Government Spending

The California Scare Campaign

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Previously on Spring Street Blues, we had told you about how California's political-journalist class was gearing up to frighten-slash-chastise Californians about the "annihilating cuts" coming their way now that petulant voters failed to heed the weary wisdom of their betters. As this article in yesterday's L.A. Times demonstrates, one primary method for this uncoordinated campaign is news articles unlabeled as opinion. Check out the following grafs, and consider that this represents the bulk of the argument contained therein.

[E]liminating as much as $24 billion from the proposed $95.5-billion general-fund portion of the 2009-10 state budget would further corrode an economy already creaking under the weight of a national recession.

Distressed car dealers could see sales to state agencies shrink, printing shops may lose business as courts and other government operations shorten their workweek, and office-equipment suppliers would lose sales as cash-strapped agencies make do with aging copiers.

And cutting as many as 5,000 state jobs, and perhaps thousands more as budget reductions cascade down to schools and local governments, would hit especially hard in a state that already has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the nation.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed slashing state spending on education by $3 billion to help close the budget gap, and the state would pay dearly for canceling classes, firing instructors, cutting class days and shortening the school year, experts said.

Promising students would go to other states, taking their future skills, earnings and, possibly, Nobel Prizes elsewhere. California companies would then find it harder to attract high-value employees who might be dubious about moving to a state with sub-par schools. […]

John Sedgwick, co-founder of Santa Clara solar-energy company Solaicx, agreed.

"When you think about the genesis of Silicon Valley, it really started from its superior educational base" at Stanford and UC Berkeley, said Sedgwick, whose company makes the building blocks for photovoltaic cells. "That indicates that you don't want to kill the goose that's laying the golden eggs." […]

Businesses have long complained about big-spending government in California. But with state and local spending accounting for about one-fifth of the state's gross domestic product, California is in line with some other heavily populated, expensive-to-manage states, such as New York and Florida. […]

"Government is supposed to be a stabilizing influence, and instead they're becoming part of the problem," said Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics. "They should be spending when everyone else is cutting back. They should be buying cars when no one else is buying cars."

Eight quick counterpoints:

1) The alternative scenario, represented by the various tax increases and budget gimmicks that failed to pass muster last week, is never introduced as a comparison point. The mostly dreamed-up scenarios about that $24 billion cut (which I'll believe when I see) are never compared to the effect of tax hikes on a wobbly economy and suffering populace. Traditionally, all else being equal, smaller taxes equals more economic growth.

2) An economy (or business strategy) that relies on the government buying cars is neither sustainable in the long-term nor an efficient use of taxpayer dollars at any time. As Jacob Sullum has repeatedly pointed out, "That's a recipe for wasteful spending that will divert resources from more productive uses, and ultimately for higher unemployment than would otherwise occur." Put another way, there have indeed been many countries whose governments have provided most of the spending, and whose unemployment figures were very low. These were, in most cases, countries that couldn't afford many cars, on account of being so poor.

3) Do you know how many 5,000 state jobs are? A whopping 2 percent of the state work force, maximum. If that's "annihilating," how on earth would you characterize a 3 percent cut? As genocide?

4) Use of the word "experts" is one of the great tells in journalism. It usually means something close to "those people I cherry-picked to agree with my thesis." It is an artificial and scientific-sounding reputation-enhancer, one used in stark contrasts to the way that critics of said thesis will be portrayed in the same article.

5) "Promising students would go to other states, taking their future skills, earnings and, possibly, Nobel Prizes elsewhere"? What? There is no scenario being contemplated that I'm aware of where the net number of University of California students will be decreased under whatever cuts are coming. Does higher tuition = less Nobel Prizes? I dunno, ask the aforementioned Stanford, which IS A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY THAT WON'T BE AFFECTED BY THESE ANNIHILATING CUTS, YA MAROON.

