New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has hitched his boat to the failing Titanic that is the state of California. Declaring the state in a state of “comeback,” Krugman wrote this week, “reports of the state’s demise proved premature. Unemployment in California remains high, but it’s coming down – and there’s a projected budget surplus, in part because the implosion of the state’s Republican Party finally gave Democrats a big enough political advantage to push through some desperately needed tax increases.”
But what’s the state of California really like? It has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. It is hundreds of billions of dollars in the red. It has the highest tax burden in the country. California is experiencing a net population decline among children for the first time in its history. Cities like Stockton (dominated by Democrats), Compton (dominated by Democrats), and San Bernardino (dominated by Democrats) are going bankrupt.
The idea that a tax increase is going to fix things is a figment of Krugman’s imagination. Governor Jerry Brown, the supposed savior of the state, put into place the vast majority of the collective bargaining laws in the state’s public sector during the 1970s and early 1980s, driving California’s debt through the roof. Now he’s cutting around the edges while refusing to do anything about the fact that the tax cash he’s raising will go toward those pensions. He’s been using tricks to balance his budget. And the Democrats in the legislature are now pushing for more spending, faster. They’re about to initiate a bullet train from nowhere to nowhere and costing massive federal dollars.
This is the state Paul Krugman sees as a model. Maybe he’s also doing the books for the failing Times.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).