Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has come up emptyhanded in his quest for the federal bailout he said he wasn't seeking.
The Washington Post quotes an unnamed White House official saying Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, along with White House economists Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer, have decided to turn down a gaggle of frantic Golden State hacks who have been insisting that a default by the bloated, delusional state government would bring down the United States. The special pleaders for California include a real rogues gallery of politicians who couldn't get elected dog catcher in a real state: Controller John Chiang, Democratic U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Treasurer Bill Lockyer, etc.
But wait! The quality of mercy is partly strained, but it still contains fresh pulp. A ways down the article, the same official leaves open the crack for a California bailout sometime in the future:
These policymakers continue to watch the situation closely and do not rule out helping the state if its condition significantly deteriorates, a senior administration official said. But in that case, federal help would carry conditions to protect taxpayers and make similar requests for aid unattractive to other states, the official said. The official did not detail those conditions.
Whether it's an effort to stick it to a Republican governor who is just trying to recover his limited government senses, a desire to avoid distractions while overhauling health care, unwillingness to help a state whose profligacy is impossible to ignore, or just a realization that even Uncle Sam must learn to make do with less, I hope the Obama economic team stays this particular course.
UPI wheels in some more unnamed "analysts" to explain that Proposition 13, from way back in the Jimmy Carter era, is somehow responsible for the state's predicament. Matt Welch has demolished that argument before, but if you want to hear the real case against Prop 13, forget the anonymice and dig this great rant from John Saxon (in Blood Beach, I think?). If anybody can kick your ass until you pay your taxes, it's The Sax!