6) California companies would then find it harder to attract high-value employees who might be dubious about moving to a state with sub-par schools. Here is the fundamental point behind every California budget story: The state has increased spending on K-12 education by 40 percent under Schwarzenegger (it has to; by dumb law, 40 cents on every state dollar has to go to education). The main drain on the California economy is that these massive increases in spending are producing ZERO noticeable improvements. Because the union-run school districts are infamous laboratories for inefficiency, job protection, and corruption, the state spends and spends, with nothing to show for it. Teachers unions are literally running out of other people's money, and now they warn us about "sub-par schools"? That par got done subbed a long time ago. If politicians, journalists, and other "experts" want to defend the status quo (of constant spending increases), then they need to explain why Californians need to keep throwing more and more good money after bad on a K-12 system that is showing no results.

7) Remember what I said about the opposite of "experts"? "Businesses have long complained about big-spending government," sez the Times. So in a direct comnparison here, the "experts" "said" that "the state would pay dearly" for education cuts; meanwhile "businesses" have "complained" about spending. Of course, the next sentence starts with the word "But." It's almost as if this is an editorial instead of a news article! Well, not quite–the editorial version would call the opposition "small-government zealots [who] lecture smugly that California has gotten its comeuppance for years of prodigal spending and unrighteous living." I swear to God I am not making that sentence up.

8) Speaking of that big "But," there are two other classic weasel-word phrases in the ensuing sentence– "some," and "such as." This allows the writer to ignore a state that is much closer to California's population, geography, and demographics than Florida or New York: Texas. According to U.S. Government Spending dot com, California state and local governments are currently spending 21.9 percent of GDP, compared to 14.5 percent for Texas. Big diff. Also, the whole GDP comparison in the first place, while useful, implicitly suggests that at minimum government spending should march right along with private-sector wealth creation.

I have no doubt whatsoever that some of the impending California budget cuts will be painful, inflicting harm on precisely the type of person you might otherwise want to help with a social safety net. That's not because the state is spending just the right amount of money right now, but because the state, like all lumbering bureaucracies (including the L.A. Times) is even more horribly inefficient in cutting spending than it is at spending money in the first place. The Times is a useful example in this case: For around a decade of job cuts, the paper didn't go around firing the newsroom's ample dead wood, it offered buyouts to anyone who would walk. And who is most likely to take such a deal? People who are confident they can match their earnings elsewhere. In other words, the employable.

Calfornia lawmakers, and the unions who put them into office, will do everything in their power to cut services first, employees last. That is indeed a crucial reason why we got here in the first place. Any analysis that doesn't explore how a higher-than-inflation-plus-immigration budget has failed to deliver on any increase in services, is not an analysis worth taking more seriously than common propaganda.

NEXT: Black Death of a Salesman is not just a Before/After riddle puzzle on Wheel of Fortune

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  1. “The state has increased spending on K-12 education by 40 percent under Schwarzenegger (it has to; by dumb law, 40 cents on every state dollar has to go to education).”

    It does not follow.

    Each 40 claim might be true, but they’re unrelated; one doesn’t mean that the other “has to” happen.

    A requirement that 40% of every state dollar fund schools is compatible with any level of increase or decrease in the education budget. It depends what’s happening to the overall level of state spending. If it happens that overall state spending has risen by 40%, then school spending must rise by 40%. But that would just be a coincidence.

  2. Mr. Welch,

    Are editorials masquerading as hard news really that shocking to you? I find it to be a common phenomenon.

  3. California should just seek royalties via right of publicity suits for stuff like “Hotel California”, “Californication”, etc., to pay off its debt…

  4. Welcome to the world’s first, largest and most effective interracial dating site.

    ==== InterRacialChaTs.COm ====

    Unlike other sites, singles here start out with something in common, love for singles from other races, ethnicities. The common interest will help make dating easier and more effective.

  5. political-journalist class

    Well put, Matt. The fourth estate at one time followed the third (us commoners).
    Now, dissatisfied with merely reporting the news, they wish to have a hand in making it.

    how on earth would you characterize a 3 percent cut? As genocide?

    No. As reporters no longer have any respect for the meaning of words,
    they’d call it a “decimation.”

