Why California is in deep, deep doo-doo

Numbers can lie, but the numbers here are consistent with the same numbers I’ve seen in dozens of other places, and the numbers are consistently drawn directly from government sources.

If you want to know one reason why California has gone from the most extraordinary state in the Union (something I vaguely remember from my early childhood) to a banana republic, this will spell most of it out.  Add to that a political climate that treats businesses like pedophiles, not wealth creators, and you’ve got the answer to California in a nutshell.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The Democrat party is like HIV. You don’t want to catch that or else

  • Zhombre

    It was comic Dennis Miller who described California as the petri dish for every lunatic progressive conceit, or word to that effect, and that’s a pity, a national tragedy.  I spent the first three years of my life in southern California and can still recall soft afternoon light;  the snug little bungalows that then were inexpensive but now must cost a fortune; and the bulky Chevys and Fords with huge fins that now seem as remote as stegosauruses; having been back since I’ve always regarded Cali as the most gorgeous state in the union and San Fran as the most stylish and cosmopolitan American city, but to see this eldorado thus reduced now to a model of insolvency, delusion and squalor is, well, like finding that rare vintage of wine you saved all those years has turned to piss.

  • TommyC

    We can always hope that they elect a Chris Christie clone.  I think (hope) that we are beginning to see the end of the all-powerful public sector unions.

  • Spartacus

    It’s a pity that such pretty graphs should tell such an ugly story.
    In contrast, on the national level, here’s an ugly graph telling an ugly story.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The Left has a talent in finding rich and prosperous regions to habitate and infect. It is the most fecund environment for the Left’s method of reproduction.

  • suek

    Ok…so what happens when everybody’s broke?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Time to jump ship and find greener pastures. That’s what the Soviets said, at least. Islamic immigrants were thinking that too, once they found that their Desert Paradise neither had enough available women nor available jobs for a self-respecting man.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Of course, when your nation’s people are broke, you can also use your mighty military to invade and loot the economies of weaker nations. If every nation on this planet gave us 10% of their GDP, we’d be golden… for awhile.
    There are other methods that nations have used to prop up their totalitarian systems, Suek. By far the Roman system of invading others and looting them or making them tribute vassals was one of the more stable ways, if unstable in the long term. But certainly others have tried other ways. Byzantine tried appeasing barbarians. Carthaginians used mercenaries which allowed their citizenry to grow fat on trade wealth.
    Communism far prefers looting foreign nations, though, once the domestic population has been spent.

  • jj

    California is in deep whatever because Californians put up with it.  It isn’t tricky to figure out.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Not only do they put up with it, jj — they keep on voting the bastards back into power…..unless elections really ARE being stolen wholesale.
    Despite the number of normal Californians I know, I really do believe that they’re outnumbered by the (more or less) politically insane who seem to believe that the money tree really does exist.
    I *am* willing to entertain the suggestion that in parts of SoCal, the illegal vote is swamping a small majority of sane American citizens……..

  • Oldflyer

    Oh my!  Our children have been after us for years to move to Southern California.  As we get older and less energetic, with feebleness not totally unforseen, we have tentatively agreed.  I cringe at the prospect; and I am not sure that I can go through with it.  I wonder if any sensible person would voluntarily move into that disaster area. Unfortunately, I expect it to get worse, much worse.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    If anybody is in the San Diegon area, Tim Larkin and Target Focus Training has opened a permanent training facility there.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    So there’s at least one more thing good in San Diego now.

