California: The National Petri Dish
Posted July 2nd, 2009 at 5.38pm in Energy and Environment, Enterprise and Free Markets, Entitlements.
Supposedly, trends start in California and then spread to the rest of the country, a notion that seems to be confirmed by the latest economic news. In May, California’s unemployment rate hit 11.5 percent—the highest it has been since 1941. This morning we learn that unemployment for the entire country hit 9.5 percent in June—the highest rate in 26 years.
Will the country close the economic-death-spiral gap with California? Very possibly it will, if the federal government continues to follow California’s example of crushing its economy with ever-increasing government spending, taxing, and regulating.
The latest from California is that state lawmakers cannot reach agreement on a new budget for the fiscal year which began on July 1. That failure prompted Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a state of fiscal emergency and to order a third furlough day for state employees. The state’s comptroller is now preparing to send IOUs to 28,000 California taxpayers who are owed refunds. Central to the budget impasse is the problem of closing a budget deficit that by latest estimates has grown to $26.3 billion. Some experts think California’s deficit will top $40 billion next year. Because of these budget maladies, Standard & Poors has put the state on notice for a lowering of its credit rating, which is already the worst in the nation (tied with Louisiana). California has the fourth highest foreclosure rate in the country. Of the cities with unemployment rates exceeding 15 percent, nearly half are in California. Continue reading…