Politics

Robert Samuelson on the "fateful reckoning…in the unimagined future"

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Feeling gloomy about politics and economics? Then don't read this Robert Samuelson op-ed about California's lessons for the rest of us, unless you just want to wallow. His conclusion:

So California is stretched between a precarious economy and a strong popular desire for government. The state's wrenching experience suggests that, as a nation, we should begin to pare back government's future commitments to avoid a similar fate. But California's experience also suggests we'll remain in denial, prisoners of wishful thinking, until the fateful reckoning arrives in the unimagined future.

Being (unlike Samuelson) a native Californian, I stared into the sun and found a happier takeaway in the August/September issue.

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  1. A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.

    yadda yadda yadda

  2. Guns & ammo folks. Best to be prepared when that reckoning comes.

  3. I blame the Degreed Educators.

  4. "So California is stretched between a precarious economy and a strong popular desire for government."

    I don't think there is a popular desire for government. I think there is an apathetic and uninformed public. Then there is a craven political and media class that has completely forgotten about any duties beyond self enrichment. It is not like the public wouldn't vote down the public employees contracts that are bankrupting California. It is just that they have managed to create a political class that is oblivious to their desires and the long term health of the state.

  5. " ... until the fateful reckoning arrives in the unimagined future."

    Hey, some of us have pretty wild imaginations. I'd say "undesired future".

  6. @ John: "Then there is a craven political and media class that has completely forgotten about any duties beyond self enrichment."

    Wait a minute. You talk like the profit motive isn't sacred. That's blasphemy, man.

  7. "Wait a minute. You talk like the profit motive isn't sacred. That's blasphemy, man."

    I am afraid the profit motives among thieves and paracites is not the same as the profit motive among the productive.

  8. As another native Californian, I also believe that there is no public clamor for government. We have had a huge influx of people since the 1960s, when CA was the happening place to go, especially if you had flowers in your hair and believed in everybody sharing everything and everyone. It wasn't just the hippies and the runaways who came here. We got our share of carpetbaggers and scam artists, along with people trying to start over and idealists who wanted to make a better world (usually, it turns out, under the auspices of some government program or another). In the end, the native Californians were swamped by the flood of newcomers who like to say things such as Samuelson said above.

    I have a lot of respect and empathy for the coastal Indians, is all I'm saying.

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