Diary

You can ignore Greece. Just watch the Left Coast.

So we’ve been hearing about the fiscal problems in Greece lately and how they are some kind of progenitor to what the US will look like in a couple of decades. Actually, you don’t have to look that far. And you won’t have to learn a completely foreign language. Dude.

From the San Jose Mercury News

SACRAMENTO — With even well-managed counties, cities and schools finding themselves in the same budget hole that has swallowed state government, California now confronts a financial crisis that may be unrivaled — though it is also maddeningly difficult to quantify.

In fact, the problem is so expansive that several experts contacted by the Mercury News wouldn’t even hazard a guess. So just how broke is California?

A quick, unscientific look around the Golden State suggests that California’s collective deficit may be double the state government’s $20 billion budget gap. San Francisco must trim $522 million from its budget. San Jose’s upcoming balance sheet is $116.2 million in the red. The Los Angeles Unified School District is staring at a $640 million shortfall. Even tiny Dorris, a few miles from the Oregon border (and home to the tallest flagpole this side of the Mississippi!) is contemplating cuts.
[…]
“For any city in this state, there’s no fiscal problem that’s too big for Sacramento to make even worse,” San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo said.

It’s an interesting article and bears reading, but it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. It only addresses current budgets for counties, cities and towns. It ignores the upcoming fiscal bomb in the retirement systems for those same counties, cities and towns. That fiscal bomb would be retirements of police and firefighters who have sweetheart contracts with fantastic – but underfunded – retirement packages.

You ain’t seen nuttin yet.

Oh, and are Californians ready to step up and face the music?

“We cannot survive without raising taxes,” Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone said. “We’re just going to sit and wallow in deficits until somebody steps up.”

And of course, Larry’s a Democrat…