Revving up that economic engine again, the California legislature has passed the first statwide ban on evil plastic bags in the country; a development that should exert absolutely no negative effect upon the dynamo that is the state economy. I've lost track of the number of burgs in that state that have gone bankrupt, but they hold the national record in terms of sheer numbers - although Detroit's the largest single city to go bankrupt, so California still has its work cut out for it. They claim to be getting things on track, but that's mostly a high-speed rail line to nowhere; having recently managed to reduce their unfunded liabilities by around $90 billion, they're hardly out of the woods, regardless of whose figures one chooses to believe:
California, with about 12 percent of the nation's population, could have an unfunded pension debt approaching $300 billion, plus another $100 billion for retiree health care.
That's the rosy view, but Moody's says that in all, the state's unfunded liabilities are closer to $1.2 trillion, or triple the rosy picture. Chew on that for a minute: unfunded liabilities means that state politicians promised state workers - and their designees signed the contracts guaranteeing - certain pension and health-care benefits but spent all the money without setting anything aside to pay for those benefits. So the money has to come from somewhere, and it sure isn't going to come from the pockets of the people who made those promises in the first place.
No, it's going to increase pressure to confiscate more cash from taxpaying employees and their employers. In California, the obvious thing to do is to keep driving out businesses and thereby reducing employment, then, and banning plastic bags is a great way to accomplish that: Crown Poly, a Huntington Park manufacturer, plans big layoffs, adding to the outflow of major companies relocating to other states.
Their cunning plan seems to be working perfectly.