In Olympics As in Federal Budget, California Bails Out America

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California, because of its governance and budget crisis, is often described as a weak state. It isn't. Indeed, California is covering the weaknesses of the rest of the country.

That's true when it comes to the federal budget -- California gets back far less for what its taxpayers send to Washington DC than other states do. (Before the federal stimulus and big deficits threw such figures out of whack, California got 81 cents on the dollar).

It's true when it comes to venture capital -- California gets about as much in venture capital investment as the other 49 states combined.

And it's true again when it comes to the Olympics. Figures show that Californians are responsible for 17 Olympic medals -- nearly twice as many as the next highest medal-producing state, Florida, which had 9 as of last count. (Thanks to Denver Post for its tabulations).

Yes, California has its problems. But when America wants to innovate, to push the limits, or to win at the highest levels, it depends on Californians.

Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

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