By Allysia Finley:
Listen up, California. The other 48 states—your cousin New York excluded—are sick of your bratty arrogance. You’re the Lindsay Lohan of states: a prima donna who once showed some talent but is now too wasted to do anything with it.
After enjoying ephemeral highs and spending binges, you suffer crashes that culminate in brief, unsuccessful stints in rehab. This cycle repeats itself every five to 10 years, as the rest of the country looks on with a mixture of horror and amusement. We’d feel sorry for you if you didn’t constantly flip us the bird.
Instead, we’re making bets on how long it will be before your next meltdown. Oh, wait—you’re already melting down.
You’ve racked up nearly $70 billion in general obligation debt, and that doesn’t include your $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Your own analysts predict you’ll face a hole of at least $80 billion over the next four years.
Your government’s run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums. When they’re not taxing or spending, they’re creating regulations and commissions like the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the California Blueberry Commission. Many businesses would leave if it weren’t for your sunny climate.
Which may explain why you’re so obsessed with climate change. If your climate changes, no one, including your Hollywood friends, would tolerate you anymore. So you’ve created a law to tax carbon emissions—no matter that it will kill jobs.
It’s not as if you don’t recognize that you’ve got problems. Roughly three-quarters of you say you’re headed in the wrong direction, according to a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. You’re even more depressed than Illinois and New York, and you’ve got sunshine 10 months of the year!
You appropriately give your government low marks—28% approval for outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 16% for the legislature—yet you continue to re-elect the politicians who got you into this mess. Not a single incumbent state legislator lost re-election this year, including one Democrat who died a month ago (no joke). What’s scarier is that you’ve just given almost all of the keys to statewide offices to Democrats.
Jerry Brown will be your new (old) governor. This is the man who acted as a gateway drug to your spending addiction three decades ago when he gave public-sector employees collective bargaining rights. Helping enforce your wacky laws will be Lt. Gov-elect Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco mayor who flouted state law by allowing same-sex marriage. On the plus side, he has nice hair and loves you just the way you are. This is what he had to say after winning his race:
“We’re nothing but a mirror of our consistent thoughts. You tend to manifest what you focus on. If you look around for what’s wrong, you’ll find it. But as all we know up here in San Francisco, when you focus on what’s right, you see it all around you. . . . There is absolutely nothing wrong with California that can’t be fixed by what’s right with California. . . . If you’re from another state, you’d love to have the problems of California.”
You’ve also just re-elected Barbara Boxer (that’s Senator Barbara Boxer) to a fourth term. She boasted on election night that it’s her “eleventh straight election victory, and what a sweet one it is . . . [since] everything was thrown at us, including the kitchen sink, and the stove and the oven and everything, millions of dollars of negative ads from known and unknown opponents, millions and millions of dollars.”
We’ve tried to help you, California. Some spent millions on campaigns to entice you to change your reckless behavior. And you told them to kick rocks.
So here’s our final warning: When you inevitably crash and burn, don’t count on us to bail you out.