  6. “When you think about the genesis of Silicon Valley, it really started from its superior educational base” at Stanford and UC Berkeley, said Sedgwick, whose company makes the building blocks for photovoltaic cells. “That indicates that you don’t want to kill the goose that’s laying the golden eggs.” […]

    As he neatly turns the “golden goose” analogy inside out. I hope this guy has a competent CFO; because he is a dumb fuck.

  7. Use of the word “experts” is one of the great tells in journalism….It is an artificial and scientific-sounding reputation-enhancer

    aka the fallacy of Agumentum ad Verecundiam. The Greek philosophers identified it well over two millennia ago. Journalists, politicians and cable-news populists are, apparently, still in the dark.

  8. Welcome to the world’s first, largest and most effective interracial dating site.

    Obviously, what “Herb” means to say is that, over generations, interracial dating will strengthen California’s economy by enriching the gene pool.

    I like to think I’ve defeated the comment spammers if I can reinterpret their messages as topical.

  9. Well, not quite-the editorial version would call the opposition “small-government zealots [who] lecture smugly that California has gotten its comeuppance for years of prodigal spending and unrighteous living.” I swear to God I am not making that sentence up.

    Matt, do you think the LA Times had two particular former employees in mind when they wrote that?

  10. If politicians, journalists, and other “experts” want to defend the status quo (of constant spending increases), then they need to explain why Californians need to keep throwing more and more good money after bad on a K-12 system that is showing no results.

    How delusional, or intentionally obtuse, can these people be? How do you justify doing *anything* over and over, harder and harder, when you see no positive effect?

    Do they really believe there is some magical next marginal dollar will suddenly transform the system?

  11. which will

  12. I’ve got to keep in mind that the economy is bad, and that people are really suffering as a result.

    Otherwise, I’m vulnerable to an acute case of schadenfreude when the Governing Class, both in Sacramento and in the Beltway, are repudiated by the ungrateful Morlocks of this country.

  13. “We are going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country,” Obama said. “But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States.”

    Some human rights advocates criticized Obama for adopting the idea that some detainees are not entitled to a trial. Others said the president was boxed in by cases inherited from the Bush administration in which possible prosecution had been irretrievably compromised by coercive interrogation.

    The president stopped short of saying he would institutionalize indefinite detention for future captives.

    “The issue is framed pretty exclusively in terms of existing Guantanamo detainees,” said Tom Malinowski, the head of Human Rights Watch’s Washington office. “There is a big difference between employing an extraordinary mechanism to deal with legacy cases compromised because of Bush administration actions and saying we need a permanent national security regime.”

    WaPo

    “I drink your hope. I drink it up.”

  14. It should be “fewer Nobel Prizes,” but otherwise this article was goddamn perfect! And the Times is usually so fair and balanced! Yes, it is about time that Sunny Cal got its comeuppance, and the Times as well. I imagine that if budget cuts actually do occur, the first thing the state will do is close down the Golden Gate Bridge and ship to Singapore. Serves you right!

    I am sooooooo glad that I live in sensible DC, and I’m particularly glad that I don’t own a car, since the city plans to hire 5,000 people (and, no doubt, buy 5,000 cars) to ticket anything that doesn’t move.

    Oh, and I LUUVVEE “Agumentum ad Verecundiam”! I am so towin’ the lion on that one!

  15. [E]liminating as much as $24 billion from the proposed $95.5-billion general-fund portion of the 2009-10 state budget would further corrode an economy already creaking under the weight of a national recession.

    Let the remaining state employees go home 2 hours early each Friday as long as they promise to break a window somewhere.

  16. “Obviously, what “Herb” means to say is that, over generations, interracial dating will strengthen California’s economy by enriching the gene pool.”

    Dude, you could get work defending federal Commerce Clause justifications for laws…

  17. Oh, and I LUUVVEE “Agumentum ad Verecundiam”!

    Drinking so soon, Alan?

    Should be “argumentum” of course.
    Stupid latin-excluding spellchecker.

  18. office-equipment suppliers would lose sales as cash-strapped agencies make do with aging copiers.

    Oh,horror!

    I envision the citizens of California picking their way through piles of broken, mangled state bureaucrats who have flung themselves from the rooftops in protest of such an egregious indignity.

