Well, the weather’s still nice

I lived in California for a long time, and still think of myself as a Californian in exile every time the winter wind blows a little too cold (which is to say, at all). And there were a couple of things that you knew living out there on the edge of the continent, and tried not to think about too much: that sooner or later, the Big One was going to hit, and that sooner or later, Prop. 13 was going to really bite the state in the ass.

You can cross one of those things off the list:

Hard times are ahead for California, and it’s hard not to blame Californians for it. They voted, in 1978, to restrict government’s ability to govern. And they, in pursuit of their own McMansion vision of the no-money-down, option-ARM, subprime good life, fueled an unsustainable housing boom that may have wrecked the state’s economy for a decade or more to come. They even helped launch the political career of Ronald Reagan, the man who, in 1980, won the presidency in part by tapping the same anti-government emotions in the American public at large as did Proposition 13 in California just two years earlier. If you are willing to trace the recent excesses of Wall Street at least in part to the deregulatory impulses set in motion by Reagan, well then, you have to concede, California has a lot to answer for. And it looks like the piper has arrived, looking for his pay.