May 20th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

What would it mean if California went bankrupt?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

California has some serious money troubles.

Voters have rejected five out of six propositions that were meant to pull the state out of a deepening budget crisis. The measures were a combination of spending reforms, higher taxes, and changes in borrowing and funding. The only proposal that passed would prohibit pay raises for lawmakers during deficit years.

With the failure of these proposals, it's now estimated California's budget deficit could balloon from about $15 billion to more than $21 billion.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had said if these measures failed, he'd have to make drastic cuts... This could include shortening the school year by a week and a half, cutting tens of thousands of education jobs, eliminating health insurance for 250,000 needy children, laying off 1,700 firefighters, withholding $2 billion from local governments - which could mean cuts in police forces and other services - and freeing almost 40,000 inmates from San Quentin prison.

The results of yesterday's special election mark a new low for the Republican Schwarzenegger, who had promised to restore fiscal stability to the state.

Meanwhile the three major credit rating companies reduced the grade on around $60 billion of California's bonds to the lowest rating of any U.S. state. There's no question the recession and record budget deficits are causing critical damage to California's economy - which would be the world's eighth largest if it were a separate country.

Here’s my question to you: What would it mean if California went bankrupt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

David from California writes:
It would mean that taxpayers and state elected officials would finally have to face reality. For around 30 years, Californians have refused to increase taxes while at the same time demanding more and more government services. You don't need a degree in accounting to see that isn't going to work forever.

P. from Arizona writes:
Once again, California leads the way as we slip into third world country status. If this isn't a look at what's to come in this country, I don't know what is.

Brian writes:
Why would Californians vote for higher taxes? Of course if the state does go bankrupt, the federal government will step in and bail them out! After all, they are a part of the U.S. If the government can bail out the auto industry, banks and whomever else they deem it necessary, I am sure that they would be willing to "bail out" California.

Remo from Austin, Texas writes:
It's up to the voters of California to solve their own mess. If they've voted 'no' so many times, I guess a reality check is in order: If you don't have the funds, cut back the fun.

Simon from Orlando writes:
I don't think it's a matter of "if", but of "when". It's a prequel of what the rest of the country is eventually in for...a cut in services and an increase in taxes to cover all the debt we are now incurring.

Stef from Minneapolis writes:
Maybe I could finally afford to move there!

David from Missouri writes:
It would mean nothing to me since they did it to themselves. Free everything for everybody with no rainy day money. I don't feel a bit sorry for them.

Tutu from Lagos, Nigeria writes:
That's what happens when you let a terminator in.

Filed under: Economy • United States
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Hopefully it would mean the rest of us would take notice and realize that the government isn't the solution to all life's problems. We probably should have realized that when the USSR went under, but hey, we're slow learners.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  2. Scott-San Diego

    According to Arnold we will have NO police, fire protection or teachers and the illegals in prison will be released and free to commit more crimes.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  3. peter from sask

    It would mean,I'm not coming "back"

    May 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  4. pat in lansing michigan

    it would signal the beginning of the end for America. this state is one of the largest economies in the world and we let it go down the tubes.this is just another indication of what corporate greed can do to the world.don't forget that california always leads the country.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  5. george charles paree

    It would mean they would start over

    May 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  6. gerry In Toronto

    It means we get to see more Schwarzenegger movies and now understand what Arnold meant when he said "I'll be back."

    May 20, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  7. dan in Tucson AZ

    Ain't gonna happen Jack. The gov always steps in when it is too late and costs more money to fix. Then the rest of America can enjoy California's lack of leadership.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  8. Gus from California

    Not sure the usual "bankrupt" scene is possible. States are not allowed to spend money they don't have. When they run out of money, they just stop spending. Happened once before and they payed employee with IOUs. Fortunately, many banks accepted the IOU as cash, and it kept people eating.

    But in this circumstance, where there is little reason to believe there will soon be enough cash to pick up the IOUs, they will simply just have to cut expences, They will release all nonviolent prisoners. Cut school funding drastically, etc., ad nauseum. People seem to want services but do not want to pay for them. A civic object lesson is in the offing. When the fallout hits where everybody can feel it, they will realize they were poorly served by the radio talking heads. In the long run that will be a good thing, but the painful lesson is sad.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  9. Star Auburn Ohio

    As goes california so goes the nation. It means we are living on borrowed time and it's time we all look at what we are spending our money on. It high time we look at the failures in our policies and make changes, cuts, and alternations to what we hold near and dear to our pocket books.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Terry from North Carolina

    One has to wonder what their budget looks like ? I would feel for the State workers who would lose their jobs and or not get paid, otherwise I couldnt care less this is a question of poor management at the top.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  11. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Considering that California's economy is larger than most countries, going broke would have a huge negative impact on the U.S. as well as the world. As the State of California goes, so go us all.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Thomas Wayne

    California is bankrupt. The ruination of California began with the disastrous policies of Reagan which should have been a warning to the United States. It was Reagan's stigmatization on taxes that ultimately led this nation down the same slippery slope. Bush was just the putrid icing on the cake that Ronnie baked in California and hawked to an unsuspecting America.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack:Everything in California costs too much. They spend money on dumb things and want to live high on the hog.
    Maybe if they go bankrupt they will learn to go back to basics.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  14. John V Glennon

    Jack Its always said "as goes California so does the rest of the rest of the country" Doesn't leave us much time. Time to start charging up the credit cards now that we have dilema under control. HaHa

    May 20, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  15. John from Alabama

    Jack: If California went bankrupt it would slide off into the Pacific Ocean. HaHa!! It would mean the 4th largest economy in the world would be in debt big time. Plus no action hero will save it only the people of California, and they do not want to save it. The federal government will not give them a loan, because they are a bad risk.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  16. Kris

    Jack, it would mean all those illegal immigrants wouldn't be getting all those benefits anymore that they enjoy from having broken our law.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  17. david from virginia

    Bad things for kids who are trying to get an education there.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  18. Gina


    It means that Arnold Scwarzenager "won't be back"!


    May 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  19. Dan - Eustis, florida

    Absolutely nothing, if China calls in its markers the whole Country is
    bankrupt. The root cause is partisan politics. Our elected Politicians
    work for lobbyists and political parties not for the people who elected
    them. We the people have to vote out these do nothings. Democrats,
    Republicans it does not matter neither has the best interest of the
    public in mind. Maybe Arnauld will make another Terminator sequel
    isn't that what they do in lola land.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  20. stef in minneapolis

    Maybe I could finally afford to move there!

    May 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  21. Conor in Chicago

    What would it mean? It would mean that the Republicans would blame the Democrats, the Democrats would blame the Republicans, the Left would blame the Right, the Right would blame the Left, and nothing would get done while both sides did everything they could to make the otherside look bad for the upcoming 2010 elections.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  22. David from California

    If California went "bankrupt' it would mean that taxpayers and state elected officials would finally have to face reality. For around thirty years Californians have refused to increase taxes while at the same time demanding more and more government services. You don't have to have a degree in accounting to see that isn't going to work forever.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  23. Simon/Orlando

    I don't think it's a matter of "if", but of "when". It's a prequel of what the rest of the country is eventually in for...a cut in services and an increase in taxes to cover all the debt we are now incurring.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  24. lou

    California has become a metaphor of what ails our country. Lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous. Valley girls spending like crazy on daddy's plastic. Movie stars with diamonds implanted in their shoes and their teeth...living in a state that's going belly up. Karma may have caught up to the golden state.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  25. Star Auburn Ohio

    It could start a domino effect and we would see other states going bankrupt and we would be one step closer to collapsing. We are seeing how irresponsbile we have been for the last 40 years come to a head. this is not a twilight zone or Outer Limits episode. This nation is in real trouble. It makes me so sad to hear this stuff on the news. I have watched this country just fall on the sword from the inside. we are doing it to ourselves. Sound like we are more like Rome everyday.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  26. Mark in OKC

    Well, we could just give the state back to mexico and let them deal with the problem.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  27. circy in new mexico

    It might mean there would be less of the crap passed off as entertainment both in the movies and on TV (especially TV which has truly become a vast wasteland, just as Newton Minnow said).

