Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bad Mood Rising

VDH wonders about California's Groundhog day:

Our poor state is $14 billion plus now in the red, and the Governator has promised no new taxes, wise inasmuch as our sales and income taxes are already among the highest in the country. The University of California system is panicking and sending out emails to us alums, to march en masse on Sacramento for redress!

But lost in the furor is any self-reflection, such as why would UC Davis recently pay John Edwards, multimillionaire trial lawyer, $50,000 plus to give a brief lecture on poverty? Such questions are never answered, much less raised, since the problem is always framed as a matter of a shortage of income, never a surfeit of unnecessary expenditure.

We in California, given the past budget implosions, know the script to follow. We expect that police, fire, prisons, parks etc will be threatened with cut-backs and closure while the state-funded "Center for this" and the "Department of that" will remain untouched, since cutting the essential while protecting the politically-correct superfluous is the only way to scare the voter and achieve higher taxes.

At some point we Californians should ask ourselves, how we inherited a state with near perfect weather, the world's richest agriculture, plentiful timber, minerals, and oil, two great ports at Los Angeles and Oakland, a natural tourist industry from Carmel to Yosemite, industries such as Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and aerospace—and serially managed to turn all of that into the nation's largest penal system, periodic near bankruptcy, and sky-high taxes.

I suspect that there can be no meaningful compromise in the capitol...not when Democrats in the legislature long to increase taxes and the Governor--for whatever it's worth--keeps saying he won't do such a thing as Hanson points out. So now what?

In the meantime, real estate continues to take it on the chin--the house next door has been on the market for over a year and the owner can't unload it even with a fire-sale sticker of $289,000.

I'm upside down to the tune of $30-$40K on mine, revenues are way down yr-to-yr at work and my income for '07 was down a cool 10% from '06 while the outlook for '08 is no better.

So yes, now what?

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