UCLA’s Dan Mitchell Writes About California’s Budget

Here is Dan’s Research Brief.  Here is the lead; “Trying to summarize the fiscal difficulties of California in a short essay is a Mission Impossible since what has gone wrong is inherently a complicated tale.”

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

4 thoughts on “UCLA’s Dan Mitchell Writes About California’s Budget”

  1. To the extent I understood them, I like the suggestions on clarifying our accounting vocabulary *very* much. Anything that can be done to make our budget situation clearer would be helpful. It really should be taught in high school. And if we can’t get high school students to understand it, then we are too complex and need to simplify. And I do think it makes the problems seem more manageable.

    The idea of making the governor’s budget the rule if the Leg can’t pass anything better is very interesting too. I need to think about it more.

    But, I think the 2/3rds super-majority thing is what kills us. It is just too tempting for the Republicans to try to jack the rest of us. As we see, very few of them can resist. We’ve already cut into muscle (services poor people desperately need, and our schools) and what do we get from them? Nothing, pretty much.

    Which brings me to another Brown proposal not discussed here. He wants to give local governments more power and I think he’s onto something. If the red county folk want to go back to dirt roads and septic tanks, I think they should be allowed to do that, if they win locally. It’s still a free country, sort of. I just think they should stop trying to force it on the rest of us.

  2. The essential problem is that you can spend money with 50% and pass taxes with 2/3. I am not super wedded to any particular threshold (55% or even 60% might be ok) *so long as the spending and taxing threshold is the same*.

  3. Just out of curiosity, why is 55% better than 51%? We can always undo something at the next election.

  4. I said I’m not wedded to any particular percentage.

    But as far as undoing something at the next election, I’m not aware of many spending programs that get cut in reality once they are in place. The public choice problem suggests that at that point the people getting the money for whatever reason will have such a strong interest in continuing it, and that the general public will have a relatively weak interest in killing any particular program, that it will almost never happen except in times of extreme budget crisis when the interest of the general public in killing programs is very high.

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