  19. Another band-aid: we subsidize what’s currently going wrong (effects) without addressing the bad logic that got us there (cause).

    Politicians get elected by promises, and only a few are lucky enough to have those promises be negative or neutral (remove bad programs, or “balance the budget”).

    People just want their entitlements and assume the money shows up like magic.

  20. Where is Lex Luther when you really need him.

  21. Let me see if I understand. If California is forced to spend $24 billion less because its citizens won’t approve increased taxing and borrowing, that means that $24 billion less will be spent on things like cars as a result. Because as we all know, like PBS, if the state doesn’t spend it, who will?

  22. If California would like an unbiased budget trimmer, I, with my bureaucrat blood dripping and my axe, volunteer.

    As the dentist says, this may hurt a bit …

  23. Oh crap~! If only we had a preview option here.

    If California would like an unbiased budget trimmer, I, with my bureaucrat blood dripping and my axe, volunteer.

    As the dentist says, this may hurt a bit …

  24. Priority based budgeting is the answer. Require the budget writers to order by priority all spending and the bottom of the list numbers get cut until the budget is balanced. Dare them to defend putting education spending, or whatever, anywhere but near the top.

    Stops the scare tactics.

    Credit card companies use the same scare tactics as the California house, in order to get you to pay them instead of feeding your children or whatever your more important priority item is.

  25. Awesome. Now cue LoneWacko to show up and blame it all on illegalMexicans while shilling for his site.

  26. In the face of the private sector hacking off whole limbs, I’d hope that minus-2% for public sector is an obvious haircut…

  27. Clearly, you are unaware of a certain God named Keynes.

  28. Priority based budgeting is the answer.

    That makes way too much sense. If the politicians ever find out who you are, they’ll put a restraining order to keep you 1000 feet away from the political process at all times.

  29. Shorter LA Times: “Won’t someone think of the office-equipment suppliers??”

  30. “Progressive” states like California and New York are testing grounds for the latest trends in collectivism. If and when California is bailed out by the rest of the nation, we will have finally gone full-socialist. It’s only a matter of time, anyway. Prepare to be buggered.*

    *Obama sez it won’t hurt as much if you relax and accept it.

  31. California the Golden state, is fast becoming the poster child for an bankrupt third world State!

    An unholy alliance of Socialist Democrat politicians, Unions, and Illegal Aliens supporters are feasting at the trough of tax payers paid benefits while taxing & regulating business and the tax paying public into poverty.

    The pandering of Left Wing Democrat Politicians to their constituency of Illegal Aliens, open border supporters, and unions are driving business and citizens to other states & countries, while leaving the parasites & welfare leeches in an increasing bankrupt, dysfunctional state!

    For years California has ignored economics 101 and imported poverty, Criminals and uneducated Peons from Mexico, which increased Medical, Welfare, Crime, Prison, etc. & adding a estimated 16 billion per year to Calif. State expense to provide for the invading horde of Illegal Aliens, while exporting business and educated working tax payers.

    Like all Socialist & Marxist States the results have been an lowing of living standards, tax receipts & finally bankruptcy.

    Failure to abide by our Constitution against invasion & enforce our Immigration laws and constraints on wages and benefits for public employees will result in turning the Golden State into MexiCalif and the end of the California dream!

    The policies of Obama and Wash. DC Democrats are intent on following Calif. policies and are resulting in the same creeping socialist process across American.

    Amnesty & Citizenship as a reward for their invasion of the USA, will result in the rest of the USA turned into a Spanish speaking third world cesspool, modeled on Mexico and follow California into a polluted, over populated, Spanish speaking third world Nation of Crime, Corruption, Poverty, & Misery!

    This will result in a population depending on Welfare and the Democrat party, thus assuring the lock on power for the Socialist Democrat party of the United States of Mexico!

  32. That was close enough…shut the fuck up, Lonewacko.

  33. I found it ironic how the article argued that LESS government spending would keep valuable people out of the state.

    I’m a small business owner, a native Californian, and I went to one of the top universities mentioned in the article. I have settled down in Nevada. It’s hard enough trying to run a business without the additional layer of California bureaucracy and high taxes.

