If you live in California you HAVE to pay attention to Democrat politics. They run the state and there is not a thing the Republicans can do about it. In certain blessed zones, in which I do not personally reside, Republicans can still be effective on a local level, but state-wide Democrats are the game. Having achieved this enviable position they are in the process of committing slow-motion suicide. The latest sign of their impending doom? The California Democrat Party has given its endorsement in a Dem on Dem general election, not to one of the most recognizable, long serving of Senators currently in the Senate, but to a state senator that no one outside of California political geeks has ever heard of. Why? Because, wait for it…Diane Feinstein, she of “the dogma lives loudly” fame, is too moderate.
This is being analyzed in all sorts of ways, most focus on internal party strife in the CA Dems. That is fair enough, but I am way past that – what concerns me is the utter lack of serious, reality based political talent in the state in either party. The Democrats got here in no small part because of some pretty enormous Republican missteps and serious Republicans have just moved on. When Jerry Brown – Governor Moonbeam, for crying-in-the-sink – represents the best the Dems have to offer, there is a dearth of talent. Brown is older than dirt (80) and the heir apparent, Gavin Newsom, will bankrupt the state before he leaves office. (Actually it is already bankrupt, but Newsom will successfully strip the veneer, massively spending.)
The handwriting is on the wall. California is going to break; it is just a question of when and how precisely. Climate, natural wonders and the economic engine that is Silicon Valley notwithstanding, it is going to break. Those things and some slight-of-hand, may serve as camouflage – which is effectively what is happening now – but eventually you cannot hide the biggest thing in the room. The question is, “Then What?”
The problems California is going to have to face at some point are immense. The need for infrastructure of all types on all levels is stupefying – in a state that has no money. And while Silicon Valley practically prints money, it only produces jobs that demand high education levels. If you do not have a graduate degree there is little point in looking for work in the Bay Area, and even if you do you are not going to make enough money to live within a hour’s drive of your job. Which takes us back to the ever-increasingly taxed infrastructure. The same can be said for the content suppliers that still thrive in Southern California – though the numbers down here are not quite as staggering. It is one heck of a knot to untie.
My point is this – it is time for someone to start thinking about how to fix it. Somebody not in California. If they cannot figure it out here given the current realities, you just have to let it crash-and-burn. But then you have to be prepared to pick up the pieces Like the military plans for every battle they can think of and the Fire Department drives around and looks for trouble spots and tries to anticipate how it will respond, somebody has got to be thinking about what to do about California when the inevitable happens.
Some really important things that have to be considered. One, California has demonstrated it has no capability to take care of itself. Just throwing money at it is not going to solve the problem. The money will have to come with some pretty significant strings and some talent – a lot of talent. Secondly, the amounts involved will be vast. So staggering will be the amounts the whole country is going to feel the pain. There will be enormous, but as far as I can tell unavoidable, resentment. This, more than anything else, is why the nation has to get ahead of the California self-destruct train. If California’s demise catches the nation by surprise, the resentment will prevent response and in the end the nation cannot really afford that.
Finally – there is one group, one pretty large group, that is just going to have to be cut loose. That’s the government employee unions and pensions that lie at the bottom of this economic nightmare. They put us in this hole, and while I know people whose lives will be ruined when their pension disappears I have a hard time mustering sympathy. Not only are they picking everybody’s pockets with their pensions, the bureaucratic hell they have created here has served only to shrink the size of the pockets they are picking.
Now, who is up for it?