Bailing out big spenders

  • Comments
  • Print

Californians have long boasted of enjoying one of the world’s most prosperous economies. But the state is now so
close to insolvency that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the speaker of the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi, whose district is in
San Francisco, are agitating for the federal government to borrow more money so a new round of stimulus spending can be
handed their way.

And who might help pay for this bailout, you might ask with a healthy dose of skepticism? You
guessed it. Hoosiers and other fiscally responsible Americans.

President Obama, who preached about personal responsibility
during his campaign and has held the line on state bailouts, opened the door a week ago to including states in a proposed
second round of stimulus spending.

California has raised car registration fees, and cut costs across everything
from universities to police protection. Even its Supreme Court is closing one day a month to save money.

But just
how deep are those cuts? It’s true that the state has laid off employees, but there are still more on the payroll than
in 2007.

Indiana by contrast trimmed its state work force in 2006 and has largely held to that level. (It should
be noted that some of the work was handed to private contractors whose employees don’t show up on state rosters.)

Californians argue their vaunted entertainment and tech economies are in the tank. But so is auto manufacturing in
Indiana and the rest of the Rust Belt. Yet, Hoosiers aren’t crying for a bailout. And Indiana has managed to preserve
a substantial rainy day fund.

Consider also that some of the states with the biggest problems—California,
Illinois and New York—are Democratic bastions that might come in handy for the party during the 2010 elections.

What do you think? If this comes to a vote, how to you anticipate Indiana’s congressional delegation
responding? What should they do?

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.