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August 27, 2009 7:56 PM   Subscribe

What do you do when your state's facing an $11 billion shortfall? Hold a garage sale.

Jimmy Kimmel's ad for the sale on YouTube

NB: "[They] do not accept cash for vehicles."
posted by HumuloneRanger (44 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this the new Deficit Bake Sale?
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:58 PM on August 27, 2009


That's... frightening, really. How bad must the situation be, really, if this is going to make a significant enough difference to be worthwhile?
posted by Dysk at 8:11 PM on August 27, 2009


God, that's depressing. And so is the garage sale.
posted by katillathehun at 8:20 PM on August 27, 2009


The budget situation is incredibly shitty.

I don't quite get the objections. Sure it might not make a huge difference, but there's some reason why they *shouldn't* be raising every penny they can to fund health insurance for kids and keeping state parks open?
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:34 PM on August 27, 2009


I wonder if they have any vintage computers. I always wanted a COCO 3.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:34 PM on August 27, 2009


Need a 2001 Ford Focus wagon with 110,059 miles and Schwarzenegger's autograph on the visor? Someone did, offering the high bid of $1,625.01 for the old state car as of Tuesday afternoon.

it's worth about $5000 blue book retail without the signature
posted by pyramid termite at 8:37 PM on August 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


I wonder why he's holding a giant knife in that picture from the LA Times article.
posted by shinyshiny at 9:05 PM on August 27, 2009


That's... frightening, really. How bad must the situation be, really, if this is going to make a significant enough difference to be worthwhile?

No, what's frightening is that in the face of a real fiscal crisis Conan the Governor (or his far-right puppeteers) are content with playing media games with state government. Hardly surprising really for the state that first elected first Bonzo the Chimp...

...but this is really the final coda of Reaganomics. What made tax reductions combined with the figments of democratic socialism in the US (aka the New Deal (tm)) work for thirty years A.R. (after Reagan) was the tax revenue coming from "capital gains" as the nation's wealth got sucked into the top tax brackets. states like california that instituted property-tax freezes became entirely reliant on *state* capital gains taxes. the exact same story is playing out in massachusetts the only difference is that it had less of of the state economy tied up in building houses. they just sqeeked through here in ma. with some real shell games played with the stimulus cash.

unless the real economy i.e. people get jobs and start paying income taxes, starts picking up soon, economic policy at the state level is going to be herbert hoover all over again. look for more state employees going on the unemployment roles, collapses in spending on infrastructure as the stimulus money runs out and isn't replaced, drastic tightening of state spending on health care which will make a joke of universal coverage... and more suicidal gamemanship from the Republican party.
posted by geos at 9:13 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the HELL California?!

I actually need a car. I've been looking on craigslist and other local places. I'm pretty up on things...current events, cultural events, news, memes, whatever...and this is the FIRST I've heard of this garage sale. And the craigslist and eBay auctions are already closed. I truly don't get it. It's like they don't want to win. They just want to throw up their hands and be all, "Well, we had a garage sale and nobody came!"

Actually though, I think lots of people will come. And buy the looks of that map, its going to be a total clusterfuck.

Sorry to be such a downer.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:18 PM on August 27, 2009


Also, my bf had a great idea. Buy a car and draw a big red circle with a slash through it over Arnold's signature on the visor. I am tempted to drive to Sacramento just to find a car that has the perfect signature for my new art project and mobile political statement.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:20 PM on August 27, 2009


Conan the Governor (or his far-right puppeteers)

Sorry to discount your boilerplate rant, but the "far-right" has pretty much nothing to do with Arnold.
posted by dhammond at 9:37 PM on August 27, 2009


Sorry to discount your boilerplate rant, but the "far-right" has pretty much nothing to do with Arnold.

