California reaches a tentative budget deal

I don’t have a lot to add to this, but I do have a few things:

After resolving their major education dispute Friday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders hope to finalize a budget deal today that closes California‘s $26 billion deficit with spending cuts, accounting shifts and revenues from local governments.

State leaders have agreed on a general budget framework and gave attorneys and budget aides time Saturday to draft a bill, sources close to negotiations said.

The first thing is essentially this, so I’ll link and quote:

This is the way California ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper. With a failure of leadership so complete, so total, as to leave the state bereft of hope for its future.

What Calitics is getting at, I think, is the dismantling of the so-called welfare state in California.  The state is cutting its support for human beings so harshly that people are going to die as a result.

Not only that, but since California’s something like the seventh-largest economy in the world, this is far more significant than just about any other state doing this.

Pair that with the idea that as goes California, so goes the nation, and it would seem like we’re in for rough times.  However, there is a decent counterargument to be made:  Congress, unlike California’s State Assembly, doesn’t require a 2/3 majority to pass tax increases, it doesn’t have the same set of spending limitations, and, well, Barack Obama is not Arnold Schwarzenegger.

That last bit is pretty important, I think, and while I don’t want to discount the role that California’s messed-up state government has played in all this, I think the difference between Obama and Schwarzenegger is a relatively strong counter.

But I can’t shake the feeling that this event is also structural – the result, ultimately, of globalization, increasing resource competition and modern American politics colliding.  And that means if the makeup of the White House and Congress change, we could easily see the same thing on the national scale (Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, anyone?).

As much as it would be interesting from a political science perspective – people have been asking what comes after the so-called welfare state for some time now – it would be a disaster from the perspective of human health and human suffering if this is what came after.

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