26 Sep 2009

The California Trainwreck

How did a state with as many things going for it as California manage to go broke? Unions, Environmentalism, and a politics consisting of trying to have it both ways, Troy Senik explains.

California politics has given expression to the public’s contradictory political impulses. Liberals have won their campaign for bigger government and runaway spending, and conservatives have usually succeeded in keeping tax hikes at bay. The Golden State’s signature optimism may be to blame: How else to explain the delusion that Californians could be taxed like libertarians, but subsidized like socialists? The result, of course, has been a fiscal crisis addressed with slashed spending on public services and increased taxes in the midst of a deep recession — a recipe for yet more discord and trouble. In a grim irony, Californians are now being taxed like socialists and subsidized like libertarians.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

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