Is there any other 'right' other than 'far-right' in California and by extension the US? But I don't know, you tell me who runs him... or is he mavericking around out there?
posted by geos at 9:46 PM on August 27, 2009


He's a conservative, sure, but people who are hardcore Republicans, the seriously far right? They generally think he's a joke of a fake Republican.
posted by dhammond at 9:49 PM on August 27, 2009


A garage sale sounds like a great idea. It sure beats what's coming down the pipe in our province to pay for the Olympics.
posted by Pseudology at 10:04 PM on August 27, 2009


Sorry to discount your boilerplate rant, but the "far-right" has pretty much nothing to do with Arnold.

That depends on your scale, really - I consider US Democrats to be on the right.
posted by Dysk at 10:10 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


As opposed to a joke of a real one? Or possibly a serious impersonation of a fake one? Or maybe, just maybe exactly what you said...a joke of a fake Republican.

I wish he had stuck to action films.

But seriously, when is this nightmare over?
posted by iamkimiam at 10:18 PM on August 27, 2009


Sorry to discount your boilerplate rant, but the "far-right" has pretty much nothing to do with Arnold.

he's certainly no social conservative, but he is a traditional small-government pro-business, pro-military conservative, a la Goldwater and his mentor Pete Wilson.

Granted, over the past 30 years what was the far-right has become the center-right to make room for the truly crazies among you, but I consider Republicans who want to dismantle the present system to be "far-right".
posted by @troy at 11:09 PM on August 27, 2009


Fucking hell. The auction is already over. And the garage sale is today.

Thanks for the fucking head's up, assholes.

By the way, any Portland (OR) residents interested in bicycles, they've got a Bianchi Eros and a Specialized Allez Comp ES SLX.

Also, any camera-buffs might want to take a look at cheap lenses (the bodies are probably worthless, but you can probably find some good Canon or Nikon glass in there).

And look at this sad sight. A direct results of people not wearing hats any more.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:03 AM on August 28, 2009


Arnold has been doing an incredible job. It's the dipshit voters that demand that he, and the Legislature, pay for things, without being able to raise money, that has gotten California into such a mess.

He's literally walked into an impossible job, and the voters have shot down anything even vaguely resembling sanity or fiscal prudence, and of course they blame him for it. Looking in the mirror is too damn uncomfortable.

Watch what California is doing closely. Very, very closely. You're going to be there too, when the Federal government starts to break down for the exact same reason. Will you step up to the plate and actually handle it like an adult, or will you insist, like California voters do, that they want all the benefits, but some other fictional people have to pay for them?

You're already holding your kids at gunpoint to pay for wars and bailouts and saving incompetent car companies. Are you going to retreat even further into fantasy, or actually wake up and smell the fucking coffee?

Here's a big hint: if you're in favor of the healthcare program, with the huge deficit spending as currently proposed, you are exactly like the voters in California. You'll take the huge meal on credit, and leave your kids with the bill, just like they did.
posted by Malor at 3:15 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Malor: Here's a big hint: if you're in favor of the healthcare program, with the huge deficit spending as currently proposed, you are exactly like the voters in California. You'll take the huge meal on credit, and leave your kids with the bill, just like they did.

Unless you're also for a rise in tax to pay for it, of course.
posted by Dysk at 3:33 AM on August 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Unless you're also for a rise in tax to pay for it, of course

I said "As currently proposed" for a reason: with the last numbers I saw, about a week ago, it's only about 75% funded. The rest is to be borrowed. And, of course, taxes never result in as much revenue as expected, so it won't even be funded that much.

It's precisely the same thing as what the voters in California are demanding -- more services than they're willing to pay for. And this is what happens.

Someday, it's going to be the Grand Canyon up for bid, not just a Ford Fiesta.
posted by Malor at 4:17 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uh, what do states normally do with surplus equipment?
posted by dirigibleman at 6:38 AM on August 28, 2009


Uh... Arnold ran on a combination of movie slogans and cutting motor vehicle registration fees. Since those fees were a progressive tax (rich people have nicer cars with bigger fees) that hauled in a lot of money, he proposed paying for the shortfall by selling state bonds. Selling the state bonds would double the shortfall, but shove it off several years down the line. This was such an obviously catastrophically stupid idea, that the ballot measure that passed it had a provision that it wouldn't take effect unless another ballot provision passed: rendering such plans illegal in the future.

