Is California Just Too Far Gone?

Is California even capable of being saved?

Currently, the state is facing a budget shortfall of $20 billion, equal to the Gross Domestic Product of oil-rich Bahrain.  Think about that for a moment.  Then, consider that according to a 2007 study by Philip Romero–a former RAND Corporation research economist, top economic adviser to former California Gov. Pete Wilson, and later the Dean of the University of Oregon School of Business–the gap between state services enjoyed by and tax revenue from illegal immigrants is between $10 and $38 billion.

Even on the conservative side, a 2004 study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform based on an analysis of data from the 2000 Census revealed that Californians were footing the bill for illegal immigrants at a total of $10.5 billion per year, or roughly $1,200 per non-illegal household in the state.  From FAIR:

The more than $10.1 billion in costs incurred by California taxpayers is composed of outlays in the following areas:

  • Education. Based on estimates of the illegal immigrant population in California and documented costs of K-12 schooling, Californians spend approximately $7.7 billion annually on education for illegal immigrant children and for their U.S.-born siblings. Nearly 15 percent of the K-12 public school students in California are children of illegal aliens.
  • Health care. Uncompensated medical outlays for health care provided to the state’s illegal alien population amount to about $1.4 billion a year.
  • Incarceration. The cost of incarcerating illegal aliens in California’s prisons and jails amounts to about $1.4 billion a year (not including related law enforcement and judicial expenditures or the monetary costs of the crimes that led to their incarceration).

And that was in 2004.  Things are getting worse.  Quickly.  Consider that the same study conducted by Philip Romero in 2007 was conducted a little more than a decade before under Gov. Wilson — at that time, the shortfall between state services enjoyed by illegals and tax revenue received from illegals was a mere $3.6 billion.

But if you ask Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, illegal immigrants “provide a great deal to the economic might” of California.

“There are a lot of benefits to [illegal] immigration,” he told CNS News in May. “More benefits than detriments, if you will.”

Actually, Mr. Mayor, at last count it seems as though Californians are looking at between $10 and $38 billion in detriments.

And, even better, here’s good ole’ Governor Moonbeam, promising that once he has the budget “solved”–good luck with that–one of the very first bills he will sign will ensure that illegal immigrants will be guaranteed college admission in California.

We have enough wealth to continue to have a great university and get every kid in this school that can qualify. And when I say ‘every young man and young woman,’ I mean everyone — whether they’re documented or not. If they went to school, they ought to be here.

And that will be one of the first bills I sign. Of course, I’m not going to sign any bills until we get the budget solved, and that may take me a couple of months.

Certainly, the state couldn’t force illegal immigrants to pay for schooling … why start now? Unfortunately, when it comes to the three-prong common sense approach to stemming the tide of illegal immigration–build a fence, shut down the magnets, enforce the laws currently on the books–California gets a failing grade for all three.  Any fencing along the southern border is there because of the hard work of folks like Duncan Hunter, and yet California still has upwards of four million (five? six?) inhabitants who have broken the law just by stepping foot into the state in the first place.

Californians are going to wake up and smell the stupidity, right?  They can actually feel the downward spiral by now, can’t they?

See for yourself.  If you believe Reuters or Survey USA, Brown is actually leading Meg Whitman by four points only a fortnight away from the election.  If you believe Scott Rasmussen, Brown is leading by six.

It’s inexplicable.  It’s like Stockholm Syndrome.  It’s like the battered wife who just keeps coming back for more, absolutely positive that her abusive husband will change.  And in those cases, depending upon which Lifetime movie you’re watching, one of two things will inevitably occur:  either the battered wife decides that the shiner she’s covering up with foundation will be the last and she introduces her scumbag husband to a sharp object of some sort, or she ends up dead in a bathtub at the hands of a psychotic spouse who just couldn’t stop at a broken orbital this time.

California has a choice.  The state either elects a woman who has spent her entire life growing business and creating jobs, or it elects a washed-up, embittered has-been whose ideas for economic recovery is limited to strengthening a sector of the economy responsible for only three percent of the jobs in the Golden State.  With that economic picture, it’s either kill or be killed.  It’s either once again become a beacon of hope and shining example of prosperity for the United States of America, or start a chain reaction that could bring the entire nation to its knees.

Is California capable of being saved?  We’ll know on the morning of November 3.



  1. Monica says:

    Seems any time people bring up the governor’s race out here, they just want to complain about how much Whitman has spent of her own money. Frankly, I don’t understand why that’s offensive. It’s like they don’t trust her *because* she’s rich–which may explain why they don’t get leaders who know how to be economically prosperous.