  • TommyC

    We decided a few years ago to move from NJ to a place of our choice – we’d worry about the job after we moved.  We moved to Colorado Springs.   We love it here – beautiful, low cost of living, conservative area in a purple state, snow.  Did I say snow?  You gotta love snow.   We went from having the most liberal congressman back in NJ to having the most conservative one here.
    I hate to say that we didn’t even consider California.  We considered it 25 years ago.  My wife had a job offer back then in Marin county, but we ultimately decided against it.  If we’d made that move we’d probably still have ended up in Colorado Springs, for the same reason – we were frustrated with the state and local government (little did we know that Christie would get elected), and knew we couldn’t afford the taxes once we retired.
    California may be in a crisis mode, but they aren’t alone.  I’d go the Spain route, only more so.  I’d cut payments to everyone that is paid by government by 5-10% and then institute a pay and pension freeze ( no increase in payments) until the budget is in order.  And add rules concerning future commitments – the money has to be put aside now, just as is (generally) required in the private sector.  I’d eliminate government programs right and left.
    Remember, never let a crisis go to waste.  But in the conservative case, we’ll actually deal with the crisis rather than just exploit it.

  • Tonestaple

    I don’t remember where I saw it, but I think it was yesterday:  apparently the governor said “we need to eliminate all welfare to keep the state from going bankrupt” and the response from some mandarin in the state legislature said “No way – let’s eliminate business tax breaks.” 

    These people are invincibly stupid and don’t understand that government employees don’t really pay taxes.  They seem to think that they will be able to survive when they have finally eliminated all private enterprise but there will be no more money for them to steal. 

    To quote a little sticker I found at the last tea party: “Successful parasites don’t kill their hosts.” 

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The Left is more of a virus than a parasite. A parasite is actually a living organism. A virus like HIV? Not so much. They exist only to exist. They don’t care about the future.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Suek asked a very important question: so what happens when everyone goes broke? Any ideas?
    1. I suspect that one of the first things that happens is that retirement pensions get a major haircut.
    2. The cost of imports skyrockets (as the U.S. can no longer buy on credit, interest rates rise and the dollar is grossly devalued).
    3. Government health care gets rationed.
    Anybody else? David Foster?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Obama’ll probably try to emulate King John of England.
    You know, the one that was made to sign the Magna Carta. The one that looted the countryside while Richard the Lionheart was on Crusade. The one featured in various Robin Hood legends? That King John.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Like John Edwards, John Kerry, John Murtha.

  • suek

    When I said “everybody”,  I meant us plus them.  I mean Europe, Great Britain…who else?  China?  Russia?
    Who’s got the buttons?
    You say “retirement pensions get a haircut”…how about social security?  Medicare?  Military retirement pay?  I have one son who will soon be eligible for California teacher’s retirement…ok…that could be gone.  But he can fall back on his reserve retirement pay…or can he?  There _was_ a time – during WWII  – when the military didn’t get paid.  But in those days, most of the military lived on base/post, and the government also owned the commissaries.  If you didn’t have to worry about housing, and if you could still get to the commissary for food, like wasn’t too bad.  There were still problems, but not like you’d have today when most posts/bases are closed, and most of the military lives in civilian communities.
    Where are the dollars for anybody’s retirement?  If you own your own, is it still going to be in your bank?  Is your bank still open?  I remember my Mom telling me about how she rushed to get to the bank to deposit her pay check and barely made before the bank closed – for the last time…!  The dollar isn’t backed by anything.  It’s fiat money these days…worth whatever somebody says it’s worth.  Who going to be enforcing the law?  do you still have cops?
    Scary times.

  • Danny Lemieux

    That last point you make, Suek, is especially scary since the FDIC that guarantees peoples’ bank savings is already out of money.
    I am afraid that all it will take is a little puff of wind, like…say…for a major U.S. treasury bond offering to be rejected in world markets (following on the heels of a major state going bankrupt, perhaps) for the whole house of cards to tumble down.

  • suek

    I’ve been trying to imagine what it would be like.  I know about the Weimar Republic’s wheelbarrows of money – but unless you’re looking for fuel to cook with, what’s the point?  It’s only paper.  So…if one day you wake up and what you considered “money” is no longer money…what do you do?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Suek, it basically goes back to a barter system in which precious metals like silver/gold or other commodities are used in place of money.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Barter systems are also based upon services. Like say, if a person can provide security and you can provide food, the barter then trades security for food and vice a versa.

