Sunday, October 29, 2006

Angelides' Forsight

I had a long post on the CA budget and California's long-term prospects under our borrow-and-spend governor. Of course blogger problems ended up nixing that. (See California Budget Projects discussion for some info.)

But since Schwarzenegger seems to have the same governing philosophy as Bush, I figured the GAO chief's warnings applied equally to the state and national government:
If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46 trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total net worth of every person in America — Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and those Google guys included.
As they point out, politicians are all avoiding the issue.
What they don't talk about is a dirty little secret everyone in Washington knows, or at least should. The vast majority of economists and budget analysts agree: The ship of state is on a disastrous course, and will founder on the reefs of economic disaster if nothing is done to correct it.

There's a good reason politicians don't like to talk about the nation's long-term fiscal prospects. The subject is short on political theatrics and long on complicated economics, scary graphs and very big numbers. It reveals serious problems and offers no easy solutions. Anybody who wanted to deal with it seriously would have to talk about raising taxes and cutting benefits, nasty nostrums that might doom any candidate who prescribed them.
This is what irked me most about Steve Westly, whom I believed knew better. Right now our government is being run by older people who are not going to have to deal with the reprecussions of this dangerous governing philosophy. As young people, we need to seriously think about our future and how actions--or non actions--today will greatly impact us in the future.

Schwarzenegger got lucky in that CA is getting higher than expected revenues, but these revenues will do little, if anything, to the long term structural deficits the state faces. Angelides, though he probably won't win, was the only candidate with the forsight and the courage to attemp to fix California's real problems. For me, not only is my vote for Angelides about the best candidate for California right now, it's also a vote for my future. And Angelides is the only one who seems to care. In fifteen to twenty years, Californians--whether they want to or not--will have to deal with the effects of Schwarzenegger's borrow and spend philosophy--and our generation is going to be the ones who pay the biggest price.

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