Lowering expectations in California

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article that both praises Governor Jerry Brown’s “balanced” budget and notes that California is in desperate financial shape.  Clearly, the Chron is lowering expectations in case Brown’s “balanced” budget doesn’t do what it promised.

The Chron is wise to keep its readers from getting too excited.  I heard from a fairly knowledgeable source that Brown achieved his balanced budget (a) by determining how much he wanted to spend and (b) by announcing that the amount he wanted to spend would be matched precisely by anticipated 2013 tax revenue.  The first number (spending) is real; the second number (expected revenue) is completely phony.  In other words, reasonable people can confidently assume that, by the end of 2013, California’s budget will be more out of whack than ever.


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  • Texan99

    There’s nothing like describing the future for giving the imagination free play, and it sounds so much more convincing when your actual statement is expressed in the present tense.  So “our budget is balanced” really means “all kinds of stuff is going to happen that’s never happened under these conditions before.”  Later, when the predictions don’t pan out, you can count on most people not to notice, or you can outright lie about what you said earlier.  The media have your back.
    Works for AGW.  Works for healthcare costs.

  • Charles Martel

    Think of California’s spending spree as a glistening fresh road apple, what some cow dung aficionados would call an Emperor Patty.
    Think of Jerry Brown as a caterer who was elected on the premise that he could pull off a magnificent banquet. Alas, all he has to work with is the road apple.
    Now see Jerry pull a fully charged can of Reddi-wip from his hemp rucksack and spray a heaping mound of whipped cream goodness atop the patty.
    Voila, balanced budget! Jerry the Chef is a genius!

  • Spartacus

    I remember reading or hearing about some entrepreneur who collected “road apples,” dried them out, spray-painted them gold, and then, I think, mounted them on a wood backing or something, and sold them.  Don’t remember if it was in California, but that sounds about right.
    Can’t blame the entrepreneur, but crikey!  You could start a whole line of Foxworthy-esque “You might just live in a rich country if…” jokes off of things like that.