  • Mike Devx

    Danny Lemieux #17 and subsequent comments discuss:
    > Suek asked a very important question: so what happens when everyone goes broke? Any ideas?
    > 1. I suspect that one of the first things that happens is that retirement pensions get a major haircut.

    The reason I think Danny focuses on pensions and not on Social Security is that pensions are in fact not guaranteed.  They can (and will) disappear, and the social earthquake when that happens will be immense.  Political leaders won’t be able to soak “them that has” at that point because there won’t be any more available to be soaked.

    A few recent articles with main points to buttress what’s happening to us…

    States Tax Collections Falter, Widening Budget Gaps
    “April tax collections are falling short of forecasts and even dropping below last year’s depressed levels in a number of states, complicating budget troubles and prompting some governors to dip into rainy-day funds. . . . April is the biggest revenue month for many states because it is when they collect a large portion of income taxes. The month’s collections came up short of expectations in California by 26.4%, or $3.6 billion; in Pennsylvania by 11.8%, or $390.1 million; and in Kansas by 10.2%, or $65.3 million. More states will report in the next few weeks.
    (sorry, lost the link for this next one…)

    US Debt Nearing 100 Pct of GDP

    The United States’ national debt will soon reach 100 percent of gross domestic product, the International Monetary Fund predicts in a new report.

    The sharp rise in U.S. debt started in 2006 and by 2015, the IMF suggests, debt could reach more than 100 percent of GDP.

    At the end of first quarter of 2010, the gross debt was 87.3 percent of GDP, of which about 56 percent was held by the public, and about 44 percent was intragovernmental, U.S. officials have said.

    Special: If the Euro and the Dollar Collapse, What Happens to Your Wealth?

    The IMF predicts that the U.S. would need to reduce its structural deficit by the equivalent of 12 percent of GDP, a much larger portion than any other country analyzed except Japan.

    Greece, in the midst of a financial crisis, needs to reduce its structural deficit by just 9 percent of GDP, according to the IMF’s analysis.


  • suek

    Social Security isn’t guaranteed either.  All they have to do is pass a law and Kaboom…it’s all gone.  Military retirement??  I don’t know.  They might have a slight hesitation on that one…it’s a bit dicey to cut off your enforcement wing!
    I don’t know about other states, but it seems to me that California is in a different situation – though I don’t know exactly what it is.  We have CalPERS for California State employees, and  CalSTERS for California Teachers.  I think both are foundation funds separate from the State’s funds.  They have problems because of their investment choices, but not due to the state budget.  In fact, the Teacher’s fund is paid into by the local Districts, and if there’s a shortfall(due to bad investments or whatever cause), the Districts are required to come up with the extra bucks to make up that difference.  In other words, the taxpayer makes it up.  I don’t know how the State Employee fund works, but I assume it’s similar – with the State or government body paying into the foundation, and a requirement that the taxpayer has to cough up more if there’s a gap for whatever reason.  I also don’t know if that’s changeable by action by the legislature (like the Democrat Legislature would ever do anything like cut it down or off!)  or if it’s a union worker contract thing that would end up in court as a breach of contract.
    The stuff we don’t know….!!!

  • TommyC

    I’m not ready to turn my 401K into gold, nor worry about what I’m going to have to barter just yet.  I think we may be jumping the gun here.
    I’m looking at California and Greece (and others) as the canary in the coal mine.  I think that to some degree we’ll start backing out of the mine.  My only fear is that as soon as the canary starts to recover, we’ll plunge right back in.  It is going to take a lot of perseverance to change direction and keep it changed.  But don’t despair.  Despair, and the war is lost.

