Less than 50 days away from complete bankruptcy, government meltdown and (possibly) another T-1000 attack, California faces a budget crisis the likes of which haven't been seen since World War II. Adding fuel to the proverbial fire is the fact that our legislature, in these dire times, is staying true-to-form, unwilling to compromise on the most miniscule of details("Diet Coke with that sandwich sir?" "Nay!").
Thus far, State Controller John Chiang has stated publicly that a budget is highly unlikely to pass on time, rendering the state unable to approach Wall Street with a viable credit-lending structure, thus limiting them to asking the Haight-Ashbury district for "meds".
Republicans in congress have stated that their demands are simple: Simply cutting any and all programs to help anyone ever. Once that is acheived, the state can pull itself out of debt and compromise on a budget. Then, down the road, we can focus on the shantytowns and post-apocalyptic roaming motorcycle gangs preying on the rest of the population.
Democrats have proposed keeping all of the programs (Including the expensive-but-necessary anti-zombie measures...just in case) and simply raising taxes. The Dems argue that once the average California citizen is paying $650 for a loaf of bread at the local Vons, we can pull ourselves out of debt and return to glory.
Minor relief is coming in the form of the housing market returning to a more normal state. Mind you, "more normal" than utter, suicidal chaos isn't exactly the rock on which to grow the economy (Can things grow on a rock?), but I suppose it's better than people trying to sell houses for a case of Amstel Light with the buyer still negotiating ("How about a 6-pack of Pabst?").
There is a bigger problem here than most citizens realize. When the public officials that we elect to help us in times of crisis are so focused on the politics of politics to pass a budget with a crucial deadline looming and the future financial situation of the state in doubt, the system has clearly failed us. Unfortunately, it's far too late in the history books to change it and, frankly, an Ancient Greek true democracy is not the answer ("I now present Chief Justice Carrot-Top."). The only real power the public has, is one that is utilized not nearly enough; The power to vote.
Imagine if California's citizens decided that they were going to vote every single member of the state legislature, regardless of party affiliation, out of office in the coming election cycles. How enormous of a statement would that be? Larger than the ego's of these "representatives" currently in power.
If California were a private business and the legislature was the finance department, every one of them would be looking for work or delivering pizza's right now. We learn as children to stop the petty squabbling and play nice when we're supposed to. We then re-learn as adults that the petty squabbling is what supposedly makes us unique.
If we're truly going to make a difference, ordinary citizens need to remember that the power lies in the hands of the many, not the few. Oligarchy be damned, California is in trouble and it's time for everyone to get involved.
Also, Sarah Connor, watch out for that T-1000.