Just about everybody I know, especially Republicans, is planning an exit strategy from California. A Los Angeles County firefighter I met at a party said all those guys, too, are planning to leave, despite their high salaries and pensions. Many grousers no doubt will stay, in particular those whose children remain. But the calamities hitting this state just keep reminding the inmates it’s time to head for the prison gates while they are still open.
Last November’s ballot-box wipeout of California Republicans was followed by one of the worst fires in the state’s history, which burned down an entire city, inaptly named Paradise. Then-Governor Jerry Brown, finally exiting after 16 years in office spread over five decades, vaguely blamed the fires on “climate change” rather than addressing his own refusal to push such reasonable measures as clearing brush and burying power lines, which can snap in high winds, in fire-prone areas.
Although he left the Golden State boasting of a $21.5 billion surplus, the reality is the state suffers an estimated $1 trillion in unfunded state and local liabilities for the pensions and medical insurance of government employees. The new governor, Gavin Newsom, is promising to remain “frugal,” but even a blip downward in the national economy will send the budget careening into a massive deficit.
The new state budget he signed for fiscal year 2019-20,...