    May 20, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  28. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    I guess the folks in California will have to learn to live within their means like the rest of us are trying to do. Too bad though, but when everyone expects something from the government like police and fire protection, social programs, road repairs, clean water or what ever, they obviously want someone else to pay for it.
    It’s kind’a like everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  29. Pablo in Tejas

    it would mean they got what they asked for and what they have deserved since passing Prop 13 all those years ago. It would also mean my mother-in-law would soon be moving in with us. Oi Vey is mir!

    Arlington Texas

    May 20, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  30. Troy Spier

    I'm not sure what that would actually mean to the average person. We've seen how companies have gone or gotten close to becoming bankrupt; subsequently, the government recognized them and handed out money to assist them all. I think the real question should be whether or not California will get a federal bail-out similar to the companies that didn't manage their money properly. California can cut extra spending like the rest of us though...

    May 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  31. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    It would mean that they are one step ahead of the rest of us. I don't think Michigan is far behind. All that has been stimulated here is job losses. GM and Chrysler may survive their financial mess, but the cutbacks in auto related jobs affect our entire economy. Taxpayers are leaving Michigan in droves. Maybe I should start packing.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  32. Mark


    Let it go bankrupt. We are not doing the country a favor by bailing them out too. Bankruptcy will make them leaner and hopefully California's Liberal leadership will learn from it's bad decisions.

    Mark from Saint Louis

    May 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  33. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,it means the citizens have finally had enough of the crazy tax and spend policies of of the State Government.Don,t be surprised if this populist statement doesn't go national.The citizens of California are saying the same thing as the tea party particpants of a few weeks ago,President Obama should look to to the west to see what out of control spending causes!!

    May 20, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  34. Tina Tx

    The rest of the country ain't far behind. This is what happens when were no rules the last 8 yrs and poor Obama is trying his damnest to get them back in place. It is scary knowing that a large state as Calif is in this big of a mess. Term Limits!! From the lowly mayor all the way to the top is the best way.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  35. Harold from Anchorage,AK

    I guess it would mean Arnold would have to go back to making

    May 20, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  36. John in Santa Barbara

    Can a State legally go bankrupt? It would mean that California would not have to pay its creditors. The Federal government would have to bail it out and that means that the Fed would own a percent of California. Is that Constitutional? Would California still be liable for debts owned to citizens of California, in that they are in-house as opposed to outside creditors? If California goes bankrupt, who knows what will happen, but it would be a wild ride.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  37. Paul Martin

    Hurst, Texas
    Could shake the markets given thier speculative and emotional foundation.
    However, a STATE, like any other entity that spends beyond its financial capabilities must answer to the fundamental laws of accounting.
    If you can't pay your bills, and you can't obtain credit then you should seek relief and be prepared to change your government activities in order to operate within your financial means.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  38. Chris B.

    California has been living a life of excess for many years now. In a state where homes cost eight times the average annual income of individuals you will run into problems like this. It is time to realize that there are plenty of great places to live in the US and that the California you see in movies and on reality TV is just a myth.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  39. Rob of Brooklyn

    it means we send them back to Mexico

    May 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  40. Russ in PA

    It means that once again the US taxpayer will be responsible for bailing out a poorly managed, bankrupt organization. Unfortunately the government won't learn until people start demanding that failed companies/states/people need to fail. Why on God's Green Earth must we bail out failed anything? It doesn't work...

    May 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  41. Linda M Roanoke VA

    It means all those yelling "no taxes" will see what happens when we all do not pay our fair share to support the things we view as basic for a strong state/country. Maybe then the loopholes for companies, corparations and the extremely wealthy will finally be closed so they pay the same percentage of income in taxes as the middle class.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  42. David - Canada


    You could perhaps play 'Let's Make A Deal'.

    Package California with Oregon, Washington and Alaska, and we will give you Ontario, Quebec and Maritime Provinces on an even trade.

    That gives both countries a Disney park, the US gets Michael Ignatief back and, for him, we take Sarah and Arnold on a 2 for 1.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  43. Dennis North Carolina

    being one of the largest economies in the world failure would mean depression world wide. chapter eleven would only stall the failure and a bail out would punish the rest of the country for the elected officials failures of this state.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  44. bobwhite, Ks

    If California went bankrupt, I would mean that the USA just got a necessary wake-up call. Too many of our people have more motivation for making an arguement than for agreeing upon a needed solution. California is a good example. The largest state economy has fought funding and taxing to the point of no return while still wanting all the rights and privileges of necessary spending. The result is that the public interest spending on schools, government and infrastructure, etc., gets the short shift. The economy won't work that way. The true and hard lesson is overdue: not only there in California while it may become the first to fail!

    May 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  45. Theresa in Atlanta

    Perhaps it will mean that all the illegal immigrants that are weighing down the state's economy will go home. If they denied non-emergency medical care and public education to these people, the state could probably balance its budget.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  46. Ron Temecula

    Hi Jack:

    If the politicians would stop fleesing the system, CA would not be broke. Does it make sense? Really how many residents do we have paying taxes here in CA? There is no logical reason for the state to be broke. The politicians and big business load their pockets while the poor and middle class pay. The solution to this is to force all of our legislators in Sacramento to work without pay or benefits for 10 years to make up for the losses their incompitence created. Then the state might recover.

    Ron Temecula, CA

    May 20, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  47. Tutu from Lagos Nigeria

    That's what happens when you let a terminator in!!!

    May 20, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  48. Scott-San Diego

    California will not go bankrupt if the politicians do their jobs. The threat is always to cut Fire, Police, schools, healthcare for our citizens and send criminals back into the streets. Time for them to get down to serious business and cut "free" school lunches, "free" healthcare for illegal immigrants and their ever extending families and the other many wasteful welfare programs this state offers. This all comes on the day after our doubled DMV fees went into affect. Our sales tax is almost 9-10%, our state income tax was also raised. Doesn't matter how much you give them, it is never enough. Our NO vote was loud and clear. Make serious cuts to wasteful programs. This is the result of years of Liberals running the state. Take notice America, this will be our country if the spending spree in Washington doesn't stop.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  49. Mike in NYC

    It would be fulfilling its destiny as an up and coming Third-World nation.

    Come on folks, what did you think would happen as a productive population was replaced with a less productive, less intelligent, less law-abiding one?

    The 1965 Immigration Act pretty much sealed the fate of the entire country.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  50. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    So goes California, then so goes the rest of the country.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  51. Ralph

    It would mean Governor Schwarzenegger probably won't be saying "I'll be back" next election.
    Ralph- Corpus Christi, Texas

    May 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  52. Steve

    It would mean that California would have to do the same thing that the District of Columbia (Washington D C) had to do several years ago when they found themselves in a very similar situation. Flush all legacy Government officials from State Government; Tighten the budget belt; attack fraud, waste, and abuse; court big business to play more of a role in governance of state affairs.

    Clifton, VA

    May 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  53. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I think it would have a ripple affect around the world and push our country closer to a depression. The only good I can see from California going bankrupt would be the Mexican gov't protecting the border from Americans crossing into their country.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  54. Brian K. Moore

    Why would Californians vote for higher taxes? Of course if the state does go bankrupt, the Federal Government will step in and bail them out! After all, they are a part of the United States. If the government can bail out the auto industry, banks and whomever else they deem it necessary, I am sure that they would be willing to "bail out" California.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  55. Gigi

    I'm always been amused with the budget cuts proposed by big government. I know there are many other choices but government likes the scare tactics best and the people are gluable. Give all government workers a 15% + cut in pay and keep everyone working. Cut expense accounts in half or out.
    If they don't find a solution they will leave the state and probably come to Oregon where unemployment is already one of the highest in the country.
    I think it is time that our representatives realize we are no longer amused with either party. And its time to turn this mess around that big business has created with help of the government.


