Just the other day, I was reading the latest depressing unemployment figures for California showing that the jobless rate was unchanged last month from the previous month -- standing at a devastating 12.4 %, with payrolls having shrank by almost 39,000 jobs in December.
The figures revealed that LA County's unemployment rate even went up slightly last month.
And, of course, these figures don't tell the real and full story since they don't reveal the unemployment rates for subcategories of California residents, such as teens and minorities, nor do they quantify what is known as the under-employment rate in the state -- those people who either have given up looking for work or can only find part-time employment when what they really want and need is a full time gig.
But even just taking the standard unemployment figure in California into account, the state has the fifth highest rate in the entire nation... only Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island and South Carolina beat us, according to an LA Times report -- but none of these states are nearly as large as is this one.
We also are, by some estimates, among only a handful of states that account for better than 50% of all home foreclosures in the nation... a rate that is still rising and promises to do so for some time to come.
I know we are getting federal stimulus money... billions, in fact. But it has been slow in coming and probably will prove to be too little to late.
How is it, one must ask, that a bank or insurance company or a brokerage house can be "too big to fail," getting the most swift and potent emergency care the federal government can offer, but a state such as California somehow does not seem fit to be able to bust into that elite club?
As many local and national economists I have interviewed over the past several months will tell you, the Obama administration's plans for any meaningful, national economic recovery simply can't take off without California (and a handful of other large, industrial states) helping to pull the other states along.
As goes California, so, too, goes the rest of the nation, these economists -- partisan and non-partisan alike -- believe.
With so much at stake, why isn't the President focusing more of his attention on California? In fact, in recent months, we've hardly seen the President here. He certainly found his way to California when he was battling Hillary Clinton for his party's presidential nomination. Hell, he even once lived in the Los Angeles area when he was an undergraduate for a time. I'm sure Air Force One has the approach charts needed to land at LAX or Ontario or John Wayne or San Diego airports.
The President has a lot of explaining to do, it seems to me, to the people of California: why a year into his presidency, a state that helped move him into the White House, is still reeling from the real-estate ignited recession that, in this state, shows little if any real signs of abating anytime soon?
Sure, this state has shot itself in the foot in many ways: We can't seem to pass a workable budget if our lives depend upon it... and, by the way, they, of course, do! And, our governor, who ran for office promising to clean up the mess in Sacramento, has ended up just contributing to it, his governorship a failure from start to finish.
That said, Mr. President, California is simply too big to fail. It needs your special attention and it needs it now!
In case your Air Force pilot is having some difficulty finding the place, from one pilot to another, I can tell him all he has to do is take off and head West. We're the state before the state where Mr. Obama likes to play golf!
Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has covered police and politics in Los Angeles since 1995 and is a regular contributor of investigative reporting to KNX 1070 Newsradio.
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