California's famously perfect weather and spectacular scenery have not been enough to save the state from an 11 percent unemployment rate, as officially measured, or gargantuan annual state budget deficits. Liberal Democrats control the levers of power in the state and pretty much all the cultural assumptions, but reality stubbornly refuses to give way to the promised utopia. Consider the lead article in this morning's San Jose Mercury News.
SACRAMENTO -- California's projected budget deficit has ballooned to $16 billion, much larger than predicted just four months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday as he warned of draconian cuts to schools and public safety if voters don't approve his November tax-hike measure.
The governor said the shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January in part because tax collections are sluggish and the economy hasn't recovered as quickly as expected. The deficit also has soared because lawsuits and federal requirements have blocked billions of dollars in state cuts to social programs, Brown said.
Could government tax and regulatory policy be contributing to our unexpectedly--notice how all statist failures are "unexpected"-- sluggish recovery? Heresy. Our state's economic underperformance must be the work of a wrathful and unjust god, or something George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did to us. Somehow.
Meanwhile, consider the chart below comparing California's unemployment rate over time to that of Texas, another large industrial state. The two states parallel one another until 2006, when California unemployment surges ahead. Coincidentally, no doubt, 2006 was the year California passed AB32, the "Global Warming Solutions Act," which outsources escalating energy taxes and other job-killing regulations to the California Air Resources Board, now gearing up to reduce California greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Texas here we come.