    May 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  56. Tom from Philly

    California IS already bankrupt, in so many ways. Ultimately you can thank ronald reagans property tax regression for thier budgetary woes. One more piece of his work that seemed good at the time but caused and causes damage still

    May 20, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  57. Ken In Pinon Hills, California

    It could mean we may be economically terminated by the Terminator.
    Not to worry though, ex governor Gerry Brown is running for his old job again as our governor. The governor before him, a guy named Reagan left our state with deficits and in the red just as he did our nation. Brown the so called flake, left office and California with a seven billion surplus. What California and the country needs is more flakes and less phony conservatives.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  58. Jay, Denver

    I don't know but we will soon find out.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  59. Ryan

    I think it means they will have to make all the cuts you listed. That is just the way it is. the chickens have come home to roost.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  60. Ed Reed

    It would not be a good thing

    May 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  61. Karen in CA

    It means nobody in my state is willing to stand back from their own personal interests to pony up for what's best for *all* concerned instead of their own damn pocketbooks. I'm ashamed and disgusted. I benefit from Prop 13 passed years ago to make it impossible to raise property taxes, but I'd gladly pay more to live in a state which cares about contributing healthy, educated children to our country's future.

    We need a governor with courage to persuade all of us–including stubborn, self-serving legislators–out of our selfishness.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:48 pm |

    Well I've heard that everything new starts on the coasts and gradually moves to the middle of the country. I live in Minnesota so we should not be bankrupt until 2011, maybe 2012, depending on the path of the prevailing winds.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  63. David, Tampa, Fl

    It means, Jack, that the underlying assumption that have financed state governments are about to crash in California and shortly in most if not all states. It is fundalmental to any business that expenses be less than or equal to revenues. If not you raise money by borrowing, eventually you will need to service that debt; if you can't economic catastrophy will loom large. Spiraling deficits cause by overspending and underfunding are now catching up with us at the state and national level. It is a vicious cycle with no end in sight. Kindly brought to you by the Republican and Democratic parties and our greedy, me first business community. By the way when do I get my piece of the pie as I'm as greedy as anybody else?

    May 20, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  64. pat in lexington

    It would mean an influx of unemployed, uninsured people into the other 49 states. But let's send the prisoners to Alaska, o.k.?

    May 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  65. David of Alexandria VA

    Strictly speaking, it would cause a major disruption in the credit markets which tend to view state bonds a "safe."

    But, more importently, it would show what happens when a government chronically spends more than it has, lives beyond it's means, funds programs it wants and can't afford without taxing everyone to death. I hope it will mean that Obama and the democrat congress will take a moment and say, "Hmmmm.......Uh-Oh!"

    May 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  66. Annie, Atlanta

    You know that old saying, up the creek without a paddle (the clean version)? That would definitely apply here. I'd like to know how a state teeming with such riches could be in such trouble. Something's not adding up.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  67. Daniel Indiana

    The "No Tax" revolution is proving it's reality. We should all open our eyes and see what cutting taxes will do for Americans. This is the best example of that philosophy. It has bankrupted a government because noone wants to pay for the services that they demand of their government. This is proof that the Republican ideology can't work.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  68. Keith - Ohio

    It would mean that maybe movie stars should stick to making movies and leave governing to someone who is better qualified.

    Most movie stars can't even run their own lives, figure out who they're in love with NOW, and how thay can influence our children, with all of their knowhow.

    I suppose that California is 'too big to fail' also, right Jack?

    May 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  69. Jenna

    What would it mean if California went bankrupt?

    It means that the nation will follow.

    This is the ripple effect from 8 years of failed GW Bush policies.

    What did Americans expect?

    Roseville CA

    May 20, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  70. Ben

    Hi Jack; I am a regular follower of yours. I was wondering what you think about these hypocritical republicans; When it comes to investigating what happened under George Bush,they all want to look forward not backward,yet they are all shouting about investigating what Pelosi knows.This is like prosecuting a murder witness while the murderer is allowed to roam freely.
    Oh,about what it means if California goes bankrupt.... It means they are BANKRUPT.

    May 20, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  71. Kirven Dunham

    I live in CA (for now) and I hope it means we can limit of all those dumb ballot proposals. Why are people with no knowledge of economics making these very important decisions? They vote for new programs but no new taxes to pay for them.

    CA needs to:
    Eliminate programs that no longer work or are not needed
    Combine like programs to reduce cost
    The state gov needs to reduce its head count via technology
    Provide a real tax structure to pay for these programs
    Set aside X% in a fund for a rainy day
    Set aside X% for a school fun
    And most importantly – PAY AS YOU GO. This includes tax cuts

    Kirven Dunham
    Rancho Cordova, CA

    May 20, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  72. Star Auburn Ohio

    legalizing pot looks more and more attractive to boost the revenue they need to keep afloat

    May 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  73. Anita Craycraft

    Perhaps it would mean we could fire that bunch of do nothings in Sacramento who have continuously governed by propositions because they do not have the backbone to legislate. We passed time limits so they now play musical chairs meaning we get the same incompetent idiot in a different chair. We pass many propositions that are not constitutional because it is not our job to legislate. They pass the buck to the voters so they can blame them for their failures.. They are so grid-locked by party loyalty that our state has gone down the drain. As horrible as going bankrupt would be it might give us a clean slate . The airlines seem to come out of bankrupycy smelling like a rose! Perhaps we should start smelling the roses!!
    Canyon Lake CA

    May 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  74. Chris from N.Y.

    It would mean the citizens of the other 49 states would have to pay to keep California afloat. After all, that state is certainly "too big to fail."

    May 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  75. Sandra in Arkansas

    Just that they are going to be the first one on the Titanic and who knows how many more will board or how many survivors there will be...States, people, or our nation. Fiscal responsibility means spending what you have (or less) and that seems to be something most people forgot, or never learned, and it is catching up with us now. Deficit spending, predatory lending, and unbridled greed are going to sink the unsinkable just as an iceburg took down the Titanic.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  76. Tony from Torrington

    Probably that we should give it back to Mexico. Pronto!

    May 20, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  77. Melissa

    It never ceases to amaze me how little the American people actually seem to care about doing anything for their own well being.

    If the state goes bankrupt, they quite simply put "screwed".

    May 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  78. cat

    Arnold is going about this all wrong.
    First thing to go is personnel cost. dont cut the peoples jobs but the jobs in the governors office, and his administration. first lay off all who are making over 250 thousand. and all who are making under that amount but over 100,000. need to get a salary reduction also need to work a larger work load, If they wont then someone eles will.
    This will show Californians that he is serious and willing to start w/ himself, Get rid of the servants and do it your self as far as the home goes. Also cut your salary Arnold.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  79. ML-CA

    If this isn't posted, then at least you know what we Californians are dealing with.
    First, this Governor chose not to do his job.
    Second, this Governor thought by throwing a bunch of ridiculous Propositions together to vote on, this would fix everything.
    As you see, Californians voted all Propositions down.
    Third, this Governor is threatening to cut back more State services and allow criminals loose from the jails.
    What we fear, is that this Governor will accept a Stimilus Package from the Federal Government and this could shut down State control.
    How stupid is this???

    May 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  80. Frank from Peterborough

    What it means is California would have to abandon the Conservative rhetoric that has not only put it but the rest of America in dire straits.

    The fact is taxes paid proportionately to a person's or corporation's ability to pay is a sound recipe for success providing the funds are properly used to further the State's and/or the Country's over all success.

    One example would be if everyone's income taxes were raised proportionately to cover free universal health care with a range of $2,000.00 to $8,000.00 according to income then everyone would benefit rather than each paying 12 to 15 thousand dollars each.