You can claim that he has an impossible job, but I think that the balance of evidence indicates that he's part of the problem.
posted by Humanzee at 7:09 AM on August 28, 2009


Malor...what?!

You come to my school for a day and I'll show you around and then when its over, you tell me that Arnold doesn't have any direct or indirect responsibility for the absolutely pathetic state of the education system here (he has both, btw). I'll show you our library, which has been a tarp covered dirt pit for over a year now (the books are now in quanset huts in BFE off campus and the library is slowly being rebuilt). I'll show you my class schedule too...my fees have gone up by 30%, 1/2 my core classes needed for graduation have been cut, the teachers are reallocated and there are limited work study opportunities that we are all scrambling over. The professors have taken a paycut to go along with their increased class sizes and forced furlough days. In the bigger picture, there has been no new fall enrollment for the state system. That's right, 35,000 students did NOT go school on Tuesday. There is NO Freshman class at State schools in CA.

I went early on Tuesday. I was surprised to see the regular lot was full by 9:30. I went to the far lot, which I've only visited once previously in my almost 2 years at state (and it wasn't due to crowding). That lot was almost full too. I spent 30 minutes trying to milk the $1/hr. parking meter for the ticket I so desperately needed so as to not receive a $35+ one on my windshield on my return. The machines break frequently, and since their was now only 1 working at the time (at 9:30am), the line was over 50 students long, all late for their classes. When that machine broke too, we all left notes on our cars and scrambled to try to get seats in the classes left. A giant game of musical chairs for sure.

The sad thing is, in order to get from the far lot to the campus, you have to walk through the top level of the main lot, which is reserved for staff only. It was almost empty.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:41 AM on August 28, 2009


Motor vehicle registration rates in California are insanely high, at either 1.6 or 2%, depending on who you ask. And the funds aren't even used to fix the roads, which are in terrible shape. Of course people were pissed about the fees, because they didn't get service for what they were paying for. (In theory, the extremely high California gas tax is supposed to get used to fix the roads, but that doesn't happen either.)

Around here, I pay a little under a third of a percent, and they fix the roads just fine, even when they don't really need fixing.

Cutting taxes and issuing bonds to cover was very stupid, no doubt about it. I'm inclined to chalk that one up to the stupidity of a freshman governor just off the boat, so to speak. But note that Arnold, a Republican governor, asked the voters for six different types of tax increases to pay for the overall shortfalls, and they didn't approve any of them.

So, yeah, his particular decision was a dumb one, but the voters have complete culpability for the further disaster unfolding. And the same thing is going to happen with the Feds -- it'll play out differently, as they have to keep accelerating how much money they're printing to fund their borrowing, but we will refuse to face fiscal reality in the exact same way.

People crying about health care with the government books in the state they're in oughta be taken out back and given a good thumping.
posted by Malor at 7:46 AM on August 28, 2009


Also, I've gone to four different types of schools in CA in the last 8+ years (junior college, private vocational, UC school, State school). Schwarzeneger's signature is on my diploma, sadly. I've watch the system fall apart piece by piece. I also was an advocate for not closing the parks, saving the oceans, and many of the other CA things under threat due to these policies.

It's so bad now, my mind is in straight-up triage mode. I have no energy for the parks or oceans or other things. I am trying to get out of the CA school system and into a program out of state as soon as humanely possible. I'm willing to scrap everything. I'm convinced this mess can't be fixed in my academic lifetime.

And yes, I hold Arnie and his cronies responsible for what's happened here.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:48 AM on August 28, 2009


iamkimiam, I probably don't need to tell you this, but please don't engage the raving screwjob waving an ALL-CAPS placard at the passing cars.
posted by Skot at 8:03 AM on August 28, 2009


Great, so completely ignore the entire reality of the situation, which is that they HAD TO cut what they cut, because there was no money.

