Notice: Undefined variable: html in _bfm_debates_streaming_debate_ticker_block() (line 884 of /var/www/vhosts/www.intelligencesquaredus.org/www/sites/all/modules/custom/bfm_debates/inc/bfm_debates.blocks.inc).
California tried. And then it failed. Uniquely charged by its constitution to guarantee the “happiness” of its residents – the state empowered its people to demand by referendum whatever they wanted to spend money on – from better schools to bigger prisons and to refuse by referendum to pay the bills. A legislature paralyzed by the absence of a workable middle – and a requirement for a 2/3 vote to impose taxes – combined finally to dig the state into a possibly inescapable hole. Having now earned the lowest bond rating of any of the 50 states, the rates it pays to borrow keep getting higher. Yet borrowing seems to be all California can do to get through from day to day. That is what is known as The Road to Bankruptcy. “Happiness” thus engineered is doomed to collapse. The question is whether California is a special case–with a uniquely dysfunctional political culture–or a bellwether of failure soon to come to other high-spending states near you.
For the motion
Writer, The Economist
has been writing for the Economist since 1997 and currently covers California and the western states from Los Angeles. In previous assignments, he... Read More
Member, Santa Monica City Council
Was elected to the Santa Monica City Council by the highest percentage of voters in that citys 120-year history in 2004. Re-elected in 2008, he... Read More
Editor-in-Chief, Founder, and CEO of TheWrap.com
Is editor in chief, founder, and CEO of TheWrap.com, a primary news source focused on the business of entertainment and media. She is an award-winning... Read More
Against the motion
37th Governor of California
Joseph "Gray" Davis was overwhelmingly elected the 37th governor of California in 1998, winning 58% of the vote. As Governor, he made education a... Read More
Former Special Advisor, White House Council for Environmental Quality
Worked from March to September 2009 as the special advisor for green jobs at the White House Council for Environmental Quality, where he developed... Read More
Senior Political Analyst, MSNBC
Is a senior political analyst for MSNBC and an Emmy-winning producer and writer of NBCs The West Wing. From 1993 through 1995, ODonnell was the... Read More