. Fus – thank you. That was great. Rock Lobster, Private Idaho, etc. Thems was da days.

  27. In California, and also New York and Illinois that are just a little behind CA in their debt problems, the whole process is exacerbated by the AFSCME and SEIU doubling down on their demands, as union members also work on the principle of “running faster than the slowest runner.” They are glad to ally with environmentalists and general do-gooders in supporting an avalanche of regulations, both for the benefit of the alliance and because the regulations increase government employment.
    Current pensions are unsustainable, but the real kicker is the liability being taken on right now.


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