A few years back, a profile in LA Magazine described me as an
“accidental anarchist” — a label that I never really understood until
As I look at what is going on in the nation’s capital, the
state capital and in Los Angeles, I am starting to wonder how government
ever worked at all.
In Washington, Democrats and Republicans are
playing a game of “chicken” that is pushing the country to the brink of
defaulting on our staggering $14 trillion in debt, a sum that grows by
$125 billion a month and will reach the cap on borrowing next month.
makes California’s mere $25-billion budget deficit seem like chump
change, but the impact of Sacramento’s perpetual political gridlock and
gamesmanship is big time in terms of dangerous felons freed from prison,
tens of thousands of teachers fired, aging infrastructure
Cities like Burbank and Glendale have their own
financial problems and are at least trying to develop long-term
strategies — unlike the mega-city next door, where Los Angeles officials
still believe in the fantasy that good times are just around the
It isn’t going to happen.
We don’t generate wealth
anymore. We consume it in the form of manufactured goods made in China
and India and Argentina and dozens of other faraway nations.
We don’t create good jobs anymore. We create low-paying service and retail jobs.
the last two decades, middle-class people of every race have been
exercising their power to exit the L.A. region for better lives in
communities with better schools and healthier neighborhoods, even as the
cities compete ferociously to steal business from each other to bolster
their own economies.
It is a futile exercise that doesn’t create
more jobs. It only moves them around, leaving the regional unemployment
rate far higher than that of the nation or state.
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