California: The Lindsay Lohan of States
By Allysia Finely|WSJ
Sacramento is headed for trouble again, and it shouldn’t expect a bailout.
Listen up, California. The other 48 states—your cousin New York excluded—are sick of your bratty arrogance. You’re the Lindsay Lohan of states: a prima donna who once showed some talent but is now too wasted to do anything with it.
After enjoying ephemeral highs and spending binges, you suffer crashes that culminate in brief, unsuccessful stints in rehab. This cycle repeats itself every five to 10 years, as the rest of the country looks on with a mixture of horror and amusement. We’d feel sorry for you if you didn’t constantly flip us the bird.
Instead, we’re making bets on how long it will be before your next meltdown. Oh, wait—you’re already melting down.
You’ve racked up nearly $70 billion in general obligation debt, and that doesn’t include your $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Your own analysts predict you’ll face a hole of at least $80 billion over the next four years.
Your government’s run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums. When they’re not taxing or spending, they’re creating regulations and commissions like the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the California Blueberry Commission. Many businesses would leave if it weren’t for your sunny climate.
Which may explain why you’re so obsessed with climate change. If your climate changes, no one, including your Hollywood friends, would tolerate you anymore. So you’ve created a law to tax carbon emissions—no matter that it will kill jobs.
It’s not as if you don’t recognize that you’ve got problems. Roughly three-quarters of you say you’re headed in the wrong direction, according to a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. You’re even more depressed than Illinois and New York, and you’ve got sunshine 10 months of the year!
You appropriately give your government low marks—28% approval for outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 16% for the legislature—yet you continue to re-elect the politicians who got you into this mess. Not a single incumbent state legislator lost re-election this year, including one Democrat who died a month ago (no joke). What’s scarier is that you’ve just given almost all of the keys to statewide offices to Democrats.