Tuesday, June 16, 2009

California's Impending Financial Earthquake

Just as it's beginning to appear that the U.S. may be recovering from the "Great Recession," a new threat has appeared on the horizon: California.

The Golden State is facing a massive $24 billion dollar budget deficit. State officials just made a last ditch appeal to the Obama administration and were rebuffed. White House officials were concerned that if they give in to California, 49 other states would show and start clawing at the door. Considering that the White House is a historical landmark with valuable 200 year old doors, this was ruled unacceptable. The scratch marks would have violated Federal law.

It remains unclear what will happen next. California can either enact massive spending cuts, or it can just go into default. In any event, one state official warned that it would be a "financial meltdown." Considering that the state has what amounts to the world's eighth largest economy, such an outcome would no doubt be felt nationwide.

So why rescue General Motors and not California? That's a tough call. But whatever horror awaits the state's citizens, they brought it upon themselves. There was a recent ballot initiative that would have raised $8 billion in new taxes, but the voters defeated the measure by a wide margin. In fact, many people say that one of California's major problems is that it's just too damn easy to put things such as property tax increases on the ballot. It's like democracy out of control. And since no one wants to pay higher taxes, the state is often left in a lurch.

Ironically, one of the things that had been helping the state's tax revenues somewhat were same sex marriage ceremonies. All those weddings were boosting tourism from other states and generating business for caterers, florists, hotels, and more.

Which raises a theological mystery of biblical proportions: Since the voters decided to ban same sex marriages, and the measure was upheld by the state's supreme court, why is God still punishing California? Shouldn't he have rewarded the state's citizens with some sort of massive divine cash infusion?

Whatever happens, the people of California brought it upon themselves.

0 thoughtful ramblings: