Monday, May 11, 2009

Is California "Too Big to Fail"?

I think I’ve got it figured out finally. I’ve been worrying on the California special election like a hungry dog on a steak bone, just gnawing away looking for a solution.

You see, I just don’t like the 6 questions which are being put before the voters. It seems to me that the so-called “solution” is a cop-out by the Governor and Legislators who have now tossed it to the voters to validate. Unfortunately, if the voters validate the smoke and mirrors put forth by the 6 measures then the voters will take ownership of a pitiful excuse for solutions which will allow elected officials to wash their hands in the best Pontius Pilate fashion.

Of course, it’s California’s government by referred measure which has had more than a little to do with the budgetary debacle that the state is experiencing.

So, what to do about it? Well, the first thing is to do what I’ve been thinking about for several months. Defeat measures 1A through 1F. Just vote No! Turn down every one of them. Then, as the budget gets worse, as the economy of California tanks further, have Governor Schwarzenegger make a call to President Obama.

The Governor can tell the President that the world’s 5th largest economy is tanking. The state with almost 1/8th of the nation’s population is broke. He can then tell the President that, like AIG, California is “too big to fail”.

AIG got something like $85 billion and that’s a lot of money. According to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s budget, California only needs a little less than half that--$41 billion—a bargain. And for a whole state. If the Federal Government would just write California a check, from TARP funds or wherever, the state’s books would be balanced and we could maybe, just maybe, manage to make ends meet until we have to engage in a budget debacle again for next year when we might, or might not, be able to generate enough money. Oh, and by the way, no executives in California will be paid 7 or 8 figure bonuses. There are already enough 6 figure State employees and retirees as it is.

Let’s see, last week Pres. Obama suggested that we cut $17 billion from the Federal budget. He was criticized because that’s only about ½ of 1%. So $41 billion would be what—about 1 ¼%? That ain’t bad for the world’s 5th largest economy with 1/8th of the nation’s population. Of course, we won’t tell Pres. Obama that California’s budget is 37% in the red; that might tend to tick him off just a bit.

And who knows, maybe the President will put some things in motion to bail us out just like AIG or GM. Although he may say that, like GM, the first thing is that top management has to go and a re-structuring plan has to be presented within 6 weeks or California will have to go the route of Vallejo and declare bankruptcy.

That being the case, I was wondering who would come on board as new CEO/Governor. Robert Nardelli is going to be available in a couple of months when Fiat finishes its acquisition of Chrysler. Rob Blagojevich is looking for work, has run a large state and knows how to solicit funds. I don’t think either of those would do. How about Clint Eastwood? Also an actor, but he was mayor of Carmel. And he would call the situation what it is (to use the edited version)—a clusterflub.

Too big to fail? We’ve already failed. Can it be fixed? Not by continuing to put a bandaid on a hemorrhage. But nobody’s going to bail out California but Californians. Let’s start by putting the politicians on notice that we expect them to do it right—for a change.

Now, I’ve been trying to be sarcastic in an Art Buchwald kind of way (I knew I couldn’t get to Dave Barry). Governing California is like trying to herd cats. But we’ve done it to ourselves. So maybe sarcasm won’t work but it definitely helps to keep you sane

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