Monday, July 20, 2009

1931 in California or, Hooverism Triumphant

Robert Cruickshank over at Calitics has the story:
And so the budget drama hurtles toward its inevitable conclusion, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. Democrats have caved and given Arnold Schwarzenegger what he wanted - a cuts-only budget that does massive and lasting damage to the state of California, to the people who live here, and to our collective future. It's taken 31 years, but Howard Jarvis is finally going to get the wholesale destruction of public services he always wanted.
David Dayen chimes in:
We'll see a big sigh of relief from lawmakers over the next few days that will be wholly unwarranted. [...] One of the major consequences of this cuts-only budget will be, paradoxically, higher costs for individuals and the state.
When grandmothers start to die, when the roads fail, when fires go unfought, the public will at last know out what the California state government once did for them. And the state will be unable to fund any response a major natural disaster, like an earthquake or a huge storm.

So it's 1931 in California. What will the public do? One thing that they probably won't do is turn out to vote Democratic. The Democrats in the state legislature scarcely put up a fight. There's nothing in their leadership to inspire confidence, trust, or energy--why would the voters come out for them?

Look back to 1932. Marches, riots, radical parties. That's California's future for several years to come. Followed, I suppose, by reform. But the state's credit will be wrecked, and the government's ability to hire--especially the public schools ability to hire--will be impaired. It's going to be at least a decade before the state will be anything like normal, and meantime, it seems likely any recovery will be late.


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