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.
Bob Barr0 Items
- The 21st Century Liberties Chair for Freedom and Privacy at the American Conservative Union, and Board Member of the National Rifle Association
Jeffrey Rosen0 Items
- Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School and the Legal Affairs Editor of the New Republic
Nadine Strossen4 Items
More from Nadine Strossen
- Fmr President, ACLU & Professor, New York Law School