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 …

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 …

Bad Math Can’t Close the U.S. Tr­­­ade Deficit

Why the Trump Administration’s Strategy Is Self-Defeating

Every American knows that if you want to spend more than you earn, you either must liquidate some of your assets or you must borrow. This is as true of …