Now that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us, one would think the budget deficit might start to come down. Actually, no. Obama's proposed budget sets a new deficit record -- $1.6 trillion this year compared to $1.4 trillion last year.
The proposed California budget is looking an awful lot like trickle-down economics. But instead of the classic theory of wealth at the top seeping down to the bottom, the budget would have the state push losses down the pecking order to local governments.
At the lower end of the income scale, Britain’s pensions apartheid is well established. Public sector workers are guaranteed an index-linked pension based on their final salary, while private sector workers must just hope their contributions are enough to buy a decent income. Now it is to be applied at the top end as well.
Don’t underestimate the power of California, and its ability to suck in a reluctant federal government to bail it out of a fiscal mess of its own making.
The California budget impasse comes to a head one way or the other this week, with state lawmakers needing to make nice by June 30 to close a $24 billion budget gap. If they don’t, rating agencies have threatened to downgrade the state’s credit ratings.