California Dreamin’, Then and Now

California During the Great Depression
California During the Great Depression

Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect, 2001:

Indeed, with its Democratic governor, U.S. senators, state legislature, and congressional delegation, California is the only one of the nation’s 10 largest states that is uniformly under Democratic control.  California is more than just the Democrats’ electoral anchor, however. Increasingly, a number of its cities are coming to look like Justice Louis Brandeis’s “laboratories of democracy”–enacting minimum wage, health care, and worker-rights ordinances that would normally be the responsibility of the federal government (if only the feds could be interested in the conditions of working-class life). In city after city, a civic left has emerged in California, with the state’s new-model labor movement–the most dynamic in the country–at its core.    .     . California has responded to the economic travails and political opportunities that have come with its immigrant workers by getting out in front of much of the nation, by creating a model of social equity, of worker and public power, at a time of capital supremacy. A full continent off-Broadway, the next New Deal is in tryouts [emph added].


Washington Post, 20 May 2009:

California voters rejected a handful of ballot measures Tuesday meant to plug less than half of the state’s $21 billion budget hole, and state leaders today are preparing major program cuts to deal with the growing crisis. Voters resoundingly snubbed five of the six ballot measures — a combination of tax increases, borrowing and earmarks for education — in Tuesday’s special election, with most of them receiving more than a 65 percent “no” vote. The only measure approved was one that prevents legislators, including the governor, from receiving pay raises in years when the state is running a deficit.  .  .The timing couldn’t be worse for the Golden State, which regularly takes out short-term loans this time of year to pay its bills. California will be hard pressed to secure a sizeable loan, given its shaky credit rating and the tight lending policies at banks following the national economic crisis.


So how’s that tryout going,  Mr. Meyerson? It might be time to cut California from the team.  .  .


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