Jul 1, 2009

The Other Side of Summer

I'd heard rumblings about this from friends in SoCal, but Harold Meyerson's new piece puts it all together re: the economic devastation in my former home state, which looks ever less attractive as a possible future home state:
[Gov.] Schwarzenegger is proposing to end welfare, not just as we know it but altogether, and to throw 1 million children off the rolls of the state's healthy families program. But the consequences of closing the deficit simply through cutbacks will be felt by more than the poor.

That sucks hard enough, but here's the kicker that has more than one L.A. couple I know with young children looking for other states to live:
Already reeling from $15 billion in cutbacks that the state put through in February, many school districts, including that of Los Angeles, have canceled summer school this year. Scholarships that enable students of modest means to attend California's fabled university system have been slashed. Most of the state's parks may have to be closed as well.

Parks and public schools, who needs 'em? Before those of you with no stake in Cali's fortunes crank up the schadenfreude, consider Meyerson's larger point:
California is a special case simply because it's so big. Closing California's budget gap entirely through cutbacks in programs, as Schwarzenegger and the Republicans in the legislature propose, will deepen not only the state's recession but also the nation's. Fully 1 in 4 of the nation's underwater mortgages, for instance, are on California homes, and the effects of the governor's proposed cuts -- which UCLA's Anderson School of Business estimates will cause 60,000 state employees to lose their jobs -- will be to create a new wave of foreclosures and toxic assets on the banks' books. California accounts for 12 percent of the nation's gross domestic product and a disproportionate share of the federal government's revenues (and for every dollar that Californians pay to the feds, they get just 80 cents back in services)...It is not only Californians but also America that has a stake in their success. A California that decimates itself during recessions drags the rest of the nation down with it.

No comments: