The Demise of the Golden State
Happy New Year to all. Here's my first blog of the New Year. It's about my home state.
California is in a crisis. No, it's not because Lindsay Lohan has been in and out of jail more often than a correctional officer. It's certainly not because Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be leaving office soon. Let's hope he won't be back! California's problems can be blamed on its insatiable appetite to spend regardless of available resources, the lack of a political will to say no to those who come with hat in hand to Sacramento and the overwhelming desire by legislators to do what it takes to adopt the positions necessary to insure their re-election. A cynic might say it's also due to the desire to enrich oneself by using political influence that can be bartered to the highest bidder.
There is a saying that goes: "As California goes, so does the rest of the country." Let's hope not! California will not recover from its economic doldrums any time soon because the miracle that was California was largely based on the housing bubble that, for the most part, lasted fifty years. There are no signs of improvement in the state's housing market. Foreclosures continue; refinances are muddled by bank inefficiency or worse; and the jobless rate runs contrary to a sustained housing recovery.
So what's the answer for the state? As a Californian I've thought hard and long about it and believe I have come up with the answer. Let's just sell the whole state to China. The Chinese know how to get things done. They'll put us back to work counting their Yuan and keeping track of the debt owed to China by the U.S. government. Disney could then relocate the soon to be built Disneyland in Shanghai to Anaheim right next to the old Disneyland-California that would now be called: "The Way We Were." I already have an appropriate theme song for the park -- that is if Barbra will cooperate.
We all grew up being told about "The Golden Rule." Some people ignore it and even act contrary to its basic tenets. This is best illustrated by the old adage, "He who owns the gold makes the rules." In the Golden State that means the legislators who control the purse strings. It means the voting citizenry that help to set laws through a convoluted system of propositions whereby residents vote on spending and other issues. It sounds good in theory but the way the process works is if your side loses a vote, the issue appears on the next ballot to overturn that vote...and on and on until your side gets what it wants. Does this sound like a spoiled child? That's a perfect characterization for California. It's been spoiled over 50 years during which time people headed to the promise land to build a better life, buy up investment property, remodel, flip it, live off the increased equity and then start the pattern all over again.
Well, as for me, I'm on my way to the movies to pay $16 for a two-hour experience, ten-to-fifteen minutes of which will be watching six trailers. I'll stop by the popcorn stand for the privilege of spending another $14 on popcorn and a soda. Now, imagine what a family of five has to pay -- between $100-$150 for the two hours. Oh well, the lot next door has discount parking for only $10 for the day!