22 May 2009

Californians (Are) Dreamin!

California, the beautiful, lush, green state with an economy ranked fifth largest in the world. Is that what we used to say?

Now we will say, California, the desperately broke state with 11% unemployment among its citizenry and a $24 Billion (yes, with a B) deficit.
Oh, those crazy Californians! They didn't approve ballot measures that their post-partisan Republican governor tried to convince them were neccessary to cut the budget, increase revenues and decrease the shortfall. And now they're really stuck.

Former actor, now-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has always seemed to me to be an interesting choice for where to place your trust, and yet... he's their guy. He warned the Golden State's 37 million (give or take a few hundred thousand) residents that if measures on this past week's election ballot weren't approved, he would consider selling historic San Quentin prison, which sits on valuable prime ocean-front real estate; as well as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. All to balance the budget and make up for a huge drop in revenues resulting from the real estate market bust and other recession-time uglies.

Californians said no to all but one of the ballot measures. "No" to solving budget problems through increasing taxes. To be fair, they already pay some of the highest taxes in the country. Given the fact that a large percentage of their dollars go to provide services for people who aren't always tax-paying citizens, it would seem that there is a line being drawn.

The collective Californian psyche reacted in a Howard Beale-like ballot-bellow, effectively screaming, "I'M AS MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE."

Or more properly, provide payment for it any longer. But when Governor Schwarzenegger gets done balancing the budget through real estate sales and program cuts, it may seem like Californians are learning some very painful, very expensive lessons.

I wonder how long it will take before they go public with their bailout request?

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