America Is Back? What About California, Mr. President?

By John W. Lillpop

During President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union message in January, he declared in part:

"From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies; to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back," he said.”

Obama’s SOTU assertion came as a huge surprise to tens of millions of Americans whom are unemployed or underemployed, face home foreclosure or bankruptcy, or whom are otherwise suffering from the economic malaise which has killed so many hopes and dreams, and given Obama’s refusal to take responsible action with respect to spending and the federal deficit, threatens to wreak even greater havoc on the dreams and aspirations of future generations of Americans.

The outlandish absurdity of Obama’s “America Is Back” silly attempt at self-congratulation has been exposed time and again by economic reports which indicate that the U.S. economy is hardly growing at all, certainly not enough to create the number of new jobs needed to reduce unemployment to acceptable levels.

Then there is this: 1 in 2 new college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Where is the rationale for concluding that “America is Back,” given those data, Mr. President?

Even more dispiriting is the latest news from California, where the good (but none too bright!) people of that State entrusted their economic lives to the likes of Jerry Brown and assorted liberals who almost universally ridicule the idea that governments should “live within their means” when it comes to spending taxpayer money.

As reported in the media, California Jerry Brown dropped a bombshell on California voters by announcing that the budget shortfall of $9.2 billion reported four months ago is now $16 billion.

Brown's bomshell prompts the obvious inquiry, IF “America is back,” as alleged by President Obama, What about California?”

The report concerning Brown's announcement follows, in part:

SACRAMENTO -- California's projected budget deficit has ballooned to $16 billion, much larger than predicted just four months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday as he warned of draconian cuts to schools and public safety if voters don't approve his November tax-hike measure.

The governor said the shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January in part because tax collections are sluggish and the economy hasn't recovered as quickly as expected. The deficit also has soared because lawsuits and federal requirements have blocked billions of dollars in state cuts to social programs, Brown said.

"This means we will have to go much farther and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year," Brown said in an online video. "But we can't fill this hole with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools. That's why I'm bypassing the gridlock and asking you, the people of California, to approve a plan that avoids cuts to schools and public safety."

Brown on Saturday did not release details of the newly calculated deficit through mid-2013, but he is set to lay out a revised spending plan Monday. The new blueprint for the fiscal year that starts July 1 hinges in large part on voters approving higher taxes in the fall. Under Brown's tax measure, California would temporarily raise the state's sales tax by a quarter-cent and increase the income tax on people who make $250,000 or more.

The bad news announced by Brown puts intense pressure on Democratic leaders, who in January had vowed to fight proposed cuts in Brown's $92.5 billion budget because they believe they would rip apart an already fragile safety net.

"We will deal with it," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Saturday. "
Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he wasn't surprised by the deficit spike given that state tax revenues have fallen $3.5 billion below projections in the current year. He and other Democrats, who control the Legislature, have resisted Brown's proposed cuts so far this year. And Republican lawmakers have criticized the majority party for building in overly optimistic tax revenues.

"Today's news underscores how we must rein in spending and let our economy grow by leaving overburdened taxpayers alone," Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway said in a statement.

Brown proposed $4.2 billion in cuts in January, including $1.4 billion to the state's welfare-to-work program and state-subsidized child care.

Brown turned in 1.5 million signatures for his ballot measure Thursday, more than enough to put it before voters. If approved, the new taxes would generate about $7 billion annually.
Democrats have already signaled they will reject Brown's proposal to close 70 state parks July 1, promising to find the relatively paltry sum of $21 million in savings elsewhere in the budget to do so. And they are likely to resist major additional cuts to CalWORKs, the state's welfare-to-work program, which has already withstood billions of dollars in reductions.

With a solid majority in both houses, Democrats can pass a budget easily, which has robbed Republicans of the power they once had to help shape the budget. But, as they found out last year when Brown vetoed their first budget, Democrats have to craft a plan that meets the governor's approval.

Steinberg said Democrats won't put themselves in a similar position this time because they share an interest in producing a balanced, on-time budget. The constitutional deadline for budgets is June 15, though legislators consider June 30, the end of the fiscal year, to be just as viable.

"We want to head into November having done our job together with the least amount of fuss and the least amount of fighting," Steinberg said of the fall election."
The state budget is $16 billion out of balance and Steinberg in concerned about minimizing the amount of fuss and fighting?

Good grief, is there not one Democrat in all of the nation who truly understands that overspending and fiscal irresponsibility can only lead California and America to a financial graveyard, like that now plaguing Greece?