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Old 11-28-2009, 09:12 AM
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ilbegone ilbegone is offline
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Default California & Denial

Opinion piece by Doug McIntyre in the Daily News:

California gets a gold star for denial

WANT a hot tip?

California's financial disaster is so unmanageable flag companies may be working triple-time cranking out new Old Glories with 49 stars instead of 50.

Last week I told you how our catastrophic state budget crisis has been a boon for one-way truck rentals as taxpayers and businesses move to greener pastures. Well, now I've discovered another industry poised for a huge pay day courtesy of years of California's reckless mismanagement. So, cash in your savings bonds, dig up those gold bars you buried under the compost heap and buy, buy, buy stock in the flag industry!

This isn't 1959 nostalgia. Dropping a state from the union is an actual idea considered by a high ranking government official. Twenty guesses which state we're talking about? Have the Carolinas finally gotten together? Have the Virginias kissed and made up after that silly Civil War spat? Perhaps somebody figured out we don't really need two Dakotas? Of course not. The endangered star on the flag is the home of the stars. California is considering voting itself off the island.

Michael Genest, director of the California Department of Finance, told The Wall Street Journal he, "Literally looked at the federal Constitution to see if there was a way for states to return to territory status."

This isn't a story from The Onion. This really happened! The top financial advisor to Gov. Schwarzenegger actually thumbed through the U.S. Constitution to see if California could revert to territorial status! His scheme would make our budget mess the federal government's budget mess, as if they need any help. Let me repeat, one of the top financial policymakers in California is so despondent of a fix he considered giving up statehood! Sorry for all the exclamation points, but seriously, a Hollywood Boulevard crazy with tinfoil on his head couldn't come up with something this desperate.

On the other hand, with a budget hole of $21 billion - a staggering 49.3 percent of the general revenue fund - and a political system bereft of leadership or common sense, maybe Mike Genest isn't so crazy. He who lives in Los Angeles shouldn't be so quick to point at other people's tinfoil hats.

As long as we're talking about flags, its time someone yanks that bear off the state banner and sticks an ostrich up there, since it's obvious no one in California wants to deal with fiscal reality. Our debt is so massive it's created its own gravity, morphing into a fiscal black hole that's sucking up everything in its path. For nearly a decade we've blown past every red light, every warning, and legislated as if bubbles never burst. At the polls we OK'd hugely expensive ballot measures with zero concern for how we'd pay for them, "Yippee! High speed trains for everyone!" We've chased schemes and dreams as irresponsible and greedy as the most avaricious Wall Street robber baron.

The shock and outrage of the college students protesting the recent huge tuition and fee hikes at the UC system is understandable. Waking up one morning to find your tuition bills are a third higher is a real kick in the wallet. However, the chanting protesters at UCLA and other campuses revealed a sad ignorance; the solution, so many protesters insist, is higher taxes on businesses and the rich. What do they think California's been doing? How do you think we got into this mess?

There's nothing less ideological than a spreadsheet. Yet, our universities are producing highly educated people who believe they are entitled to other people's money. We've also elected assemblyman after assemblyman, senator after senator, city councilman after city councilman who think job creators and tax payers are ATM machines. Yet, all those beautiful buildings on the UCLA campus have some rich person's name attached. The protesting students apparently ducked class the day their economics professors taught a simple truth: The government doesn't have any money, not a single penny. All "government" money comes from the people. It comes out of their parents' paychecks.

Californians lack fiscal maturity. If we want safe streets, we have to pay for cops, courts and jails. If we want a green planet, we better be willing to part with more green from our wallets. If we want $50 million science centers for our campuses and low tuition, we better have a dynamic state economy that enables private industry to create jobs rather than a punitive business environment that repels them. And we better still have a few rich people who want their names on buildings.

Buy flag stock. Remember, you heard it here first.
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