Walter Russell Mead calls Calif. a ‘failed state’

May 15, 2012

By John Seiler

One centrist Democrat I’ve read for years is Walter Russell Mead. He writes the Via Meadea blog for the American Interest. The name is a pun on several levels: his name, mead the beverage, media and via media, Latin for “middle of the road.” So he practically defines centrism in the Democratic Party.

He just commented on Gov. Jerry Brown’s May Revise budget proposal and call for $8.5 billion in tax increases. Mead:

“California’s budget woes combined with poor economic results have long made it a poster child for poor fiscal management. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded to an A- by S&P, the lowest rating for any U.S. state, and its budget and pension shortfalls are infamous. Even more so than in other states, the main political challenge for California’s politicians will be to put the state on firm fiscal footing. Given the state’s poor current condition [and] the rotten condition of its non-Hollywood, non-Silicon Valley economy, this process is bound to take years….

“California’s budget woes combined with poor economic results have long made it a poster child for poor fiscal management. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded to an A- by S&P, the lowest rating for any U.S. state, and its budget and pension shortfalls are infamous. Even more so than in other states, the main political challenge for California’s politicians will be to put the state on firm fiscal footing. Given the state’s poor current condition the rotten condition of its non-Hollywood, non-Silicon Valley economy, this process is bound to take years.”

Remember: Mead is a top Democrat.

“It is all getting worse in a dismal cycle. New business is stifled even as many employers and successful people flee the state or opt not to go there in the first place. The housing bubble covered over some of California’s starker problems, but it will be some time before the residential construction industry picks up again — especially if the rest of California’s economy continues to languish.

“Behind it all is the reality that California is too large and too diverse to be effectively run as a single state. The regional and economic differences among the voters produce political gridlock and the huge size of the state with its many expensive media market make the power of special interests even greater than in most of the rest of the country.”

Most California Democrats still are too dense to get what’s going on. Like Brown, they think the mess can be solved by hitting up rich folks for more tax dollars. After all, who would leave the most beautiful place in the world? Who would not want to “man up,” as Brown himself once urged, and love being gouged for higher taxes?

“Governor Brown is now asking Californians to pay more for less: to raise taxes even as services decrease. In effect, he is behaving like the Greek and Spanish governments — offering voters nothing good, reduced to arguing that all their choices are worse than the swill he is asking them to drink.”

The rest of the country — even other Democrats — is gagging on the smell of the big California goernment whale rotting on the beach.

Some day Californians will smell it, too.

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  1. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 15 May, 2012, 11:45

    Doubt many residents care about deficit spending.

    The mall is open. The cash economy is good. TV works. Gas siphon hose in great shape. What’s a deficit?

    Reply this comment
  2. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 15 May, 2012, 12:46

    Well, if Mead is a top democrat and sees the evil and nefarious ways of the Democrat Party (California is their stomping ground)then why does Mead stay with the Party?

    Is the money too damned good, Walter??? heh. 😉

    Reply this comment
  3. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 15 May, 2012, 13:12

    U.U. has it right. Who cares about deficits, we only owe it to ourselves right? Obama will bale us out right?. We are the center of the universe right? We are too big to fail right? Bread and circuses for everyone.

    Besides, all the smart people know that when the utopian policies blow up you just double down. Paul Krugman says we just need to deficit spend another few trillion bucks and things will be fine. Works all the time, just look at Greece.

    Reply this comment
  4. David in Irvine
    David in Irvine 15 May, 2012, 13:57

    I’m not so sure I’d call Mead a “top Democrat”; he’s an academic and formerly was associated with the Council on Foreign Relations. More like someone comfortable in the establishment milieu. But he is exceedingly honest at Via Meadia and I would consider him non-partisan in the sense that he doesn’t grind his axe for either party. Let’s face it: as satisfying as it may be to read Seiler, Greenhut, Chris Reed and Reason.com (Welch and Cavanaugh) for their respective takes on political and governmental failure and dysfunction in California, it is by reading Mead, Joel Kotkin, and to a lesser extent Mickey Kaus that you overcome confirmation bias.