  • suek

    Do we have a choice?  How do we back out of the mine?  Lets face it…there are those who will survive.  Most of them will be the ones who have profited from  – maybe even caused –  this mess.  But the rest of us?  how do _we_ survive?
    Have you considered the Galt solution?  It’s a possibility, but no man is an island…  have you considered the things we need to do to survive in a world set back to the early to mid-20th century?  Life is _not_ going to be as we’re accustomed to…though the problem is that we have no idea exactly how it will change.  One of the big questions in my mind is whether we’ll end up with anarchy or totalitarianism…either short term or long term.
    You know…every now and then, we watch one of the old westerns (not so often since our cable package dumped TCP), and I find myself mentally, silently  screaming to the hero stuck out in the middle of nowhere with the bad guys behind all the hills surrounding him “CALL 911!!!  CALL _SOMEBODY_!!!”  and I realize that if we have a breakdown of society, there might well be nobody to receive that call.  We have built a very interconnected society…what happens if that breaks down?  We’re going to have an awful lot to learn.

  • suek
  • TommyC

    suek, I tend to be an optimist and simply don’t think we are doomed (yet).
    How to start backing out of the mine?  Slash spending.  Where to start?  Government employees, who are paid far more (both salary and benefits) and have far more job security than private sector employees  Did I mention public sector pensions?  I have all sorts of ideas on how to slash spending – don’t get me started or I will never be able to stop.
    The big question is, do we have any leaders or potential leaders who have the will to do what it takes?  Certainly not many at the national level, but we have a number of governors who are doing a good job.  And even Arnold seems to have decided not to be a girlie-man anymore.  I’m thinking that this November will determine whether we start backing out or whether we plunge deeper into the depths.
    And if things get too bad, I will always be grateful for the survival training I got in Boy Scouts.

  • suek

    >>The big question is, do we have any leaders or potential leaders who have the will to do what it takes? >>
    Bingo.    I think that’s why Palin got the big push, and why Christie has as well.  The people yearn for strong voices, and the MSM keeps drowning out any calls for austerity.  You have to get a little bit outrageous so that someone notices and puts stuff in a place where everybody can hear.
    I agree with you.
    I’m not so optimistic…but maybe because I was a Girl Scout and don’t feel prepared!  When I start to think of how much I don’t know…!  and I know more than a lot of today’s city raised young people who think food comes from a supermarket!
    I could make my own clothes, for example.  But where would I get the fabric?  We don’t have cotton mills any more…  Well…maybe we do – but we don’t produce fabric, I don’t think.  I could spin wool, but cotton?  I could crochet and knit…but weave?   we no longer have the manufacturing in the country that we used to have.  How would we exist without China???
    The only good thing I can think of is that in the years after WWII, we more or less rebuilt Japan.  Then they started out-producing us because they had modern factories, and our were old with out dated equipment.  Since we’ve more or less destroyed our own ability to manufacture, maybe if we have to rebuild, we’ll do so with all modern efficient machinery.  Hmmm.  Where’s the modern efficient machinery going to come from?
    See?? that’s what gets me down every time!!!

  • suek

    Heh.  You know I _had_ to look.  I’m tired already!


  • Charles Martel

    suek, let’s a ssume the worst—a complete breakdown of modern society and a reversion to something like the dark ages, with anarchy, loss of technology, and the emergence of small, vicious satrapies pretending to carry on the functions of a central government. The old United States is gone. 

    The devastation will be horrendous and widespread, but it will not be total. Just as the dark ages eventually morphed into the middle ages, and science, law, technology, trade and the arts began their long recovery from the fall of Rome, there will be parts of the world that establish a sense of order and purpose sooner than others.

    I would assume a place like Texas might survive as a new nation state, heavily armed and able to restore and maintain stability in its region. A place like that would become a haven for scholars (real scholars, not the venal idiots who helped bring us to this precipice), entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, workers, farmers and craftsmen. To thrive, such a nation state would have to vigorously defend its borders and ban certain philosophies, such as Islam and socialism. 