    It’s a pity too, because California is a uniquely beautiful place to live. If I ever were to stop being a successful and productive member of society, or just got so rich that I didn’t care about an additional 10% in taxes, I would surely return to California.

  34. California is broke.
    The majority of porn that is made in the U.S. is made in California.

    Therefore, the more porn one buys the more one can help California out.

    Come on people, join me in doing your part to save California!

  35. Bah. Those presstitutes are trying to make us feel sorry for our ticks, our fleas, our mosquitoes! Would that there were a “genocide” of government workers and teachers’ unions and other parasites. I’d like to see the streets flooded with government blood; also JournoList blood.

  36. This harkens back to the golden age of idiotarian fisking.

    Good job.

  37. Priority based budgeting is the answer. Require the budget writers to order by priority all spending and the bottom of the list numbers get cut until the budget is balanced. Dare them to defend putting education spending, or whatever, anywhere but near the top.

    In practice, this might result in them loading the bottom of the list with such inessentials as fire departments, police, roads, and courts — at least, this is how the Hawaii state legislature has historically put their allegedly marginal appropriations on bills linking those services to a tax or fee increase.

    The trick is to get the priority based budgeteers to be rational number-crunching people not subject to political influence — in legislation written and passed by politicians.

  38. Therefore, the more porn one buys the more one can help California out.

    Someone out there actually pays for porn besides MNG?

  39. > “…par got done subbed…”

    I believe you mean: …par done got subbed…

    But otherwise (i.e., broken Bumpkinese aside), nice post.

  40. If the politicians ever find out who you are, they’ll put a restraining order to keep you 1000 feet away from the political process at all times. phone in an anonymous drug tip that will result in a major SWAT action.

    Seriously.

  41. if the state doesn’t spend it, who will?

    The glaziers.

  42. Not a word about the true nature of the massive problems in the Sanctuary State–California. Illegal Immigration and the pandering by the Sacramento legislators, who have ignored voices of the inhabitants in this all encompassing crisis.

    Illegal immigration is once again on the front burner of issues. We cannot hide from the fact that once Proposition 187 was snuffed by a liberal judge, and manipulated so not to reach reaching the highest court. Now California and other state budgets are starting to suppurate The cost is almost unmentionable if you ask Los Angeles City Manager Andronovich as they have reached pandemic proportions and must be neutralized or the budget meltdown will keep mounting.

  43. What if CA cuts $24B and… it works? Despite the pain, CA gets back on track?

    CA is a bellwether state; it leads the way. Other states will follow. This will cause fiscal restraint to take hold across the land.

    Obama will not allow this scenario to play out.

  44. Other proposed changes – such as excluding undocumented immigrants from eligibility in a county health care reimbursement program for the poor – would save $1.5 million next fiscal year.

    http://www.sacbee.com/ourregion/story/1796062.html

    Paying for health care for the citizens of other countries is the sort of thinking that got CA into this mess in the first place.

  45. At least they aren’t talking about baby killing rapists being released from prison to save money. Then again they might be saving that for the final stretch to drive home the need for a bailout.

  46. and the LA times is wondering why their paper is on the brink of failure. how about the fact that it takes 3 reporters to write a two page, poorly written, keynesian based editorial disguised as an actual, impartial piece of journalism. I was sure to send them all emails letting them know that.

  47. I am tired of paying for Mexican citizens health care, foodstamps and education. Let Mexico take care of them. If the U.S gov. wants Ca. to let them stay then the country should help pay for them. Why does ca. tax payers have to pay for a problem that should be takin care of by the federal gov. Ca. should exempt them from all state money. If the federal gov. wants them here let them pay for them.

  48. If the state (in this case California) didn’t offer such programs then the need for you to complain about someone taking advantage of them would moot. Maybe the problem isn’t those crazy Mexicans, but the stupid entitlements?

  49. Only 48 comments?
    We’re either:
    a) Not very scared, or
    b) Too drunk to care

  50. Well, it IS Memorial Day Weekend.

    I vote for (b).

  51. Where is Lex Luther when you really need him?

    Gone Galt.

