California Crackup (Paperback)

How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It

By Joe Mathews, Mark Paul

University of California Press, 9780520266568, 240pp.

Publication Date: August 4, 2010

List Price: 29.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Is California beyond repair? A sizable number of Golden State citizens have concluded that it is. Incessant budget crises plus a government paralyzed by partisan gridlock have led to demands for reform, even a constitutional convention. But what, exactly, is wrong and how can we fix it? In California Crackup, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul provide clear and informed answers. Their fast-paced and often humorous narrative deftly exposes the constitutional origins of our current political and economic problems and furnishes a uniquely California fix: innovative solutions that allow Californians to debate their choices, settle on the best ones, hold elected officials accountable for results, and choose anew if something doesn’t work.

About the Author

Joe Mathews is Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation as well as a fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion, Arizona State University. He is the author of The People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy, a columnist for The Daily Beast, a freelance journalist, and associate editor of Zócalo Public Square Mark Paul is senior scholar and deputy director of the California program at the New America Foundation. He was formerly deputy treasurer of California and deputy editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee. Mathews and Paul are authors of the article "How to Fix a Broken State" in the March 2011 issue of Boom: A Journal of California.

Praise For California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It

“Both [California gubernatorial] candidates may want to read the book's diagnosis of the potentially terminal problems that one of them is certain to inherit.”

— Troy Senik

“A timely book with a lot of important things to say.”

— Newsweek

“Lucid analysis is spiked with wit and appealing turns of phrase that lift it above mere wonkery.”

— San Francisco Magazine

“Two of the shrewdest California-ologists now practicing . . . Mathews and Paul provide the best explanation we've yet had of the scope and sources of the state's governmental dysfunctionality.”

— Harold Meyerson

“If you are interested in improving government—you should read the book . . . it reflects the spirit of innovation that was once part of the California story. This is what the campaign for governor should have been about.”

— Bill Boyarsky

“Objective and at times humorous (if that’s possible) analysis of how California grew dysfunctional and what will make it functional again. This new release is getting solid reviews from critics and readers alike.”

— Jim Wood

“The authors do a great job of explaining what has been done to try to control the [budget] beast and how it became a depressing example of the law of unintended consequences.”

— Royal Calkins

“A compelling book.”

— Michael Lewis

“An important new book.”

— Harold Meyerson

“An eminently readable treatise on our state's flailing government.”

— Aaron Sankin

“A concise and lucid analysis.”

— Byron Williams

“A smart, good read.”

— Jerry Roberts

“A terrific book. . . . Nice work, guys. Calbuzz sez: check it out.”

— Calbuzz

“This is a great book; everyone who wants to fix California needs to read it.”

— Garrett Gruener