How Does He Do That ?

(Whoops ! Forgot to hit the "publish" button yesterday.)

Be sure to catch Krugman’s column today. I’ve been wanting to comment on the crisis in California but I haven’t been able to come up with a coherent blog about it. Krugman makes it look easy. (It isn’t.)

A few of my right-wing friends (aviation and Georgia are full of them) have been cheering the fact that California can’t raise its taxes to meet its budget shortfall. They see it as a victory. I see it as a disaster.

”For California, where the Republicans began their transformation from the party of Eisenhower to the party of Reagan, is also the place where they began their next transformation, into the party of Rush Limbaugh. As the political tide has turned against California Republicans, the party’s remaining members have become ever more extreme, ever less interested in the actual business of governing. “

California was (and may still be) the fifth largest economy in the world. It also has the reputation of setting trends for America. God help us indeed.

Mr. Krugman does a marvelous job of weaving the historical context into his editorial from today. I’d like to add some very recent history to it. Remember not too long ago when I was saying that 10 percent unemployment seemed to represent some kind of tipping point to economists ? Here and here and here ? I just want to make sure you understand the significance when you read this line from Mr. Krugman’s column.

”California’s unemployment rate, at 11 percent, is the fifth-highest in the nation. And the state’s revenues have suffered accordingly. “

Some subtleties may escape you if you don’t have the time to read as much as a retired guy does. Don’t let this one. (Speaking of which, it’s hard to see -- Rhode Island is above 10% too.) Eight States have passed that tipping point.

I think Mr. Krugman is a brilliant writer but there is only so much you can put in a column. Still, I’m subtracting 10 points from today’s column for his use of ”Sui generis“. Read it anyway.

Don Brown
May 25, 2009


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