  52. i know we men have lots of standards to pick up a woman, and there’s one website that can almost meet all our different demands:
    [====INTERRACIALCHATS.COM====] my bros told me this; it worked for them, it worked for me; and i’m sure it’s gonna work for u, buddy!!

  53. Not a word about the true nature of the massive problems in the Sanctuary State–California. Illegal Immigration and the pandering by the Sacramento legislators, who have ignored voices of the inhabitants in this all encompassing crisis.

    Haven’t you heard? No true libertarian would ever protest having his country wrecked. Which is why I am not a libertarian. I happen to like my country, my language and my culture just as they are, thank you very much.

  54. Teachers unions are literally running out of other people’s money, and now they warn us about “sub-par schools”? That par got done subbed a long time ago.

    My fathers last Army duty station was Camp Irwin, near Barstow, California. We were there two years. My brother and I lost two years of education, me in the sixth and seventh grade him in the second and third. Coming from a military base school in Germany, we were simply that far ahead of the California schools. When we moved to Texas catching up was messy.

    That was in 1958-1960.

    “When you think about the genesis of Silicon Valley, it really started from its superior educational base” at Stanford and UC Berkeley, said Sedgwick, whose company makes the building blocks for photovoltaic cells. “That indicates that you don’t want to kill the goose that’s laying the golden eggs.”

    Exhibit A: Why software user manuals suck.

    How delusional, or intentionally obtuse, can these people be? How do you justify doing anything over and over, harder and harder, when you see no positive effect?

    See: gun control, war on drugs, war on poverty, etc.

    Dare them to defend putting education spending, or whatever, anywhere but near the top.

    Not. Education spending should go last. Nowhere is there a bigger bloatocracy that needs more cutting.

    I am tired of paying for Mexican citizens health care, foodstamps and education.

    At least the Mexicans work. What the government pays for them is a drop in the bucket compared to the cash outlay on government employees, most of whom exist to prevent people from efficiently producing.

    If you don’t want to pay for worker’s families, set up a reasonable guest worker program that allows them legal access to U.S. employers. The Mexicans will come here, work their tails off producing stuff for us, then go home. That way they don’t have to bring their families along.

    Problem solved.

  55. Someone out there actually pays for porn besides MNG?

    Some of us don’t like having to sift through hundreds of amateur videos to find the one that doesn’t induce vomiting, and also don’t want to steal professionally-made stuff. Tanstaafp, you know.

  56. Give me your money or bad things will happen!

    Wait a sec that sounds familiar.

  57. No true libertarian would ever protest having his country wrecked.

    Jesus H. Moneypenny, we do little BUT.

  58. Great post! Keep up the excellent work!!
    COMMON CENTS
    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

  59. What’s with all the leeching posts lately?

  60. What’s with all the leeching posts lately?

    H&R is an equal-opportunity site.
    They hit. They run.

  61. I am tired of paying for Mexican citizens health care, foodstamps and education.

    How much more do you want to pay for food, sparky? Send all the Mexicans home, and you can go pick your veggies yourself. Either that, or we’ll just switch to importing food.

    -jcr

  62. “Also, the whole GDP comparison in the first place, while useful, implicitly suggests that at minimum government spending should march right along with private-sector wealth creation.”

    This is similar to the problem we have with proposals to “limit spending growth” to population growth + inflation, as if there is some baseline of necessary programs and services, which is represented by THE GOVERNMENT AS IT IS TODAY, and which should pace population growth and be adjusted for cost-of-living. The proposals sound reasonable enough, unless you ask the question of whether we are already getting far more government than we need.

    The only “percentage” arguments I find acceptable are those of the type, “what percentage of personal income/gdp would be the maximum you could stand to pay to government before calling your public servants to account?” I think we have probably, finally hit that redline in California.

  63. “I am tired of paying for Mexican citizens health care, foodstamps and education.”

    How much more do you want to pay for food, sparky? Send all the Mexicans home, and you can go pick your veggies yourself. Either that, or we’ll just switch to importing food.

    A third alternative: put a bunch of government employees out of work and let them take jobs picking “veggies”.

