Photo by California Policy Center / Depicted on the chart is the performance of the Dow Jones Index from 1995, when the markets began first showing signs of “irrational exuberance,” to the extremely exuberant present day. ■ Edward Ring, California Policy Center / Contributed Earlier this month, outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown predicted “fiscal oblivion” if California’s state and local agencies are not granted more flexibility to modify pension benefits. As if to help Governor Brown make his point, U.S. stock indexes took an obliging plunge. The Dow Jones average cratered in December, dropping nearly 16 percent in three weeks, from 25,826 on Dec. 3 to a low of 21,792 on
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