Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Zombieland" California

We've been meaning to touch on this for a few days: in Sunday's Sacramento Bee, Dan Walters quoted California Lutheran University's William Watkins, who stated that California is "something like a zombie state, not quite dead, but certainly not vigorous, moving but with no clear direction." The implication being that, if the state's current economic conditions represent something worse than a transitory effect of the housing bubble's collapse, political leaders may need to embrace a radically smaller vision for California's government. As Walters puts it, "If California's destiny, at least for the next decade or two, is a semi-permanent economic stagnation, it will require governors, legislators and local officials to abandon their notions of temporary tax increases and short-term spending cuts and seriously downsize government at all levels." Which is, of course, what we've been calling for since we started this blog.

In this, of course, Walters is right on the money. Where he goes slightly awry is in writing, "Certainly if the rest of the nation emerges from recession and California is left behind with Michigan, Nevada and a few other economic basket cases, we'll know that we have fundamental competitiveness problems." Because, of course, the comparisons to Nevada and Michigan only make California look bad, and only underscore how dim the state's prospects are. As John Seiler points out at Cal Watchdog, both Michigan and Nevada are actually moving in the right direction these days by cutting taxes and spending. Which suggests that these troubled states will stand a better chance of recovery than California, which will seemingly never be satisfied until it's succeeded in stamping out all traces of personal freedom and economic growth within its borders.


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