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.



Related Articles

A Tale of Two Boycotts

Katy Grimes: Cries of “racism,” “solidarity,” and “plantation politics” from Democrat state legislators were heard at a rally to support

Transient Business

Katy Grimes: The hilarious story in today’s Sacramento Bee about the transient fellow who showed his entrepreneurial spirit over the

Kamala Harris’ Totalitarianism

Steven Greenhut: California Attorney General Kamala Harris and her union allies no doubt have amused themselves at the way they