Tuesday, June 29, 2010

California on 'verge of system failure’

The states are looking for a bailout from the Federal Government to rescue them from the "out of control" spending their representatives have engaged in.  Since it is obvious that the Federal "non-budget" is deeply in the red, where do you suppose the money will come from?  

The only solution, short of cutting spending, which is anathema to the liberal Democrats, is to borrow, print and tax.  Borrowing, at the rate we are currently, runs the risk of our lenders drying up and interest rates skyrocketing.  Printing money runs the risk of hyper-inflation, the silent tax.  You all know the job-killing effects of taxes.  Look for the VAT soon.

Arnella Sims has seen a lot in her 34 years as a Los Angeles County court reporter, but nothing like this.

Case files piling up by the thousands, phones ringing off the hook, forced midweek courthouse closings and occasional brawls as frustrated citizens queue for hours to pay parking fines.

“People think we’re becoming a Third World country,” said Ms. Sims, 55. “They don’t understand.”

It’s a story that’s being repeated all across California – and throughout the United States – as cash-strapped state and local governments grapple with collapsed tax revenues and swelling budget gaps. Mass layoffs, slashed health and welfare services, closed parks, crumbling superhighways and ever-larger public school class sizes are all part of the new normal.

California’s fiscal hole is now so large that the state would have to liberate 168,000 prison inmates and permanently shutter 240 university and community college campuses to balance its budget in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Think of California as Greece on the Pacific: bankrupt and desperately needing a bailout.

“We have to get some federal money,” argued Ms. Ross of the California Budget Project. “The impact [of the Schwarzenegger budget] would be enough to slow down the U.S. economy. It would be bad for the U.S. and, arguably, bad for the world to do the shock therapy approach.”

And California isn’t alone in angling for a bailout. U.S. states are facing shortfalls totalling nearly $300-billion in 2010 and 2011; they also must wrestle with hundreds of billions more in unfunded pension obligations to their workers. “There are a few Greek crises brewing among the United States of America,” said economist Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research Inc.

The task is made all the more difficult because California and virtually all other states are barred by legislation from running operating deficits, forcing them to balance their budgets annually by slashing spending, raising taxes or both. Typically, states can only borrow short-term funds, or for capital projects.

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who advised U.S. President Barack Obama during his White House run, suggested recently that a Washington bailout of California and other troubled states is inevitable. How, he wondered, can Washington deny California after saying yes to General Motors, AIG and dozens of banks.

“I don’t know how you would tell a state you’re going to stiff-arm them with all the bailouts of corporations,” Mr. Buffett said.
California on 'verge of system failure’

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