Once upon a time, there was a Golden State which had the arguably the best public schools and the best public higher education system of state colleges and universities. People longed to move there for its natural beauty, its climate, its good schools, its many jobs in the entertainment, defense and high tech industries, etc. Was it a perfect state? Far from it, but it did seem to be the place everyone wanted to be -- once upon a time.
Now? Not so much. You might even call it an unmitigated disaster, a failed state, one that is, for all practical purposes, ungoverned and ungovernable.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled an $82.9 billion state spending plan today that calls for no tax hikes but envisions pay cuts for state workers, reductions in services to California's neediest residents - and relies on the benevolence of the federal government.
Well, the economy is bad. Times are tough. Yet I live in a state (New York) which, despite its fiscal problems, still manages to fund social services, good public schools, a good public higher education system, and provide all the other essential government assistance without massive layoffs or cuts. New York State has an $8 Billion deficit this year, but that's less than half of the budget deficit faced by California. New Yorkers suffer from high unemployment, but the values of our homes (at least those among us who don't live in super rich enclaves like the Hamptons or own condos in Manhattan) haven't gotten flushed down the toilet.