Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

More Shouting of Default in a Dysfunctional State



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    PALM SPRINGS, CA - JULY 02: Wind-power generators are seen near the San Andreas Fault on July 2, 2006 near Palm Springs, California. Scientists have warned that after more than 300 years with very little slippage, the southern end of the 800-mile-long San Andreas fault north and east of Los Angeles has built up immense pressure and could produce a massive earthquake at any time. Such a quake could produce a sudden lateral movement of 23 to 32 feet which would be would be among the largest ever recorded. By comparison, the 1906 earthquake at the northern end of the fault destroyed San Francisco with a movement of no more than about 21 feet. Experts have concluded that a quake of magnitude-7.6 or greater on the lower San Andreas could kill thousands of people in the Los Angeles area with damages running into the tens of billions of dollars. The San Andreas Fault is where the Pacific and the North American tectonic plates of the Earth's crust collide. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    The latest person to make the irresponsible prediction that California will default on its debts is an analyst named Chris Whalen, who is managing director of something called Institutional Risk Analytics.

    California has profound fiscal troubles, but the notion of default is wildly outlandish, given the protection that bondholders have under the state constitution. Robert Cruickshank responds to Whalen and wonders about his motives here.