No money. No borrowing. No money means no spending. No spending means no schools. And there's no money because the voters refused to give them any.

But you insist on blaming Arnold.

Yeah, right, whatever. If I'm a dining room table, you're off in the ozone somewhere. It's all the horrible evil Arnold's fault that there's no money, instead of yours for refusing to raise taxes, or pass laws allowing them to cut things that hurt less.

Your problem is in the mirror. Look there for answers.
posted by Malor at 8:08 AM on August 28, 2009


[few comments removed - at the point at which you're doing the "you're an idiot.... fuck you" dance you need to go someplace else. sorry.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:09 AM on August 28, 2009


but please don't engage the raving screwjob waving an ALL-CAPS placard at the passing cars.

Yes, we crazy people who think you actually should pay for what you use, and take responsibility for your state's fiscal condition, are a scary lot, to be shunned and scorned.
posted by Malor at 8:11 AM on August 28, 2009


Yes, we crazy people who think you actually should pay for what you use, and take responsibility for your state's fiscal condition, are a scary lot, to be shunned and scorned.


Remind me again who agitated for Prop 13.

(Still, it passed with 65% of the vote. Way to go, attempt at direct democracy! Fucking stupid system, if you ask me.)
posted by HumuloneRanger at 8:27 AM on August 28, 2009


But you insist on blaming Arnold.

Well yeah, he is the one in charge and everything. But don't let that stop your ranting.
posted by Big_B at 8:41 AM on August 28, 2009


Prop 13 is just a measure to prevent the state from easily raising taxes without permission. It's got some definite problems and needs adjustment, especially around commercial property, but the core idea of the provision (not reassessing homeowners until they sell the property) isn't that terrible, and isn't itself a problem. As long as spending stays under revenue, it's not an issue.

But the voters refused to be chained to archaic and antiquated ideas like like balancing their budget, and living within their means. Prop 13's complete inflexibility on revenue, along with the total unwillingness of the electorate to be taxed, together mix in much the same way that a fuel-air bomb does. And the voters just refuse to deal with it. Even when confronted with an incredible crisis, they refuse new taxes and demand no cuts. This is no longer fiscally possible; the well is dry. There is no more borrowing to be had.

At the most fundamental level, California is breaking because its citizens are not paying attention. They've given their government an impossible set of conditions to fulfill, so it is failing, catastrophically.

Well yeah, he is the one in charge and everything.

He isn't in charge. His authority is very limited. California is a republic, not a despotism. If you're a voter in that state, the person is charge is you, along with about thirty million of your closest friends. He and the Legislature did their jobs and gave you six different ways to at least start dealing with the problems, and you refused all of them. They told you what the consequences would be if you failed to act, and you collectively chose those consequences over raising taxes.

If you're a voter in California, this crisis is all about you, not Arnold.
posted by Malor at 9:06 AM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


He and the Legislature did their jobs and gave you six different ways to at least start dealing with the problems, and you refused all of them.

Actually I did vote for all of them. You are right about the morons in this state though. Hopefully we can get some things on the ballot to repeal the ridiculous budget and proposition processes (HA!).

I'm really not all that versed in the history of our state and our politics to be able to argue about where the problems really lie, but it pisses me off to have people outside shouting that it's "all your fault" (like our relatives in Arizona), when some of us want it fixed but feel powerless.
posted by Big_B at 9:28 AM on August 28, 2009


I missed your answer regarding who agitated for Prop 13, Malor.
posted by NortonDC at 9:29 AM on August 28, 2009


People crying about health care with the government books in the state they're in oughta be taken out back and given a good thumping.

as our government spends trillions of dollars on military hardware, trumped up wars and bailouts

we've already had our good thumping, thank you
posted by pyramid termite at 10:10 AM on August 28, 2009


And yes, I hold Arnie and his cronies responsible for what's happened here.