    The bottom line is you can't tax less and provide more as that just doesn't add up.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  81. Terence

    Jack, I do not think anyone would care except Californians, and the Mexicans. They should give it to Mexico as they have more Mexicans in California then in Mexico anyway. Maybe China would take it over as an investment. I DOUBT IT !! Too many gangs in town for them.
    Terence, PIscataway, NJ

    May 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  82. cat

    If California goes bankrupt America will open their eyes to tax cuts for the rich just does not work. Hopefully Arnold will change parties if he is for Obama then become a Democrat if he is not then become a Independent. If Califorina goes bankrupt. I can not see the people voting in another Republican to replace Arnold.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  83. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    That Kalifornia has overspent and mismanged their money just like the banks, car companies and housing industry for years and it is finally catching up to them. I know some people will say we can't "afford" to let this happen just like the other companies but we need to let them fail.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  84. Bev - NYC


    It means I will not be planning a visit any time soon. Sounds like complete anarchy, fewer essential services and prisoners back on the street all this during a recession. People of California aren't looking at big picture and what the lack of funding will mean during the next fire, mud slide or any other natural disaster. When NYC was on the brink of bankruptcy in the 70's it took the City years to come back . Learn from the mistakes of others California.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  85. Michael in Albuquerque,NM

    Why would it mean shortening the school year by a week and a half, cutting tens of thousands of education jobs, eliminating health insurance for 250,000 needy children, laying off 1,700 firefighters? These are services that are paid for by local districts. It must mean that policies that give financial control to higher authorities like state and federal government DOES NOT WORK.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  86. Al Bledsoe in Dallas

    Texas could buy it as vacation property and retirement housing.

    Al Bledsoe
    Dallas, TX

    May 20, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  87. Rich Monk

    Hey Jack,
    It would be nice if all the non-Native California legal and illegal transplants returned to their Native Countries and States. This would cut the population down to 30% of what it is today.
    Yes, that would be nice.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  88. Mary Steele Yorktown VA

    Hi Jack,

    It's economic 101-When we displace our workers with people that work here but send most of their money back to their own country, it results in huge losses for this country!

    They are paying our unemployed to sit home while allowing illegals to work those jobs-HOW STUPID, irresponsible and wreckless for any so-called representiative to allow it to continue at a cost of Billions per year across the board!

    As horrible as this sounds, will it take one of their loved ones to be killed or assaulted to get some action on behalf of legal citizens, including legal immigrans?

    Mary S. Yorktown VA

    May 20, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  89. Mike – Denver, CO

    Talk about too big to be allowed to go bankrupt! They will bail out private companies, and let a state go bankrupt? If this is not a sign that our "leaders" in D.C. have lost their way, I do not know what is.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  90. Nancy, Tennessee

    If California goes bankrupt, the people may hold a recall election to replace the Govinator. States like individuals have to learn to operate within their means. Budget items that are in the category of "nice to have" need to be cut and items in the "have to have" list need to be purchased from the supplier offering the best value. We need to go back to Ben Franklin's philosophy of "a penny saved is a penny earned." Sounds corny, but really we have to start using some common sense in the way we spend government funds.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  91. Marie Ontario

    It would mean the Republican Conservative extremists will have gotten their way with less government and no taxes. Arnold was a proponent of this plan and now he is repeating the rewards.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  92. Independent Joe (Brainerd)


    It would mean the United States failed California with its lack luster illegal immigration enforcement policy. If we would secure are borders the tax payers of California would not have to provide the funding for illegal immigrants health care, education, and other related expenses.
    I think the Californians should ask Pelosi why she feels enforcing the federal immigration laws is not a good idea.

    Joe (Brainerd, MN)

    May 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  93. Craig Sharp

    It means that all the illegal aliens in California will be leaving and headed to other states. Ship 'em all back to nation of origin.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  94. John A. Maloney Jr.

    It would mean that they spent more money than they took in duh. John St Marys Pa.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  95. Star Auburn Ohio

    maybe they could try playing the mega lottery

    May 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  96. Mark, Bradenton, FL

    That is what is going to happen to the rest of the country if we so not stop the hispanic influx. They are like an invasive species destroying anything.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  97. Emerson in Mass.

    Again California leads the country ... perhaps the people in Washington will learn that you can't provide big social programs while holding taxes down.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  98. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Californians vote for all sorts of crackpot ideas like otters and indian village restorations, just to name a couple, and then don't want to pay for it or expect someone else to foot the bill. Like grandpa said, "If you are going to be stupid; you had better be tough.". Shut up California and pay up.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  99. chris

    it will not they just need to cut all the pork and wasteful spendign and high govt salaries including the congress and senate members of their stateand sut their benefits and cut staff that is really not needed then california will be fine and plus stop helping the illegals in their state

    May 20, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  100. Linda in Charleston, SC

    I think the indication would be that the whole nation was in trouble along with CA. We have, (excuse Jack) jacked the price on everything in our lives until we can't afford anything in our lives. I feel just like the state of CA. Gas increased ten cents in a matter of hours today. Can't afford TV no more. Utilities are so high while wages are decreasing. I cannot affod to live Jack, what is my alternative?

    May 20, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  101. Tim in Texas

    California caps property taxes and requires a supermajority to approve tax increases. As they watch their houses burn, their schools crumble, their businesses fail, and the crime rate go up, they might wise-up to the fact that if you want to live in a decent society, you need to buck-up, and pay for it.
    Tim in Texas

    May 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  102. Charles in Illinois

    So much for restoring FISCAL responsibility from a Republican Governor! What is it with Republicans & Fiscal IRresponsibility???. California will not go bankrupt, its another fear tactic that all the Politicians put on the American people just like Bush & Cheney did during the 2004 Presidential election that if we vote for Kerry the country will experience another 9/11. Fear Fear Fear! Its the politician's ace up the sleeve. No Jack California will not go bankrupt, remember Arnold is a proven ACTOR & POLITICIAN.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  103. jeff

    Jack, We need to bail them out, we don't need or want California to default, they are a part of us, the US. They need to dump Arnold the pretend Governor and get someone who has a clue how to get them out of trouble, they should have to pay us back, over time. Everyone should remember Enron, which I would say has contributed to this, another gift from the Bush Administration and his friends.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  104. Aaron from Denver

    I suppose it would mean that the executives at the company would have to step down. Goodbye Pelosi and the Governator.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  105. Jim, Naples

    Ummm no more psuedo "laid back" we are not intensely materialistic trend setters seeking nirvanic recognition through and producing cool, we really are totally cool darling, heart not felt promotional commercials?

    May 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  106. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    It's a predictor for the Federal government. Spend, spend, spend didn't work for me ex-wife; and won't work in government.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  107. Alex in Seattle

    It would just go to show that you can't have everything and expect somebody else to pay for it. Police and fire protection, prisons, vehicle licensing, road repair and other essential services don't just happen, they must be paid for. I hope they manage to fix their problems. We have enough Californians up here in Seattle!

    May 20, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  108. Jim Bailey

    Let them go belly up...then it would prove Grover Norquist/Club for Growth and their greedy cohorts are truly anti-American just like we've always suspected.
    Jim Bailey
    Cripple Creek CO

    May 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  109. Mary Steele Yorktown VA

    Hi Jack,

    If California goes bankrupt, other states will follow. It’s economics 101-When you displace our workers with people that work here but send most of their money back to their own country, it results in huge losses for that state and for our country!

    They are paying our unemployed to sit home while allowing illegals to work those jobs-HOW STUPID, irresponsible and wreckless for any so-called representiative to allow it to continue at a cost of Billions per year across the board!

    As horrible as this sounds, will it take one of their loved ones to lose their job, their home, or be killed or assaulted to get some action on behalf of legal citizens, including legal immigrans?

    Mary S. Yorktown VA

    May 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  110. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Most people are not aware of the ramifications when many companies go bankrupt that are much small than GM or Chrysler. California's economy is larger than most countries. Less then 1% of the population knows what that would mean, I couldn't tell you the full extent and I have a Masters in economics.

