The California Wipeout

Orange County files for bankruptcy after losing big on high-risk investments

Even though Treasurer Robert Citron was the only elected Democrat in the government of affluent and archconservative Orange County, California, he seemed almost to own his job. People liked his folksy habit of sending out tax bills with slogans that rhymed ("Taxes paid on time never draw fines"). And they really liked the remarkably high returns that Citron earned on the billions of dollars of county funds that he managed -- income that paid for such things as gang-busting police drives in a time of tight budgets. It was thus not surprising that Citron easily won a seventh term this year,...

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