Recently I saw an editorial in the Christian Science Monitor asking the same question. Their short answer was "There's still gold at the end of the rainbow, but in this new version, you need to pay for it." The full editorial is available at the website below.
It is helpful and important to distinguish the state budget from the state economy.
The state budget remains in perpetual shortfall as I wrote in the last blog and we are no closer as residents to making choices to bring the budget into long-term balance than we have been during the past ten years.
But the economy does have long-term strengths. We are the trade, tourism and talent link to the fast-growing Pacific Rim. The stimulus package and long-term plans of the administration play to California's economic strengths in technology, design and innovation. State businesses retain a leading position in Internet-related activities.
The barrage of media stories about everyone leaving California are not supported by the data.
The good and bad news is that our future is in our hands. The Monitor editorial hits the right point. We need to find a budget that we are willing to pay for. But also important for the economy we need to invest (and pay for it) for our economic future. States, like companies and countries, exist in an "invest or die" world.
To make these investments residents need to feel connected to each other and to their and our future.
We have to see and believe in a better future for ourselves and our children and then make it happen.
But if opportunities make the Dream, then the Dream is very much alive for Californians if we make the investments to convert opportunities to successes.