Malor is right in that much of the ultimate blame for California's current position goes back to the voters who approved the various constitutional changes that made it nearly impossible to raise taxes in California while at the same time mandating that different chunks of the California budget be uncuttable.

Which isn't to say that someone couldn't have done a much better job than Ahnult, but the system falling apart piece by piece was a drearily predictable consequence of the constitutional changes put in place by the voters.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:59 AM on August 28, 2009


But note that Arnold, a Republican governor, asked the voters for six different types of tax increases to pay for the overall shortfalls, and they didn't approve any of them.

So it's pretty clear that you didn't read any of them, Malor. Here's an opportunity.
  • 1A had no effect on the current budget crisis, but it was a tax increase.
  • 1B was a short term fix, costing the state billions in debt servicing in the future. That is, it simply deferred the day of reckoning. Not a tax increase.
  • 1C was a reorganization and raid on the state lottery. Not a tax increase.
  • 1D, and 1E robbed Peter to pay Paul, where Peter was Mental Health Services for the indigent and California Children and Families Program for children under the age of 5. Not tax increases.
  • 1F prevent increases in wages for legislators during budget deficit years. Not a tax increase.
1F was overwhelmingly popular, and easily passed.

I think what disturbs me the most lately is the lack of honest discourse, almost everywhere.
posted by the Real Dan at 11:11 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I couldn't get this out of my head when I read this Poor California....
posted by Mastercheddaar at 11:52 AM on August 28, 2009


I agree, the Real Dan. Admittedly, I have no first-hand knowledge of California politics, but from my reading and discussions with friends there, it seems pretty clear to me that many of its problems stem from the voter initiative process. Direct democracy may work at the town meeting level, but it just doesn't scale. Attending various meetings in college gave me a lot of respect for Robert's Rules, and parliamentary procedure in general. It's occasionally frustrating, but it forces the group to think (at least a bit) more deliberately and rationally. Any system that allows voters to cast a decisive ballot on substantive pieces of policy without requiring any type of discussion or deliberation strikes me as completely reckless and absolutely batshit insane.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 11:54 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think what disturbs me the most lately is the lack of honest discourse, almost everywhere.

All of those things, Dan, were to hold the State together long enough to have the discussion about actually fixing the problem. You don't just wave a magic wand and magically repair a budget that size, particularly when it's in such a weird legal snarl of initiatives and regular spending bills.

You're being a bit disingenuous too; those aren't tax increases, but they most certainly are spending cuts, letting them reduce unessential programs to save core services. As far as I can tell, they did what was advertised; they kept the lights on until 2010. The voters opted not to do that.

"Robbing Peter to pay Paul" is exactly the process that will have to be gone through in California, assuming you collectively decide to maintain your expenditures at their present level. You have to take that money from someone. You say it like it's not acceptable, but that is exactly what you're going to have to do as you return your budget to something resembling fiscal reality.

There should be a passionate discussion about California's future going on among its citizens, and I'm just not seeing it. Even in the middle of this crisis, people are still refusing to learn how the budget works and the mess they're in.

The fundamental argument remains true. California is a republic, and its electoral processes remain, at least for now, trustworthy. At root, it's a failure of the people to pay attention and deal with reality.

I missed your answer regarding who agitated for Prop 13, Malor.

I dunno. I was like ten. What the hell does that have to do with anything?
posted by Malor at 6:58 PM on August 28, 2009


If the rest of the country has to bail California out, can we require them to adopt a sane state constitution? The other 49 states were also hit by the recession, had far smaller GDPs to start with, and came up with ways to handle the crisis through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that prevented a total meltdown.
posted by miyabo at 9:04 PM on August 28, 2009


From the looks of it, they've been selling 2005-2006 Ford Crown Victorias for $2000-$3000. These are cars that the state bought brand new only 3-4 years ago for $30,000+. Crown Vics are known for going countless years without trouble, just ask any taxi driver. Can't help but feel there's a waste of taxpayer dollars going on.
posted by dacoit at 12:22 AM on August 29, 2009




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