As the cries that the sky is falling intensify from the state capitol over the lack of a state budget, the situation is put into perspective by Dan Walters.
“The Capitol is consumed with the state budget situation and every day brings some new histrionics, such as Assembly Speaker Karen Bass' threat Tuesday to lock up her colleagues if they fail to approve Democrats' revised package of taxes and spending cuts.
“However, by portraying the budget situation as a life-and-death crisis – as if the fate of 38 million Californians depends on them – politicians merely feed their own egos and make it that much more difficult to act.
“Republicans, for instance, say that raising taxes would be fatal to economic recovery while Democrats say that deep spending cuts will have the same impact. Obviously, both can't be right, but they can both be wrong.
“The budget has about a $15 billion projected hole in the 2008-09 fiscal year and another $25 billion in 2009-10. Overall, that's less than 2 percent of the state's economic output, even during this severe recession.
“Were the Legislature to whack that much out of the state's spending, it certainly would create angst among those getting less, but it's highly unlikely that it would have more than a fractional impact, positive or negative, on the economy.”