Monday, May 18, 2009

The Economist on California

California's budget is a complete disaster. We're facing a $20B deficit that comes due in a few months. Arnold is trying some last ditch efforts that could get the deficit to $15B, but even if those measures succeed, we'll still be in a huge hole. The economist wrote a great article isolating the factors that create an unworkable budget process. Here's my favorite quote, but read the whole article. We need to understand the problem before we can fix it.

"Those voters, moreover, have over time “self-sorted” themselves into highly partisan districts: loony left in Berkeley or Santa Monica, for instance; rabid right in Orange County or parts of the Central Valley. Politicians have done the rest by gerrymandering bizarre boundaries around their supporters. The result is that elections are won during the Republican or Democratic primaries, rather than in run-offs between the two parties. This makes for a state legislature full of mad-eyed extremists in a state that otherwise has surprising numbers of reasonable citizens."