Friday, May 22, 2009

the state may be too big to be effectively governed

From Free Exchange:

"Breaking up California
Posted by: | NEW YORK

I’VE often been tempted to send everyone in the California state government a principles of economics book. The concepts of budget constraints and supply and demand seem lost on them. In all fairness, as we pointed out last week, the state may be too big to be effectively governed.

Those voters, moreover, have over time “self-sorted” themselves into highly partisan districts: loony left in Berkeley or Santa Monica, for instance; rabid right in Orange County or parts of the Central Valley. Politicians have done the rest by gerrymandering bizarre boundaries around their supporters. The result is that elections are won during the Republican or Democratic primaries, rather than in run-offs between the two parties. This makes for a state legislature full of mad-eyed extremists in a state that otherwise has surprising numbers of reasonable citizens.

This is, in part, why Martin Hutchinson advocates breaking the state into four parts.

  • San Diego/Orange County/Inland Empire: strong military presence, socially conservative, Hispanic and economically moderate—politics expected to be similar to New Mexico
  • Greater Los Angeles: Urban, large income disparities, socially and economically liberal---
  • San Francisco/Sacramento/ Santa Cruz: Socially liberal, but highly educated and market oriented—politics expected to mirror Massachusetts
  • Northern Central Valley: Rural and conservative politics expected to be similar to Kansas

Politically this may make sense, though the economics of such a messy divorce could get ugly. If California has community property rules, does that mean each part of the state gets half of the others' assets?"


Don the libertarian Democrat wrote:
May 22, 2009 15:14

I think that the problem would be about who would get control of the water. In other words, if you split the state into north and south, the north would have the water. If you put the mountain areas with the central valley, that runs afoul of your political alignment criterion. I'm not sure that people in the Sierra want to be stuck in a government with the central valley.

I can't imagine what the state would look like if it were split up. I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't make much sense.

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