Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste—Drill Baby Drill!

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Back in November, Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama's chief of staff notoriously said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Decades of fiscal mismanagement and excessive government spending have finally created a "serious crisis" for the bankrupt Golden State. So

calif oil well

California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be taking Emanuel's advice to heart. Specifically, the desperate scramble for funds to cover a $26 billion deficit has finally gotten Democratic state legislators to agree to open up California's coast for oil exploration for the first time in 40 years. As the AP reports:

The deal to close California's $26 billion budget deficit included a plan to drill for offshore oil, drawing allegations that the fiscal crisis was used for a backroom deal following rejection of the idea by state regulators earlier this year.

Democrats agreed to Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's request to expand drilling from an existing platform off Santa Barbara to generate a one-time $100 million advance royalty payment this fiscal year and an estimated $1.8 billion in royalties over 14 years.

It would be the first new offshore oil drilling on state lands in four decades since a blowout on a platform off Santa Barbara coated miles of ocean and shoreline and galvanized opposition…

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento … said the state had run out of options and had to make a choice between a project that would generate about $100 million annually for the next 14 years, or to make deeper welfare and social service cuts.

"And, you know, that's a choice," he said.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill's quip:

"You can always count on California legislators to do the right thing—after they've tried everything else."

Well, maybe not