California’s massive budget problems

From an in-depth Reuters article on California’s dismal financial situation.

California faces an identity crisis. If the world’s eighth largest economy has any chance of restoring its former glory, it will have to reverse course drastically and quickly, becoming less socially progressive and more friendly to business. The Golden State doesn’t just need to go on a diet — it needs emergency bariatric surgery.

Would it that this was only right wing-propaganda. But California is currently tens of billions in the hole with no obvious way out. In a quirk of fate, liberal Jerry Brown in his second go-round as governor, may be the one to sledgehammer spending. He doesn’t really have a choice. Welfare, which is traditionally championed by liberals, and the prison system, which conservatives generally back strongly, are among the areas being targeted for serious further spending cuts. So the upcoming slashing of spending by Brown won’t be done on ideological grounds. Once everyone is howling in pain, then he will put tax increases before the voters for approval.

“The political problem you have is it means that the folks on the right have to have a conversation that involves the word ‘tax,'” [Assemblywoman Alyson] Huber said. “And to my friends on the left, I criticize them just as much. They need to come to the table agreeing not to increase the size of the pot.”

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