California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (Paperback)
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Is California beyond repair? A sizable number of Golden State citizens have concluded that it is. Incessant budget crises plus a government paralyzed by partisan gridlock have led to demands for reform, even a constitutional convention. But what, exactly, is wrong and how can we fix it? In California Crackup, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul provide clear and informed answers. Their fast-paced and often humorous narrative deftly exposes the constitutional origins of our current political and economic problems and furnishes a uniquely California fix: innovative solutions that allow Californians to debate their choices, settle on the best ones, hold elected officials accountable for results, and choose anew if something doesn’t work.
About the Author
Joe Mathews is Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation as well as a fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion, Arizona State University. He is the author of The People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy, a columnist for The Daily Beast, a freelance journalist, and associate editor of Zócalo Public Square Mark Paul is senior scholar and deputy director of the California program at the New America Foundation. He was formerly deputy treasurer of California and deputy editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee. Mathews and Paul are authors of the article "How to Fix a Broken State" in the March 2011 issue of Boom: A Journal of California.
“Neither [then gubernatorial candidates] Mr. Brown or Ms. Whitman, as they attempt to blaze a trail to the governor's mansion, have suggested anything as sweeping as the proposals in California Crackup. Their own fixes, at best, will be technocratic—increasing government efficiency, for instance, instead of simply piling on more public funds. Still, both candidates may want to read the book's diagnosis of the potentially terminal problems that one of them is certain to inherit.”
— Wall Street Journal
“A timely book with a lot of important things to say.”
“Lucid analysis is spiked with wit and appealing turns of phrase that lift it above mere wonkery.”
— San Francisco Magazine
“Two of the shrewdest California-ologists now practicing . . . Mathews and Paul provide the best explanation we've yet had of the scope and sources of the state's governmental dysfunctionality. More important, they also provide the most far-reaching and thoughtful proposals for reinventing California's government—so far—reaching and thoughtful, in fact, that their recommendations should be considered in every capital where small-d democrats find themselves banging their heads against the wall in sheer frustration. . . . Theirs are certainly the best ideas for rebuilding California's government that the state has seen since—well, probably ever.”—Harold Meyerson,
— American Prospect
“An important new book . . . [revealing how] California needs to strengthen the power of its Legislature to legislate by requiring simple majorities for both budgets and tax increases.”
— Los Angeles Times
“A smart, good read that closely analyzes and traces the state’s political dysfunction, from the short attention spans of its constitutional framers to the intractable knots of political gridlock that bind it.”
— Santa Barbara Independent
“If you are interested in improving government—you should read the book . . . It reflects the spirit of innovation that was once part of the California story. This is what the campaign for governor should have been about.”
“If you’ve grown weary of California's annual budget stalemates and furloughs, if you're frustrated by the Legislature, if you feel California is broken, then California Crackup should be required reading. . . . The book is a concise and lucid analysis of how the state arrived at its current mess, as well as offering strategies to address what's ailing it.”
— Oakland Tribune
“A terrific book. Cataloging the multiple, inter-locking political elements that caused the collapse of governance in California, the two veteran political writers draw these pieces together into a lucid framework that offers not only a clear diagnosis, but also a serious prescription for what ails the not-so-Golden State.”
“What California needs, and what might just save the UC system, which is being eroded before our eyes, is a structural overhaul of our state’s system of governance. Mark Paul and Joe Matthews present a set of concrete solutions in their book."
— Daily Californian
“A great book; everyone who wants to fix California needs to read it.”
— California Journal of Politics and Policy
“A welcome attempt to stand above the political fray . . . Much of what Mathews and Paul do propose at the level of policy is indeed sensible and well justified. Their arguments on behalf of the need to energize the legislature are particularly important.”
— Southern California Quarterly
“Objective and at times humorous (if that’s possible) analysis of how California grew dysfunctional and what will make it functional again.”
— Marin Magazine
“A compelling book.”
— Vanity Fair
“Are we doomed to a government unable to accomplish anything, much less heal itself? Sometimes it does look that way. But the authors of California Crack Up do have some ideas about how to fix things, and some are pretty good.”
— Monterey County-Herald