    A place like a Texas—or Alberta, or Utah—would become the source of the modern, efficient machinery you worry about. (Regarding your question about fabric sources, I would predict an explosion in quilting and the return of the Raggedy Ann look.)

    If I were single, I’d be moving right now to go live with my ex-Green Beret cousin in Texas. But my Yellow Dog Democrat wife is frail and there’s no way she will ever surrender her fantasy that everything is ace and disaster isn’t looming. So, I’m resigned to watching events unfold from the Bay Area and quietly buying “provisions for an earthquake,” getting her used to the idea that we should know how to provide more things for ourselves than we currently do.

    When I bring home the shotgun and shells, I’m going to have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Suek, your Ambrose Evans-Pritchard link at the Telegraph is absolutely jaw-dropping. I figured we had about 10 years before the EU collapsed. It seems as if it may happen much, much faster. Throw in the other volcanoes in Iceland exploding and we have the perfect metaphor for European socialism, literally on the ash-heap of history. Ka-boom!
    Charles M – I recommend slugs with a scope for your shotgun. Plus a pistol and knife for close-in defense.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I recommend raiding the nearest National Guard armory or Army base.
    If the US military is unable to secure the nation, then it will have effectively been disbanded. Thus regaining control of the magnificent arms depots scattered across this nation should be issue number 1 for a reconstitution of the rule of law and order.
    You don’t want Obama’s people to get them and you certainly don’t want MS13 to get them.
    With those munitions, you can trade for any basic necessity you desire, because everybody will be desiring a little Peace Through Superior Firepower.
    Nothing short of a Ring of Fire or a breakdown in physical laws would create total collapse. it is far more likely that we get Chicago like enclaves that spring up due to an urban collapse. First the cities collapse, refugees come streaming through, and so forth.
    I wouldn’t worry about textiles. There is plenty of material to stitch damaged clothes back together. There is also plenty of food to provide raw materials for fabrics.
    As for high tech machinery, all you really need is the tools to make the tools to make the tools that will manufacture the desired product. On that basis, all the resources are there. You just need the scientific and engineering know how to rebuild it.
    The primary issue with any collapse or vacuum in power is always control of humans, then control of resources, then controlled distribution. If you have the manpower, and you aren’t blocked from acquiring what you need by a rival, and if you can control how manpower is used in pursuit of the project, humans can rebuild to pretty much any level of civilization given enough time.
    It is only when you lose the knowledge and the ability to retain or re-acquire it from present resources, that things start looking bad. The Dark Ages wasn’t cause people suddenly liked eating hand to mouth, but because an entire Empire collapsed and was replaced by barbarian culture, which placed little import on retention of book theory.
    On that note, the second place I would go for would be libraries, school and public ones.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    “We have built a very interconnected society…what happens if that breaks down? ”
    Only the cities are like that.
    Everywhere else in America, there’s a lot of individual initiative. Or rather, it would be more accurate to say that it is a lot easier to organize grassroots conservatism when the big liberal plantation mastiffs aren’t blocking the escape hatch.

  • suek

    >>I recommend raiding the nearest National Guard armory or Army base.>>
    Good thought.  We have a National Guard site not far from us – though what’s in there, I don’t know.  Also a couple of Navy bases.  Of course, were I someone who lived/worked _on_  one of those bases, I think I’d be inclined to button it down tight.  They might not be paid at that point, but they’d have better security than the rest of us!
    I had a bit of car time, so was thinking about some other “stuff” we have that would be a problem.  Plastic.  I grew up thinking of plastic as cheap stuff – not the real thing.  Plastic comes from oil.  Oil will be a problem.  Have you looked around at all the stuff we have from plastic these days?  If you “disappeared” all the plastic in our lives….holey moley!!
    Anyway… I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and a lot of growing appreciation for all the very small but very real luxuries that we take for granted.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The good thing about plastic is that it is reusable.
    Plastic can’t be disappeared like that. At least, it wouldn’t only be plastic that disappeared.