    May 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  111. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    It would mean Arnold will NOT be back.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  112. Bernard Clark

    If California were to go bankrupt some may view the financial collapse as the fulfillment of the Biblical phrophesy "the meek shall inherit the earth;" especially since much of America's rich are in some ways connected to that state. Others like myself believe that it would be a forshadowing of what is to occur throughout America as most likely other states will follow in bankruptcy. President Obama will have a golden opportunity to be American's greatest President as his economic recovery plan will in fact resurrect California, which would act as a model for other states that may fall into morbid depression watching a California fall. It would in essence act as the proverbial 'proof in the pudding' many Republican voices seek as they tear down the President's economic plan.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  113. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    Perhaps it would then quit being a socialist republic and their illegal aliens woudl go home

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    May 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  114. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    It would mean that the recession is taking a large victim. I would think that every other state governor would take a hard look at their budgets and start to plan not to end up in California's position. I think California's bankruptcy would have a domino effect felt throughout this country and probably the world.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  115. Bill from pa

    "It might make other states reexamine their own overindulgences , ie education, legislative costs
    (perks few in the private sector enjoy), Governers running around willy-nilly giving out big cardboard checks worth millions if not billions of dollars in corporate welfare. These people need to be riened in ASAP.


    May 20, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  116. Maurice - Two Rivers, WI

    Nothing. Washington would just bail them out like all the others that can't balance a check book. If we hold out long enough perhaps the big one will hit and California will slide into the Pacific Ocean.

    Two Rivers, Wisconsin

    May 20, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  117. Karl from SF, CA

    I have lived here half of my 64 years and it would mean these morons are getting what they’ve paid for, or refused to pay for. Since Howard Jarvis’ tax revolution the cry is no more taxes and they have been cutting everything since to match the reduced revenue and escalating expenses. Apparently good schools, police and fire protection, health services and decent roads and other infrastructure have become irrelevant. It’s going down the sewer and rightfully so. The shiny new Cadillac that once was California is now a 30 year old wamped out Chevy with 4 flats and a blown engine.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm |

    Looks like California will be terminated. How about we sell California to Mexico. Mexifornia sounds good.
    What the hell, the trend over the years was to sell out any thing American anyway. Why stop now.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  119. Chris Parnell

    The failure of the California would lead to a chain of events that would lead to the "darkest days of all" I have a solution to avoid this.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  120. boxer girl in iowa

    Sounds like it sucks to live in California..Blame the terminator and all the illegal immigrants..Guess it wasn't such a good idea to give them free education and health-care after all..I lived in Arizona for 17 years. A lot like California..Glad to be back home..They can keep the horrible heat and the illegals.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  121. Rick

    If CA goes BK then the country will be in worse shape. Granted a lot people don't care for CA but as the world's 8th largest economy we had better be very concerned. The salad bowl of the country, the top dairy state, the technology hub in Silicon Valley, the recreation and vacation revenues (very few places in the world where you can go surfing in the morning and snow skiing in the afternoon), the movie industry, Disneyland, etc. As a global economic player by itself, this could result in serious consequences for the country as a whole. Tax receipts from CA going to the feds would be dramatically reduced thus hurting us all. Like it or not, this country has a dependence on CA.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  122. Jean B

    When you borrow, and spend money that is not incoming to the Gov't – this is the result = lliberal California. Democrat legislation for years.
    CA will have to cut spending....AND,
    this is coming to the entire Nation as well. We will be paying more in interest on the deficit than in national defense – this is where CA is now, up a creek without a paddle folks.
    Obama quadrupled the annual deficit and this spending will come back to haunt us in very high interest rates and hyperinflation. It will take a little while, but watch what happens !
    Jean B

    May 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  123. David in Raleigh, NC

    Time for California to immediately deport all of the illegal immigrants living in California. This would generate such a savings in healthcare, childcare, welfare, education, etc... that California would immediately fix it's budget crisis. The illegal immigrants have single handedly driven California to the point of bankruptcy.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  124. Chad from Los Angeles, CA

    We need a nice big natural disaster, to get some federal money flowing through, and to create some jobs for rebuilding efforts.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  125. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    It means liberals in California are going to get exactly what they deserve: A slashing of public services and jobs. 70% of California state spending is mandated. You can't balance a budget this way. My own state of Washington has mandated spending as well. Like 1% of our budget being spent on public art. We also pay pregnant women $250 per week (indexed to increase each year with the cost of living) to have children. Stupid. We should not subsidize the reproduction of morons. If you can't pay for your children, you should not have any. Not to mention all of the tacky "art" I see everywhere.

    You can tell that liberals are hamstrung with feminine thinking. Women do not hesitate to spend other people's money. Nor do they think of the interest involved with their purchases, since they expect other people to pay their debt for them. Now that this mentality is in the White House, our nation will be bankrupt in short order. It is only a matter of time before China cancels our credit card.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  126. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Nothing to me,being that they did it to themselves.Free everything for everybody with no rainy day money.I don't feel a bit sorry for then.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  127. Ken in NC

    The Drug Cartels could buy the state cheap, take over the movie industry and start making their own movies and videos to help sell their drugs. They would also have 2 Senators in the Senate and about 50 or 55 members in the House of Representatives. They will make legal all drugs and set up or buy out the drug stores in malls. Oh they already have drug stores. Do you get the idea yet?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  128. Jill

    California leads the country in trends by approximately 20 years. This is dire news for the rest of us.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  129. Jonathan

    San Quentin has about 5,000 inmates – I think the 40,000 number is an error and more likely for the whole CDCR population in all prisons here.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  130. Dee in sunny (and dry) Florida

    It means that a lot of little people, who depend on the state for their income (like contractors, employees, small businesses) are going to be in serious trouble.

    It means that contrary to what some are saying in the media, the economy is NOT taking a turn for the better. I would think that if California goes bankrupt it would mean that perhaps we have not even hit bottom yet in this economic downhill slide.

    It might mean that California will start getting really tough on illegals, who are a drain on the economy in many ways. It might also mean that those who abuse the "system" might in al ways will finally see a crackdown.

    But the saddest thing is, I think that a bankruptcy in California means a worsening economic picture for the entire country. And in reality, just how much more can this country stand?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  131. Darin

    It means people will be losing everything they've worked hard for their whole lives, and moving to places like Alabama or Nebraska.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  132. Henrique

    Jack, it means all the illegal aliens will have to go home. No more work, no more free social services.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  133. Bryan Inmon

    It would mean that Grey Davis should have kept his job. He may have stopped ENRON from stealing 30 billion taxpayer dollars by taking over the power plants. "The Terminator" should still be worrying about box office reciepts, instead he was met by Ken Lay, supported by Enron, and whaddaya know. Same ole same ole.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  134. Mary

    in california, why don't they make a change to property tax, when you purchased a house years and years ago, the tax is the same until that house is sold. look at all the beautiful houses that were built long time ago. i have relative in cal. and there house is much better than our house, and they pay half of the tax that we pay.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  135. Heather

    Do I hear a sinking sound!!!!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  136. Ron Quick

    I think you had better check your numbers on San Quentin 40,000 would be more than the total Prison Population as it is today!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  137. Julie

    I am not sure what it will mean but it will alow us to see the future of the rest of the country since the federal government is doing the same stupid things that California is doing by spending money that it does not have on things that people do not need.

    Also, why is it so terrible that State employees will lose their jobs. Those in the private sector are losing their jobs at a much higher rate so it seems only right that government jobs should be lost as well.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  138. Bradrick

    If California went bankrupt, it would mean that the whole country will not be far behind. If California goes, so does every other state, so I don't think that California will go bankrupt. The federal government will bail them out.


    May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  139. sam allen

    I believe it was President Ford who basically said 'go to hell' to NYC when they had their financial crisis. I'd say same to CA. They need a financial board (and a gentleman like they had from Lazard) like NYC had to take control of the finances, ignore the special interest group pressures, and get them back on track. It worked for New York, and that wasn't exactly a small economy either.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  140. Paul M Wychules from Manteca,CA

    Jack, if California goes bankrupt it means I would buy another box of double ought buck for my shotgun.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  141. John

    The only thing that really scares me is the forty thousand inmates being released from San Quentin. I don`t have enough room in my home to facilitate this kind of release.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  142. Bill Bakersfield, CA

    You always want to see the future, right ?? What it means is the same folks and POV that are now in control in Washington have been in control in California for years ...

