How California (Might Have) Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Big, Unbalanced Budget

COVID Is Helping the State Get Over Its Misguided Obsession With Staying in the Black at the Expense of Solving Its Costly Problems

In the midst of California’s pandemic catastrophe, we may be seeing, at long last, the demise of the dominant mode of thinking of our state’s leaders: “budgetism.”

Budgetism is the false and conventional wisdom—promoted relentlessly by our state’s media and by elected officials of both parties—that the real measure of California’s success is the condition of the state budget.

For decades, if the budget was balanced or in surplus, California was supposedly on the move, a superpower, or even a national model of success. If the budget was in deficit, California …

To Rein in California’s Cops, Reclaim City Hall | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

To Rein in California’s Cops, Reclaim City Hall

Escalating Salaries, Benefits, and Pensions for Police Are Crowding Out Other Services Our State Badly Needs

When you hear cops reporting widespread looting in California, you should believe them. Because they are true experts. Indeed, for many decades, the most successful looters in our state have …

California’s Real Budgetary Sin—We Spend Too Little, Not Too Much

Our State's Fear of Deficits Leads to Bad Management and Unforeseen Costs

We have reached the high holy days of California’s budget season, as our governor and legislative leaders decide which programs will gain new life, and which will be sacrificed. And …

The Unintended Consequences of Extending Proposition 30

The Initiative That Helped Solve California's Budget Crisis Could Now Create a New One

In 2012 voters passed Proposition 30—an initiative to raise taxes and take state government finances out of crisis mode. However, the new taxes, primarily falling on the top income earners …