Now is the time to blow up California’s government and start over again.
That’s the general idea behind the proposed constitutional convention, an idea making its way up and down the political food chain in the Golden State.
Given the government gridlock that’s led the state to the brink of insolvency — and perhaps over the edge if a deal is not struck after press time — starting over with a clean slate is not, on the surface, a bad idea.
California’s fiscal arteries are clogged, its government superstructure is way over-built and not nearly enough money trickles out of Sacramento and down to the places that need it the most.
The opportunity to reinvent a leaner and less costly, more efficient state government is part of the promise of a new constitutional convention.
But creating a new California government also will have to meet the political realities of the current scene. Labor and anti-business organizations are likely to use the idea of a constitutional convention to argue for more regulatory processes, more impediments to profit-making enterprises and fostering of entrepreneurship.
The radical anti-tax groups, with which we can express some sympathy, are likely to want to choke off funding for public education, preschool programs, colleges and universities and other programs that are the cornerstone of creating a more competitive economy in the future.
Sadly, no constitutional convention can address some of the fundamental problems confronting the state—a large illegal immigrant population, lack of ability to import skilled workers and researchers from overseas, flawed border security and frozen capital markets that are locking up the ability of California’s technology sector to raise capital.
Still, if the tasks ahead can be broken down into manageable form and if a convention can agree on reasonable goals—streamlining government, rebuilding infrastructure, doing no harm to higher education and innovation—a constitutional revamp might just be a way to reinvent the Golden State.
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