WHO: California’s unemployment insurance fund
WHAT: The state fund is facing a deficit of $1.6 billion by the end of 2009, forcing it to borrow from the federal government for only the second time since it was first established in the 1930s.
WHY IT’S HAPPENING: State lawmakers in 2001 raised weekly benefits to a maximum of $450, but did not raise the employer taxes that fund the program.
WHY IT’S A BAD IDEA: With state unemployment rates at a 12-year high, the fund paid out almost $662 million in July alone and already has a large backlog of applications and appeals. The deficit could reach
$3.5 billion by the end of 2010.