Two years ago, California was facing one of the largest state deficits in history, of $25 billion. With the budget announced earlier this week, instead of a budget shortfall, California is looking at a small, but significant budget surplus.
In announcing the surplus today, Governor Jerry Brown pledged:
“I am determined to avoid the fiscal mess that the last few governors had to deal with.”
It is clear he has met that goal. Not only did the state reach a surplus, it did so while expanding education and healthcare, two areas which have been suffering greatly over the past decade.
But he warned the legislature not to go crazy in spending, telling them:
“It’s very hard to say no. That’s going to be my job.”
It was not even a few weeks ago that California was being held up by the Tea Party as failed state; a state being dragged down by “public employee unions and their collective bargaining rights” and doomed to bankruptcy.
Instead, we find a state recovered, with its budget crisis behind it. The California economy has turned around, with job growth, unemployment down, and the future looking brighter than ever. New government spending programs such as high-speed rail, improved roads and bridges and improving the educational system have, as proven many times before, revitalized the state. Classic Keynesian Economics at work.
Governor Jerry Brown has, essentially, performed a miracle none thought possible and, in the process, showed a path forward for the nation. In less than two years, he turned California around. It took work, blood, sweat and tears, and the efforts of not only those in government, but the efforts of all Californians. This collective effort is called the social contract, and is the foundation of this nation.
Well done, Governor Brown, and the legislators of California. May your efforts serve as a role model not just for California, but for the United States itself.
Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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