  64. Of course, considering the caliber of many government employees, the state might starve.

  65. From the linked editorial:

    Some “spending” actually comes in the form of tax cuts, such as the reduction of the vehicle license fee that propelled Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger into office; that cut increased the state deficit…

    Yes, California is in the shit pot it’s in because they got rid of the vehicle license fee.

    Wait… what?

  66. Mr. Welch’s analysis is insightful, witty and well-grounded in reality. For the opposite, I just finished reading an column by Paul Krugman who puts the blame for California’s problems on there still being too many Republicans in the state.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/25/opinion/25krugman.html?ref=opinion

  67. Krugman is to economics as Lysenko is to biology.

    -jcr

  68. Krugman is to economics as Lysenko is to biology.

    You could just call him a shill for the DNC and a complete fucking moron bastardizing his chosen “science” for the sake of an income.

    Any one with marginal math skills can pencil fuck an elephant hanging from cliff by holding onto a daisy with its trunk. The question is can you get the elephant to try it.

  69. Re: Krugman: The Dems have a 60-vote majority in the Senate, a majority in the House, and control of the presidency, and still they blame their governing problems on the Republicans.

    And get away with it.

    Unbelievable.

  70. When I moved to Orange County from out of state in 1997, it was like moving to Dodge City- no paved streets, a one room jail and all the kids learnin’ was done under a cottonwillow tree and taught by the Widow Parsons. I for one am happy to get those kids into some decent classrooms.

  71. you did an awful lot of heavy lifting to “prove” media bias when in fact all you did was show your own obtuse partisanship. What a bore.

  72. awesome, I get to do my very first….

    shut the fuck up, Lone Wacko!

    YESSSSSSS!

  73. people, just because Krugman is a political hack does not make him a bad economist.

    you might as well be talking about what a bad businessman Henry Ford was because of his antisemitism. Just because Krugman disagrees with you on politics doesn’t make him a categorical moron: his Nobel Prize was deserved.

  74. people, just because Krugman is a political hack does not make him a bad economist.

    Yes it does. Ford was a business man not an academic in a field that involves the study of the effects of political decisions. Your analogy sucks. The Nobel Prize has become a bit of a political joke. Al Gore. (even though the peace prize has always been political)

    The minute he started shilling for a party he lost his objectiveness. Plus I have a hard time trusting someone who has spent their entire career in white tower of academia. Where unicorns and flying monkeys live. He’s a wannabe Keynes complete with running to the white house in a crisis, and that guy was a fucking tard too.

  75. Higher tuition=FEWER Nobel prizes. LEARN PROPER ENGLISH. PLEASE.

  76. I can’t think of any explanation for Krugman’s column blaming Republicans other than “Democratic shill”. Jeez, all CA has to do is take spending back to year-2000 levels. But no, it’s the “gone mad” Republicans!

  77. The lesson from Krugman is that just because someone does some extremely specialized research that deservingly wins a Nobel prize does not make him an authoritative source on the entire discipline of economics.

    This isn’t just an economics thing; I wouldn’t consider the guys who won a Nobel Prize in Physics a few years ago for their work in solid state physics to be experts on cosmology and dark matter. Of course Krugman’s posturing pisses me off more because it’s so much more destructive.

  78. Use of the word “experts” is one of the great tells in journalism. It usually means something close to “those people I cherry-picked to agree with my thesis.” It is an artificial and scientific-sounding reputation-enhancer, one used in stark contrasts to the way that critics of said thesis will be portrayed in the same article.

    Note also that these “experts” are rarely identified by name and/or organization so that we can check to see just how “expert” they really are.

  79. There continues to be a lack of serious engagement about the fact that the deficit was not fundamentally caused, nor can it be cured, by getting rid of so-called “do nothing” state employees. The entire payroll expense of the State govt., including UC and CSU, is budgeted at $24 billion for the coming fiscal year. (see: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/pdf/BudgetSummary/BS_SCH4.pdf)

    This $24 billion number exactly coincides with the current official deficit projection. Now, that figure doesn’t include fringe benefits, which you can figure are approximately equal to 50% of payroll cost. So the bottom line is that firing EVERY SINGLE STATE, UC, and CSU EMPLOYEE would save approximately $36 billion in employment expense. Considering that the official deficit projection of $24 billion is meaningfully understated, and that it is probably actually more like $30 billion, you can see that budget balancing cuts have to be deeply painful.

