California Budget Solution
While I think the governor's proposal to force state workers to work two fewer days per month and give up the associated pay is reasonable, the powerful public employee unions may make that option impossible.
What to do?
A simple solution, and probably the only one that is likely to work, is to just stop delivering all of the services public agencies provide. Close state offices one or two additional days per week even while continuing to pay the employees. Ban overtime for all public employees -- even cops and fire fighters. Cut the school year by a month. Shut public clinics and move staff to the remaining locations. Halt public works projects. Everything.
It's distasteful to continue paying state workers even while they sit at home, and while our communities struggle with the challenges of reduced public safety resources, poorer education, limited health options, etc. But if the unions will not budge to help California remain afloat, we have little choice but to accept the reduced services. And when union contracts expire, the state should negotiate clauses allowing more flexibility in the face of economic emergencies.
In the meantime, shutter offices. Turn off electricity. Cancel landscaping and custodial contracts, etc. And for those sites remaining open, ban air conditioning and heaters, and instead allow casual dress to include shorts and T-shirts or sweatshirts and jeans.
It's too bad public employees, much like their UAW brethren, refuse to chip in keep their employers afloat. As a consequence, we'll all just have to learn to make do with less.