    What does that tell you is coming for the entire country ??

    BTW ... the Governator is about as much a Republican as Colin Powell .... in name only .....

    May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  143. Shay

    What we have learned in the last few months that if you are big enough, the government will not let you fail. California is the most powerful economic state in the union, if the you know what hits the fan, they will get a bail out like everyone else.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  144. DINA KIM

    It would be a sad thing if California went bankrupt; but it would show that overspending and then overtaxing to counteract it does not equal a good economy. Perhaps the Federal government should take heed.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  145. Donald G. Dishman

    If Chrysler and GM can go bankrupt why can't California? The people of California don't want to pay for what they demand. They want a free ride. There is no such thing and they are about to learn that the hard way.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  146. Robert Sprat

    It means that a State can't spend more money than it takes in in revenue. Also, that the electorate is not willing to allow the government to continue to spend. Not much unlike what is or will happen at the federal level and at the individual level for just ordinary people.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  147. Lee From CA

    Jack, it would mean the beginning of the end. This is what happens when you allow the initiative process to take over law making. What are we paying over $100,000 a year to our law makers when the soccer mom next door can decide the fiscal future of this state!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  148. Lou

    The fact that California is almost bankrupt proves that the "Small Government and Low Taxes" ideology DOES NOT WORK. The eighth largest economy in the world requires the eighth largest government. I hope California does not go bankrupt but I'm afraid that this is a lesson that America has to learn again in order to shock itself out of its Ron Paul brain washing.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  149. Ron - Oklahoma

    Simple – it means that this recession is far from being over. Tighten your seat belt. This is going to be a long, bumpy ride.


    May 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  150. Dave

    California bankrupt? Jack, it would mean I could move to the Golden State and buy a house at a deep discount.

    Dave of North Carolina

    May 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  151. Joan

    Not sure but have a suggestion. Anyone who has worked in big business or big government knows that ten percent of the top administrators could be cut and never missed. Unfortunately these are the people in charge of making cuts.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  152. Michael Sullivan from Lafayette, California

    Jack - It would mean that the Federal Government would be forced to bail us out - after all, aren't we as important as the financial industry? -
    not a bad strategy on the part of the governator!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  153. Bob Deibert, Colorado Springs, CO

    IF California goes bankrupt perhaps finally people will see that the government's true level of corruption and greed. What ever happened to allowing us the people the right to live as we see fit? They are taxing everything and some things way overboard ... four dollars extra for a pack of cigarettes, in California Taxes and cost of living is so out of control that one making 2500 a month take home pay is living in a studio apartment and little food! The rest of the country should watch and see where this country is heading ... into the cess pool like California!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  154. Helen

    You know I am sick of hearing how states, cities and whatever are on the verge of bankruptcy. Somewhere they are spending monies where they shouldn't be. I will be filing bankruptcy soon. Some how I have to find the money to pay the lawyer and then I have to go to a class where someone is going to tell me how bad I have been for not handling my finances better. What state etc... is going to go to classes.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  155. Ward


    California has one of the biggest industries in the world that they have not taxed. If they were to tax pornography, I think they would be surprised how quickly they could cut their defeceit!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  156. Rudy Haugeneder

    Ask Arnie to move to Canada. We need political leaders who aren't afraid to look at the facts and tell us how it is.
    If he brings a little cash, we'll even give him instant citizenship so he can run for office. He would be clearly understood thanks to the way we speak "English."

    May 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  157. mary mayer

    What if California stopped paying for illegal's education and hospital bills? I suspect that would set them on a road to recovery.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  158. Todd Wolfe

    What it means is precisely this: Left wing ideology is a path to total destruction. Everyone knows that California is the shining beacon for all things "progressive". Well...I think their current state of affairs proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we need to return to our Christian values and stop with the "everythings ok" mentality. They have all the resources they need to pull themselves out of debt..like billions of dollars of oil off the coast...yet they won't consider it? Instead, they want the rest of the country to bail them out? Go figure.
    They have beat the progressive drum to their own demise. I have no sympathy for them.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  159. lamar

    jack i fear about my future.I just graduated from high school and with this economy im drawing a blank about my future.we cannot allow California to fail it would be a damino effect for other state by the way who raelly needs to be paid 20millon per movie

    May 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  160. david

    the very best thing that could happen cut the dead weight and move on bail outs only make it worse if a company cant make it you let it die obama admin dosent understand this or california for that matter thanks jack for telling it like it is

    May 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  161. Marc Savannah, GA

    It would mean that the liberal politicians and Hollywood airheads that have pushed the state to this point would experieince the misery that they are inflicting on the average Californian. The Govenator listed all the public services that would have to be cut, police, teachers, prisoner releases. Nowhere in this list of cuts is medical care and education for illegal immigrants that the state funds. Until useless programs like this are cut, California is doomed

    May 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  162. sally

    Hi Jack,
    The drastic cuts should start at the top, we should fire the people in Sacramento, or at least cut their saleries as they are the ones responsible for the debt we face.
    The illegal aliens have greatly contributed to this debt, they are sucking us dry, deport them. Keep up your great reporting.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  163. Gerry Erman

    California deserves what it gets. Monies spent on providing services for illegal aliens was their downfall and they saw it coming. Let the chips fall where they may. I would recommend that California sue the Federal Government for dereliction of duty for failure to control our international borders.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  164. Jack - Lancaster, OH


    The Pelosi vineyards would have to receive a bailout ?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  165. eric


    i'm loving it, this will stop the out of control spening..free medical for needy children?? how about not having children if your needy??Time to get real here..

    Menifee, Ca.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  166. Adam

    I think we would see a domino effect across the country if California went bankrupt. Maybe Nancy Pelosi should stop using Airforce One to get her nails done and quit worrying about insuring children of illegal immigrants. Maybe then we would be able to solve this financial crisis. But I guess taking vacations on Airforce One is a little more important than the trillions of dollars of debt this country faces.........

    May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  167. HealthyAgingByDNA

    It would be the BEST thing to happen to California in years. ALL of the State employee union contracts would then need to be renegotiated to bring them in line with the rest of us. No one ever mentions the cost to the State of uncontrolled illegal immigration. Anchor baby policies need to be changed along with eliminating providing, healthcare, education and other public services to non-citizens who have broken the law to be here. There are estimated to be over 600 million people in this world in similar circumstances to the impoverished of Mexico and Central/South America. Why should they get special treatment just because the have a common border with the US. The taxpayers of California and the United States can't be responsible to take care of the entire world and people from Latin countries should NOT get any preferential treatment. SECURE OUR BORDERS!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  168. WAYNE

    Jack, it would mean that illegal aliens would have to find another state to bankrupt. That's the price you pay, for being a sanctuary state!!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  169. Kevin ,Fl

    Jack , I speak as a former Californian. It would mean that "Arnie" finally screwed the honest hard working taxpayer in Calif for the last time with his charity to Illegals, Non Working welfare recipients, and Paying Beauricrats Million dollar salaries for doing next to nothing. It would mean the honest folks would leave......and youd have the new districto de Tijuanna , flooded with crime and drugs.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  170. Chris Parnell

    California's problem is the same as the US overall problem which can only be started to be solved after the biggest problem (Middle East) is solved. Because of the Bush Administration the U.S. Goverment has no credibility. I have a solution. Will anybody Listen?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  171. Roland(St George,UT)

    As a former Californian (fourth-generation native), it's time for me to speak up. For decades, California and a few other states have been sending a huge amount of tax dollars to Washington DC, money that has been used for God knows what, but it hasn't come back to California, that's for sure. It's time that some of the other (mainly Red) states who suck up government money like it was free air, to start carrying more of their own weight for things like their farm subsidies, FEMA costs, and highways/bridges to nowhere, et al. and it's time for Washington DC to start sending some of California's federal tax money back to California. (Roland/St George, UT)

    May 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  172. Bill in PA

    New news! California is bankrupt. It is all over but the defaulting on debt and closing state services.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  173. Lee From CA