  80. Notice the “business man” cited in the article is co-founder of a company that makes solar panel components: in other words a company whose business model is almost entirely dependent on government subsidies. It cannot really be surprising to anyone (other than to a liberal or reporter) that companies dependent on government subsidies support increases in the size of government. Cutting the state budget could cause the worst of all possible disasters: it would cut HIS budget.

    According to Dilbert, if HIS budget was cut it would mean “a plague of locusts o’er the land” etc. while Wally said that gravity would be interrupted and we would all be flung into space. Maybe someone should send these comments to the reporters covering the CA budget crisis and see if we can get them to include them among the “expert” commentary.

  81. Nice article, but nothing will change. BOHICA:
    Bend Over Here It Comes Again.

    Truly, nothing will change. They’ll let a few expendable firemen, policemen and teachers go. But the union thugs will keep their jobs. One cuts from the bottom, not the top. Expect LA Times articles about the death of some children or pregnant mothers due to lack of critical services.

    As for illegal immigrants sucking up resources: we all know it’s true, why bandy it about?

  82. Pure speculation passing as news. “Could see”, “as many”, “has proposed” and wait for it…”experts said”. What dribble. I can just see a James Taranto “Best of the Web” entry for this crap: “World Ends, Californians Worst Hit”. Oh, dear.

  83. Let’s hear some real suggestions on cutting regulatory overhead!

    I’ll start:

    1) abolish the California Energy Commission – that will save half a billion

    2) halve the California Air Resources Board’s $700 million a year budget.

    There’s $850 million of real cuts. I’ll bet Californians would never miss the loss of these “services” except in positive ways like the continued ability to set their own thermostat and the freedom to chose their own car color.

  84. “California companies would then find it harder to attract high-value employees who might be dubious about moving to a state with sub-par schools.”

    Uh, people that are paid that kind of loot usually have their kids in private school, or they pay a premium to live in a place where the schools are decent. Betcha the author of the article does too.

  85. Every worker in California should get paid what state workers are getting in pay and benefits for the same work or perhaps all workers should work for the state and the state can assign them to private industry . People who do not work will be given free housing, health care and money, $25,000 per person per year would be fair. Raise taxes to pay for this.

  86. d | May 24, 2009, 4:56pm | #

    > “…par got done subbed…”

    I believe you mean: …par done got subbed…

    But otherwise (i.e., broken Bumpkinese aside), nice post.

    You just don’t understand how that works, do you. The joke is the swap in order. Speaking of Bumpkin.

    Miss Dana

  87. Well if spending 21% of the state’s GDP is good and spending less would bring the end-of-world, then why not spend 100% of the GDP?

    Hell, spend 150% and we will have heaven on earth.

  88. All those crooks in SACRAMENTO making budget cuts on everyone but themselves just typical of a bunchof liberal eletists

  89. B Lacksaint my hero. You said everything that needed to be said. Oh and $50 Billion in money given to illegals.

  90. Both sides are afraid to do anything about the illegals who love to sneak in and suck on the teet of Liberal spending. There are people in CA bending over backwards to give out money to illegals. They are a HUGE problem. CA is the perfect model to show us what this administration has planned.

  91. I moved from California to Texas 3 years ago. It was the best thing I ever did. I’ll never move back. Yes, I miss California’s geographical beauty, but it wouldn’t be worth the daily galling grind of knowing that I live in the nation’s biggest political cesspool – even more incorrigible than Washington DC, if that’s possible.

    Today, the best possible thing that could happen to California would be complete and abject failure of the state. Until the price to California’s voters becomes too personally painful to continue down the road they’re on, they will never change. The status quo is just too easy.

  92. I’m coming late to this particular party, only to ask… Didn’t any of you geeknoids notice the misspelling of Lex Luthor’s name?

    Your comics will be seized, O, unworthy ones!

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