“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Is California getting a raw deal?

OK, it's clear that California is a financial basket case. It's also true that, with a disfunctional legislature pandering to a bunch of vested interests, much of the pain is self-inflicted. That said, everyone should take a look at this graphic:

This is the amount of dollars received from the Federal Government for each tax dollar sent Washington D.C.'s way from 1981 through 2005. The source of the data is The Tax Foundation. Does anyone notice a trend here?

I totalled the defict for those years (and from all I've seen it's as bad or worse since 2005) and the cumulative deficit (including the early years when it was a surplus) is $489B (that's right, half a trillion dollars). Now, the incoming governor (meet the new boss, same as the old boss - will we get fooled again?) Jerry Brown met with the legislature to discuss how to handle the estimated $26B deficit CA is currently running.

The Tax Foundation figures are disputed, particularly with respect to their treatment of deficit spending. That said, recovery of 10% of the Tax Foundation's calculated deficit would go a long way toward curing California's budget ills. Unfortunately, even if the Feds said "OK, you're right, here's $48.9B" the ills that got us here would remain.

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