Monday, April 19, 2010

More Required Reading

So when people ask me what I think about California, I usually have an ambivalent response about how it's the best place on Earth but also the worst place on Earth. It's sometimes difficult to articulate why that is, but it comes down to a few things: horrible government and down right selfishness. Unfortunately, those two go hand-in-hand and their synthesis is greater than the sum of their parts. I've linked two stories. One brief one about a veteran in San Diego (my hometown) who is being booted off his land because he didn't clear his property (putting his neighbors at risk). You can decide who's right and who's wrong in that case. The second is a longer analysis of public employees unions, which basically run the state. This paragraph sums up why all Americans should be concerned about this:

How public employees became members of the elite class in a declining California offers a cautionary tale to the rest of the country, where the same process is happening in slower motion. The story starts half a century ago, when California public workers won bargaining rights and quickly learned how to elect their own bosses—that is, sympathetic politicians who would grant them outsize pay and benefits in exchange for their support. Over time, the unions have turned the state’s politics completely in their favor. The result: unaffordable benefits for civil servants; fiscal chaos in Sacramento and in cities and towns across the state; and angry taxpayers finally confronting the unionized masters of California’s unsustainable government.