    It’s all very disheartening. I’m starting to look for jobs out-of-state, no joke.

  2. Jeff Schreiber says:

    If anything, Monica, it means that she has the capacity to take office without being beholden to special interests everywhere.

    P.S. I received your e-mail. If you don’t see it taken care of soon, e-mail me again.

  3. graypanther says:

    Jeff, you remind me of George Will’s characterization of California as “irredeemably blue.” Actually, the scariest part is the old saw that “if you want to see America in 10 years, look at California now.”

    The most politically practical thing for California to do, probably, is secede. It was a Republic before, it can be a Republic again and still use its same state flag. It could (and in effect would) have a completely open border with Mexico as it did in the 1840′s, exports to the US would keep it barely solvent, and Washington wouldn’t have to bother with it.

  4. L. Banks says:

    Perhaps California is not worried about failing because they believe Barrack and Congress will help them out at the expense of the rest of the country. I guess when enough working taxpayers have left California, things might change. They are certainly not prepared for anything out there. Life always has cycles from posperity to failure with transitional periods in between. Californians live on the edge all the time because of the faults and earthquakes. I guess living on the edge financially is not so severe to them. I fear this time they are too far gone financially and will fall into the ocean of non-recovery.

  5. Boston Blackie says:

    I agree, I would rather see these politicians spend their own money than matching funds from us. They earned it, do what you want with it. It also shows that the person has confidence that they don’t need it to survive, they have enough or they will make more. Funny how it is always business people who do this not the ones with the trust funds. I can’t imagine why anyone in the Golden State would give this moonbat another shot at ANY office including dog catcher. I love how he says it will take “a couple of months” to get the budget solved. Does he think Uncle Sugar will bail him out!?!

  6. Randy Wills says:

    No, California cannot be “saved” simply because the majority of the voting public in that State does not want it to be “saved”. To be “saved” would mean a drastic cut in the benefits received by, and an increase in personal accountability of, that majority, which is growing daily as a result of the influence of the unions, young Progressives, and Hispanics. That “Governor Moonbeam” is currently leading in the polls proves my pessimistic point. It’s not that he’s new to the California political scene and can argue fresh and redeeming policies. He’s just an old political hack and a gauranteed continuation of the failed policies of the past.

    If you want to see California by mid-century, just look south to Mexico today. It really won’t make that much difference, other than in timing, who is elected governor next month.


  7. graypanther says:

    I can’t imagine why anyone in the Golden State would give this moonbat another shot at ANY office including dog catcher.

    Because it’s him or it’s Whitman, and only about 30% of California’s electorate trusts Whitman to do anything more nuanced than sell straight out to the corporations. Yes, Whitman was the top-level manager of eBay, but what too few people are openly saying is that she was an absolutely terrible top-level manager – just as was Fiorina. Whitman’s problem with credibility isn’t the money she spent, it’s her record. very few Silicon Valley CEOs – Whitman’s nominal peers – are supporting her for Governor, because they know she wouldn’t be effective in the office.

  8. graypanther says:

    I guess when enough working taxpayers have left California, things might change.

    They might, if that were true, but you’ll have a hard time finding the numbers to back up your contention. The number of employed taxpayers over 21 in California is projected to grow at between 1.6% and 1.7% in every year through 2014 at least. California’s government is demonstrably broken; California’s economy is manifestly not.

  9. Gail B. says:

    Sounds like somebody has a bad habit, and someone from the south to feed it. Why else would anyone be so tollerant of southern illegals?

    I have scratched my head over the same thing, Monica and Boston Gal. Someone who would spend THAT KIND OF PERSONAL MONEY (as we say over in the capitalized South) to try to put California on solid ground before it slides into the Pacific HAS to have the welfare of Californian citizens at the top of the list! Brown certainly doesn’t seem to care about them!

  10. Randy Wills says:

    “graypanther @ 3:34″:

    So are you saying that the knocks on Whitman make “Moonbeam” a better choice? Considering his record, that seems rather strange to me.


  11. Anonymous says:

    If I had Whitman’s money, I’d WD40 the San Andreas.

  12. whats_up says:

    @ Randy,

    It might be the devil you know vs the devil you dont. As was pointed out Whitman was a mediocore to poor CEO for Ebay. Brown is a known commodity to the California voters, Whitman is not.

