The year was 2002. Then-Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson was talking about a stagering deficit of $21 billion-with-a-b. So today's news of a $20 billion budget deficit is neither surprising, nor does it seem insurmountable.
It makes me wonder why in the hell we recalled Gray Davis, but then again, most things in Sacramento make me wonder about that.
I think my favorite anecdote from the 2002 deficit was: even if the state closed the University of California (no, all of it, every campus) AND Corrections (no, all of it, every prison), that would still recoup only about $9 billion. I'm sure you'd get more now, adjusted for inflation, but you can see the problem.
What happened between 2002 and today to help us end up back where we started? Then, dot-coms had busted, now, the housing market has busted. Then, we struggled and sweated through a nasty Sacramento budget season bargaining with the almighty [voter] that if they just let us make it through this, we'd do something to change the budgeting structure and our way of handling money.
And then . . . I guess we just got busy.
(but p.s. don't worry anyway, the Governor was just speaking rhetorically. It's not so bad - yet.)