Want to know the scariest thing about California’s historic drought? It is not that last year was the state’s driest since the start of record keeping in 1895. Or that this year is set to be even dryer. Nor is it the fact that the drought is so bad that cities are imposing $500 per day fines for violating water restrictions. It isn’t that thousands of acres of tinder dry forests have gone up in flames, that fish and wildlife communities are being devastated. Or that orchards and vineyards are being bulldozed, fields are lying fallow, rivers are drying up, thousands of workers are losing their livelihoods, or that food prices are rising as a result.
The economy shrank in the first quarter of 2014, marking the first contraction since early 2011, according to revised numbers released on May 29 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Gross domestic product, the widest measure of economic growth, fell at a 1 percent annual pace.