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  5. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 15 May, 2012, 15:37

    “… he’s an academic and formerly was associated with the Council on Foreign Relations”

    Wow. Why doesn’t that surprise me? heh.

    What I find consistent with these political mouthpieces is that all follow the money that comes from various sources (conservative, liberal or inbetween). And if they support a certain cause or crusade – they will never turn their back on it or criticize it IF THE FACTS CHANGE TO THE NEGATIVE. In that case they merely alter their spin. There are VERY FEW political commentators that I trust. It’s hard to find one who isn’t owned.

    Reply this comment
  6. Bob
    Bob 15 May, 2012, 17:36

    Hey Bubster, did ya hear the news?

    You being a military man I think you’d know but maybe not….so listen up.

    Obammie’s declared war! So maybe you’ll get called up now that we’re at war and all.

    But he didn’t declare war on Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria or Yemen or Iran or the endless countries the Empire is killing people in. Heck, when the Imperial President wants to bomb a country or invade a country or just kill people the Imperial President just does it. No need for any formalities like declaring war.

    So what country did Obammie declare war on you ask?

    Good question. The country of Alzheimer.

    Yup, Obammie is declaring war on Alzheimers!

    Think you will get called up to kill them Alzheimerians???

    I guess now we got a war on Alzheimers the disease is guaranteed to NEVER be cured, just like cancer and poverty and all the other ills our government masters have declared war on.

    So anyway, you’re in the army now, Bub…or back in the Army. Now go kill some of them Alzeimerians!

    Reply this comment
  7. Bob
    Bob 15 May, 2012, 18:11

    Bub, you are to report to Kathleen Sebelius immediately.

    Just saw her on the nightly propaganda….er…sorry nightly news.

    She is drawing up the battle plan.

    Reply this comment
  8. Bob
    Bob 15 May, 2012, 18:13

    And Bub, ya ain’t gettin any air cover. Just heard Lynin Williams announce that old Leon Panetta has grounded the F22.

    Reply this comment
  9. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 15 May, 2012, 21:16

    “Obammie’s declared war! So maybe you’ll get called up now that we’re at war and all”

    heh. No, not me, bob. Not at my age. If they ordered me back into the military they’d have to carry me out of my home feet first. I’m alot older and alot damn smarter than I was when in the day when I shined brass. I would be embarrassed to tell you what President I served under. They could send Obama to my house to order me to the induction center. I would give him the one finger salute too. I’ve done my time. If they want cannon fodder go enlist some illegals. They won’t talk back.

    “Yup, Obammie is declaring war on Alzheimers!”

    Alzheimers will be the new AIDS. If you catch Alzheimers you will be a political hero. And everyone will have to pay higher taxes to find the cure. They will find some food that is responsible for Alzheimers like booze and then just tax the hell out of it like they did cigarettes for lung cancer.

    Mark my words.

    Reply this comment
  10. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 15 May, 2012, 21:17

    “Bub, you are to report to Kathleen Sebelius immediately”

    I wouldn’t let her lick the jam from between my toes.

    Reply this comment
  11. Bob
    Bob 15 May, 2012, 21:41

    “I would be embarrassed to tell you what President I served under.”

    Not Teddy Roosevelt, I hope. 🙂

    “No, not me, bob. Not at my age.”

    Hey, you never know. There were reservists in their late 50s and in their 60s who went to Iraq.

    When I learned of this I always said let the politicians go fight the wars. Hell, old Dianne [email protected] ain’t too old to get shot at.

    Reply this comment
  12. Bob
    Bob 15 May, 2012, 23:29

    “I would be embarrassed to tell you what President I served under.”

    I’m guessing Raygun.

    Reply this comment
  13. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 16 May, 2012, 11:06

    “I’m guessing Raygun”

    You are a very polite man.

    Reply this comment
  14. lou
    lou 8 July, 2012, 17:54

    IMO, the amazing and pathetic thing is the apparently oblivious behavior of the so called elected leaders. My guess is that even if their own stinking ass was on fire they would act as though that were nothing was wrong. So, no one is actually expected to note the stinking whale carcass on the beach, either.

    Reply this comment

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