Thursday :: May 21, 2009

The Nightmare on California Street

by Mary

Why is California such a mess? John Cole summarizes the problem very well:

I honestly don’t know how, given what you all have written in the comments, anything can be done with that mess until you redo the Constitution. This says it all:

"The California Constitution has been amended or revised more than 500 times. It is now 157 pages."

That just strikes me as a recipe for fail. Additionally, I learned that you all have term limits, so not only does it only take a 50+1 vote to increase spending and a 2/3 vote to raise money to pay for things, you also have special interests doing bond initiatives for anything that blows their trumpet, property tax laws that make no sense, and then to compound everything, people have no problem raising spending because when the shit hits the fan, they will have been term limited out and it is someone else’s problem. Then, the new people coming in to replace them have no experience and no authority and no way to fix it and the voters all hate them.

Pretty awesome.

Joe Mathews of the New America Foundation writes in the NY Times that the feds could help by forcing the state to rewrite the constitution as a condition of a bailout.

Even if the feds could help, a number of people would love to see California eat it big time, yet there is more than a bit of fear in the country that letting California collapse could be the equivalent of letting Lehmans Brothers go under.

Whoever said it was possible to govern such a complex and deeply constrained state (think Lilliputians restraining Gulliver with hundreds of tiny ropes) especially when demagogues are spending 99% of their energy in making sure things fail if their political opponents are in charge? (Newt Gingrich says that the government devised by a thousand and one incoherent initiatives proves government doesn't work. Amazing how many of the Conservative initiatives have been designed to destroy our capacity for self-governance.)

I have no doubt we will see what happens next in this slowly unfolding, yet very real disaster.

Mary :: 9:42 PM :: Comments (19) :: Digg It!