Want to know why the outlook is so dire for state and local government? Check out Steve Wiegand’s report in this morning’s Sacramento Bee.

And note, near the end, these two paragraphs:

“Even if legislators and the governor come up with another patchwork solution to cover the current $21 billion hole, the Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts the state will continue to run close to $20 billion-plus deficits through at least the 2014-15 fiscal year. And that’s the good news.

“The bad news is that the prediction assumes an economic recovery without deep or lasting relapses; lower state funding of K-12 schools and community colleges; no salary increases for state workers through 2015, and no costly new federal mandates for health care.”

California politicians ought to be talking about how to streamline government, eliminating the layers and layers of bureaucracy that have accumulated over the years. But most remain in denial. Change is difficult in the face of entrenched interests drawn to the illusion that nothing has changed.