  13. graypanther says:

    Randy, I’m seeing two things. First is that, although some people have respect for Whitman for campaigning on her own dime, I personally have grave doubts about any candidate for statewide office who can’t raise substantial amounts of campaign cash from a broad spectrum of donors. Second, although in rural areas and congressional races there’s plenty of enthusiasm for Republicans, I think there’s more enthusiasm overall for Brown than for Whitman. There’s also an abundance of likely voters who aren’t fired up about either candidate, and the question is whether they’ll vote this time. (As yet another complication, consider that probably 40 to 50% of Californians have already voted by mail – and that those votes, as a best guess, have been overwhelmingly for Brown.)

  14. Randy Wills says:

    To “what’s-up” and “graypanther”:

    You folks always make good, constructive, comments, and I really appreciate that. I get tired of snideness – sometimes my own – and want more than anything to see a resurgence of respectful “truth-talk”.

    In my opinion, the situation is dire, both in California and the U.S. as a whole, and I see nothing that will help to turn it around other than a commitment to eschew political/ideological “spin” so that we can work our way back to some point of agreement and then start to rebuild this nation which is presently on the verge of splintering apart.

    A good place to start would be a President who stayed off the campaign trail during the mid-term elections. Raw partisanship comming from the Office of the President is unseemly and destructive to our societal fabric. Surely, he’s got better things to do, such as making sure that every Amercan serviceman’s life lost in Afghanistan is for a long-term beneficial purpose rather that just running out the clock until next July.

    As for Meg Whitman, I don’t know if she would be effective as governor (I was no fan of Carly at HP, but I know very little about Meg’s professional career), but I do know that Jerry Brown won’t be, so I’d go with the possibility that Meg might do better. I don’t see how she could do worse.


  15. Anonymous says:

    JEFF! GOOD to see you back, you didn’t read AR’s commentary on illegals whilst you were gone did you? (heh heh)

    California’s gubernatorial race is nothing more than Obama vs. McCain part duex.

    IF Whitman looses, the only people to blame are the naive who thought to put her up as a candidate in the first place. Seriously? Come on people! Obviously, a look at the polls, one can not believe this is/was the best defense/offense against Brown.

    Although I can’t find the link, I can’t be the only one who read the news about the research done on the effectiveness, or rather ineffectiveness, of successful business leaders in elected positions.

  16. Dean says:

    The electors in California will get whatever they deserve by electing one of the two candidates for governor – I care not which it will be. If the state goes bankrupt, I wouldn’t give it a dime to keep it afloat – and would raise hell against any attempt by the feds to keep it afloat with tax money from the rest of the US. It has flaunted its radical liberalism for way to many years and should now have to pay for its condition with ONLY its own money, blood, sweat, and tears.

  17. Really? says:

    2:29 said “Although I can’t find the link, I can’t be the only one who read the news about the research done on the effectiveness, or rather ineffectiveness, of successful business leaders in elected positions.”

    Looks like community organizing is even less qualifying.

  18. Anonymous says:

    California, home to my sister and niece, who upon receiving a forwarded email from Dad regarding Obama, wrote Dad back, “We elected Obama, and will do so again in 2 years”. Here’s 50 bucks for some WD40, 8:03.

  19. graypanther says:

    well, what do we think now? Brown won, Boxer kept her seat, the proposition to postpone implementation of climate change regulation lost, and a budget can now be passed by a simple majority rather than a two-thirds majority. Briefly, California went in a direction COMPLETELY opposite to the rest of the country; and may I just say I knew it would. Brown has already said (last night) that he wants one-third of the state’s energy to be provided by renewable sources beginning in 2040.

    I think this will cost the Republicans some of their infatuation with self-funded campaigns by populist billionaires. But the public fixation on Whitman’s spending $141 million on her campaign shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Brown spent $57 million on his, which hardly made it cheap – and, of that amount, $25 million was raised and contributed by unions.

  20. Randy Wills says:

    “graypanther” @ 2:08:

    I don’t know to whom your rhetorical question is addressed, but I agree with you; Californians do not want to be saved from themselves.

    That having been said, I think that Whitman might have had a chance had it not been for that set-up by Gloria Aldred. I don’t know who paid her, but, like the Mark Hurd (ex-CEO of HP) deal, it was a blatant attempt to paint a high net-worth person as a scoundrel at a critical time in order to exact a lucrative payday. In Whitman’s case, it cost her the Hispanic vote and quite possibly, the election.

    In Carly Fiorina’s case, she was castigated for “shipping jobs off-shore”. I addressed the fallicy of that tag in my earlier article on job creation, but it makes good political fodder for those who only believe what they want to believe rather than face reality.


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