    Illegal immigrants are not the problem here. Its the idiots who recalled Davis and elected that half brain moron Arnold who has no idea how government works. For all of you who dont live in CA I recommend that you go educate yourselves before blaming the wrong people! BTW as mentioned above CA DOES lead the trend so if we are looking at bankruptcy what does that mean for all you you who live in small honky tonk towns that dont matter anyways!?? Think about it

    May 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  174. Roger Lyons

    California has a Republican Governor and the Republican Answer to all problems is tax breaks for the wealthy, There is their answer.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  175. Cesar

    If California goes bankrupt, we would lose faith in the state. The hollywood movie stars have a lot of money. Why don't they bail out the state, if celebrities can afford to buy many houses, why don't they work together to bailout California and while they at it, have a recall election and tell the governor that he won't be back.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  176. Anna

    This just shows you that when you send all jobs to China and India that everybody is effected. This problem is not only with Califormia but with many other states. Our economy can not survive on service industry only. We need to produce things.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  177. John R. Brown

    California does not have to go bankrupt. All they need to do is strike a deal similar to the one Alaska struck with the oil companies and they would have access to unheard of funds. After all, there are wells off their coast that have already been drilled, all that's needed is to uncap them and do some additional infrastructure work and, voila!

    A country shouldn't cut off their own supply of energy as long as that energy source remains essential to its' well being. Elementary, my dear Cafferty!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  178. Keith S

    It means a lot more people in this country will be unemployed, which is the last thing we need. BTW What ever happened to The Governator's idea that legalizing marijuana might be a way out of debt?! I thought that was a good one...

    May 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  179. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It would be a hard way to discover from voters to officials how we have failed by not investing in values for real people from schools, police and fire protection, health services and decent roads and other infrastructures. It would be a hard lesson from the top down and from the bottom up!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  180. Dave

    Jack, it means that a lot of "Illegal's" will move to neighboring states and "suck" the life blood from their budgets and move on!! Free health care, food stamps and other perc's.... from an "open door" idiot, like Gov. Scwarzenegger.... only proves that Americans need to look after our own and ship the freeloaders back to where they belong!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  181. Eric

    San Quentin has 5,522 prisoners...not 40,000. And that is 40,000 system wide could be released.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  182. Bill

    from Amado, Az
    Jack This is a problem that exists to a certain degree in every state in the country right now. We want everything but willing to pay for nothing. Almost everywhere people are asking for tax cuts and screaming about tax increases. I see tax proposals happening all across the nation. Here in Arizona, there have been attempts to tax rental property. Other states want to tax satellite TV usage. The real problem is that people will always vote down any attempt to tax anything and will follow any politician thru lava flows if that person will promise income tax cuts. However, sooner or later, the bill must be paid for all that we want our local, state and federal governments to provide for us.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  183. Saree

    It's obvious that Californians don't care about themselves. They mention the first thing to go is education, the last is the police force. They throw each other in the tank and then complain that they cost so much money. Who do they think pays for all the prisoners? Their own three strikes laws is putting them in bankruptcy. It is apparent that the cutting of education is what their problem is, but they are all too under educated and stupid to do anything about it.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  184. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    It means that the rest of us could be waiting a long time for anything we're waiting for from California! I lived in California for 16 years, and we were always being told that the end was coming for the state and we would all fall into the Pacific! It is really bad there right now, and the worst thing the voters ever did was to elect a Republican governor! I'm afraid that there will be a mass exodus from there and everyone will feel the pinch.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  185. Eric

    It's a good thing. Maybe they will finnaly do what millions of others have done....live within their means!!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  186. JoAnn C in San Diego CA

    Jack, Tell President Obama we need help. Bail us out! Half of those prisoners in the jails are illegal immigrants who just happened to go over an unprotected border that the Federal Government did not take care of. Now we have a mess on our hands!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  187. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Maybe if they let 40,000 prisoners out of San Quinton, we can pay Calif. to take the Gitmo prisoners. They need the money.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  188. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA


    The same demons that dogged the Detroit automakers are crippliing California. The Governator and the other lawmakers refuse to deal with the unions and massive entitlement programs they have created. All the politicians in the state are bought and paid so no real change will happen until there is a total breakdown in civil services and the state stops making payroll. The greedy unions will not make any serious concessions until their paychecks stop rolling in.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  189. Randall

    CA doesn't need to cry wolf just yet. Arnold has left marijuana legalization on the discussion table. A yes vote could save billions in law enforcement and corrections costs, could add billions to the state treasury, and might even boost his sagging job approval rating. I would offer that the tongue-wagging is about to heat up. But you know, Jack, I think we should keep this logic to ourselves. If it gets out, every politician might want to follow Arnold's example.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  190. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The last time I visited California most of the hotels and gas stations were owned and operated by Mideastern people or Vietnamese. So maybe the time has come for them just to buy out and own California if it should go bankrupt.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  191. Rory Murray, San Bernardino, CA

    As a Californian, I am proud that the voters saw through the lies that the "Governator" and the greedy Teachers Union spend Millions of dollars to promote.
    The election pie chart shows that 56% of state renue comes from income tax. But 40% of the workforce in Los Angeles alone pay no income tax because they are illegal aliens paid under the table. They also send billions of this tax-free money back to their countries of origin, a further drain on our fragile economy.
    If any services are to be cut, let it be those given to illegal immigrants, such as bilingual education, translators for the courtroom and incarceration for those in our prisons. Send 'em home, seal the border and let's help California and America reverse this scourge.
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    May 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  192. Mary

    It dose'nt surprise me. Free education and health care to illegals can't last forever. People can't leave the state fast enough and no one left to pay for all the debt. I'm glad to say I don't live there anymore.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  193. Ron Temecula

    Hi Jack:

    If the politicians would stop fleesing the system, CA would not be broke. Does it make sense? Really how many residents do we have paying taxes here in CA? There is no logical reason for the state to be broke. The politicians and big business load their pockets while the poor and middle class pay. The solution to this is to force all of our legislators in Sacramento to work without pay or benefits for 10 years to make up for the losses their incompitence created. Then the state might recover.

    Ron Temecula, CA

    May 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  194. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    If California goes bankrupt, so too will the myriad of business that rely upon the infrastructure that the government provides.

    It's fire protection, police, highways, water, sewer, but most importantly – education.

    Without a steady stream of new, qualified applicants, these businesses will fail.

    Delays mean loss of business. Those delays most noticeably seen caused by traffic accidents, fires, floods, road and bridge failures are also caused by the lack of qualified workers who have the 'smarts' to operate in today's much more automated world.

    Please, California business, step up and volunteer to pay more in taxes. Those taxes are an investment in YOUR future.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  195. Michael H. Oil City, PA

    Let it fail. It is the 3rd largest economy in the world. If it fails, people will truly wake up Americans how hurting we are. It sadi to say but "freedom is not free". People have to realize from the ailing economy to the "ticking time" scenerio sacfifices have to be made, in even our open society. Hell, even putting the Gitmo detainees in the US is overblown, put them in the same cell in with the inmate that ate his mother's brain. It's all ridicules, people forget sacrifices much be made, if California goes broke, maybe just maybe people will start thinking in these terms.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  196. Steve from Menlo Park, CA

    If anyone would bother to check the bankrupcty laws of the United States, one would find that state governments are not allowed to file for bankruptcy protection (counities, cities, and other political subdivisions are allowed to file). If the State were to become insolvent, then it would mean that a priority for payments would be established as has been done in the past. Certain payments like interest on debt must be paid first, while vendors who have sold to the state would be the last to be paid.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  197. Yvonne White

    It would mean that we could finally recall the "terminator" for terminating the good quality that California stood for before he was elected. He said that he could do so much for this state but has done nothing to balance our budget. If he had left the additional $12 car tax in place, we would be in such bad shape. California might sink but we will come back sailing when he is out of office.

