Monday, 19 October 2009

California 'first failed US State'?

California is the world's eighth-largest economy, but its unemployment rate is over 12 per cent - the highest in 70 years.

Millions of people lost their homes when the housing bubble burst. Millions more have been thrust into poverty by the recession.

In July, the state legislature haggled for weeks over how to close a $26bn budget gap. Instead of increasing taxes for corporations or the wealthy, the budget deal that emerged to be signed by Arnold Schwartzenegger, the state's Republican governor, ordered deep spending cuts, laying off tens of thousands of state workers.

Reduced funding for education, coupled with big tuition increases, sparked a student and faculty strike at California's public Universities. Programmes for ex-prison inmates and parolees have been slashed.

And the social safety net of healthcare and services for the poor, children and elderly - the least powerful and least vocal members of society - has been systematically shredded.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, October 19th, 2009.]

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