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Time magazine called the Vallejo neighborhood watch groups -- and the increased level of prostitution -- an indication that "things could get pretty crazy in other cash-strapped cities across the country." It is also a preview into how it might play out: a desperate struggle between public sector unions moving Heaven and Earth to keep their wage, manning, and pension levels in the face of a shrinking budget.

When President Obama recently characterized the Republican Party's vision of America as being every man for himself,  where "everybody is left to fend for themselves, everybody makes their own rules, a few do very well at the top and everybody else is struggling to get by ... their core vision for America," one would have thought he was talking about bankrupt cities in California or perhaps Greece after decades of socialism. The aftermath of a collapsed welfare state isn't the "traditional" American society of white picket fences and frame houses peopled by Bible-clinging bigots. Not at least in the first instance. In any case it has to pass through the Mad Max stage of neighborhood watches and truck gardens. Not "I'm from the government and here to help you," but a world where ordinary people say "where is the government, we're here to help it." And oh, they still have to pay taxes. To pay off the debt, of course.

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