    Oakland, CA

    May 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  198. John Hodai

    California's bankruptcy would push the state to look at future programs that would save the state lots of money. Perhaps the California Air Resources Board would create a program to have more Zero Emission Vehicles on the streets and highways. Have car companies like GM create electric cars.

    It would be a great idea now that everyone is talking about gas prices and fuel dependence. The air would be cleaner, the auto industry would grow and oil dependence would decrease enticing other states to follow California's example. Oh wait! That almost happened in the 90s before the California Air Resources Board decided to reverse the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate.

    I wonder what would be of GM if they had kept building and developing electric cars instead of eliminating them in 1999 and buying Hummer.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  199. Dean H. - San Francisco

    it would mean the culmination of the failure of our legislative process. The legislature just went through a budget struggle in February predicting a $42 billion deficit, now only 3 months later there is another $21 billion in deficits. Either their forcasting was done by chimpanzees or they were lying.

    Since the state requires a 2/3 majority to pass a budget and state Republicans refuse to raise taxes we'll still be stuck in this spot even if the state goes bankrupt.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  200. Karl from SF, CA

    FYI: The 40,000 was state wide releases. The current population in California prisons is abour 250,000.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  201. William

    All this really sounds like something scary.

    But I will give you a scarier thought. Close your eyes and hold your bredth. Now just think....If Sarah Palin and JM were in charge right now.

    Now that's an more terrifying thought, aint it?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  202. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    It would mean that Arnold should have stuck with the movies. He new nothing about governing,especially responsibly. Let him and Maria throw in some of their own money to help the state of of this difficulty.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  203. Louise in Alabama

    Patrick Purdy In 1-17-89 in Stockton injured 30 kids and killed 5 at a school. All analytical psychological studies that have been done in each state for children and teenage crime rates that have gone up have been in direct proportion to the crashing of our nation's ability to maintain the strength of our country. These studies started in 1967. What California does right now will determine their crime rate in their youth. Since 1966 twenty two different years have experienced school shootings.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  204. Sandra Lynn

    If California goes bankrupt, it will be sad for all Americans, because California is supposed to represent the place where people can live out the American dream.

    Athens, Ohio

    May 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  205. Mark Hillman

    Perhaps California will finally have to put an end to their ridiculous three-strikes law and heavy-handed criminal legislation, which incarcerates guys for life for minor infractions and sanctions the California Department of Corrections' payroll gravy train, which is obviously responsible for California's pending financial train wreck.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  206. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    California will have to undergo a massive restructuring to free itself of the burden of all the union contracts and perhaps break up into many diffferent states as the responsible counties get tired of paying for the fiscal irresponsibility of the other counties. The state, as it stands today, is broken. Drastic measures are needed to change course and I know the solutions are not politically acceptable. We will limp along, probably getting Federal assistance somewhere along the way, until all avenues are exhausted, and the money will eventually all disappear.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  207. Donovan Hess

    Hi Jack!!
    This is what happens when you make California a sanctuary for illegal aliens. Let Gov. Arnold and others like him take the rap for sending California down the drain financially. Close the border and get the illegals out and put the money into education, emergency rooms, police, and firemen where we need it !!!We have tons of ESL free classes (english as a second language), why do we have to put up with dual-language expenditure? The tax payers don't need to take the burden for other peoples stupidity. Keep the fires under their feet, Jack.
    Donovan Hess – an independent

    May 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  208. John C, Troy, Michigan

    If California goes bankrupt it means a government body will finally have to reorganize and fix what got them into their financial trouble. Why treat California any different than any company that is forced to file for bankruptcy protection? Give them a chance to get their act together and if they can't liquidate the state. The people who live there will have to accept there is no "free ride". These are the same people voted down all the spending cuts and spending increases except for one. The rest of the country isn't responsible for the mess in the State of California, besides "The District of California" kind of has a nice ring to it don't you think?

    I just hope our President is taking notice, if this can happen to California which would be the 8th largest economy in the world, then it can happen to the Country as a whole. The people in California want the entitlements and refuse to give them back. The same thing is going to happen if the federal government implements a national health care program that can't support itself.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  209. David A Whitaker

    Hey Jack, if California gones bankrupt it would that the whole country will be in trouble.No way possible for one state to go belly up, and it want effect others states. Just like dominos


    Martinsburg, WV

    May 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  210. Denny Denend

    There would be no more movies? Illegal aliens from Mexico would have to find somewhere else to go?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  211. Kyle


    Now people can maybe catch a glimpse of what liberal idealogy creates when it comes to fruition (aka bankruptcy)

    Massive spending projects on unneccessary projects

    Social Services for all the people that don't contribute anything

    Constant tax breaks for people who don't pay taxes all ready

    a weak border allowing millions of illegal immagrants

    Crushing debt who's interest payments cripple any hope of recovery

    costly inefficient programs controlled by the state that could be better served by the private sector

    Well sounds like the country as a whole is on the right track? right?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  212. Sandra Lynn

    If California goes bankrupt, I think it will mean California is in a mega depression. It might mean living like people did in the Grapes of Wrath. Maybe people will have to find some of Grandmother's dust bowl dresses.

    Athens, OH.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  213. Rae from Indiana

    Didn't New York go bankrupt several years ago? They seem to be just fine. No doubt it will be the same for California.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  214. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    Hopefully it would be the warning shot for all of the other states and federal government that; yes, it can happen here. Maybe all of the gimmicks financial institutions create to separate us from our money would cease. Maybe we could go back to the mindset of my father's genneration: don't buy what you can't afford; pay with cash; save a minimum of 10% of your take home pay; and do not take on debt merely for the sake of taking on debt.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  215. dave

    That wouldn't be to good it's economy is about 8 or 9 biggest in the world. It would drag a few other states with them.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  216. Brian

    It would mean that they spent much-much more than they made and pretty well deserve it.

    California was central to the .COM boom and the realestate markets there? Central to the real estate boom. Boom and bust cycles always lead to bankruptsy. This is why the United States of America is bankrupt too.

    Californians should not bailout a bankrupt state. If they need to downsize public services, so be it. Release prisoners? Arnold, that is such a stupid statement driving fear into your people. Have you and the GOP learned nothing?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  217. huborgas

    Start at your house Arnold then talk to the rest of us that live in the state. Stop advertising for a state that is about to file bankruptcy. They are leaving and taking their money with them. Thanks for your time and ruining their retirement plans..

    May 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  218. Sandra Lynn

    It would mean one more disaster on California's plate, although Californian's seem to weather disasters quite well. Really, I think something is telling us there are too many people there to begin with. It will require more initiatives in working together and sacrifice.

    sandra, Athens, OH

    May 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  219. prasad

    File chapter 11, go into bankruptcy court and work it out with the creditors, just like any one of us.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  220. Paul from Phoenix

    It means it is time for the hippies to get a job.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  221. Tom, Switzerland

    Eventually they'll legalize pot, because they can't pay for pursuing marijuana prohibition anymore, it would bring the state $ billions and make many people happy in these hard times. Let's hope they wise up and see the light sooner than later.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  222. Jay

    It would indeed be a sad day if the state of CA. declares bankruptcy. State contracts would be renogociated,thousands upon thousands of jobs would be lost and vital services would cut to almost nill. Since Gov' Schawrzenneger took office in 2003, The California Govt. went from a budget of 73 billion to a budget of 140+billion which means the budget defficit has climbed to 50+billion in over 5 years. There is a lesson to be learned that most of us were taught in economics class to not spend more than what you have. You will end up borrowing money well into the future.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  223. Bubba

    "What would it mean if California went bankrupt?"

    More crappy action movies with Gov. Schwarzenegger?

    May 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  224. Karen, Nashville

    Jack, when I lived in California was appalled by what seemed to be a general asumption that everyone would always be looked after by the same "Big Brother" that they were, and are, so quick to criticize. Sort of like a state of teenagers. Maybe bankruptcy will force them to grow up and face the reality that ultimately, you only get what you can pay for.

    May 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  225. Karen - Missouri

    Another example of banks and credit card companies and the financial industry holding this country hostage!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm |