Imagine if you were elected to represent the people of a state like California, and you found yourself facing a state economy in shambles, where businesses were leaving the state or closing their doors altogether, where you had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, where unions and environmental activists dictated the rules to benefit themselves, and where the government had for years been squeezing the life out of property owners and businesses.

What would you do?

Would you lower taxes, create an environment for business growth, restrict union involvement in government and repeal repressive environmental regulations that prevent private property use?

Or would you try to raise taxes even higher and cooperate with federal officials in pursuing a destructive policy to “re-wild” your state’s rivers and other natural areas?

The liberals who run the state choose the latter.

In January, California was rolling toward a $9.2 billion budget deficit. Just four months later, Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown announced Friday that the state is actually staring at a $16 billion deficit.

The reason, as the Associated Press put it, is “because tax collections have not come in as high as expected and the economy isn’t growing as fast as hoped for.” (Look under the definition of “duh.”)

Gov. Moonbeam revealed his plan for dealing with this: Raise taxes. He warned if voters don’t approve the tax hike he’s putting on the ballot, public schools and colleges, and public safety, will suffer deeper cuts.

Yes, governor, that’s clearly the thing to do. When someone is sinking to the bottom of the ocean because there’s an anchor tied to his left ankle, you should throw him another anchor to help balance out the weight.

Besides, we couldn’t possibly cut any of the hundreds of useless state agencies that DON’T involve schools, public safety or throwing a meager but needed lifeline to millions of unemployed — agencies like, oh, the various Air Quality Management Districts, which have received fleets of brand new Priuses in the past several years so bureaucrats can ride around and ticket people who use their fireplaces when it’s cold outside?

To be fair, the state hasn’t generated all of its own problems, just most of them. Others have been caused by the federal government and the state has simply gone along with the agenda.

Which agenda?

So glad you asked. Agenda 21, of course.

That’s the United Nations plan for “sustainable communities” — read “global dictatorship.” The United States under President Obama is getting into full swing for implementing the far-reaching policies of Agenda 21, which the country signed on to under the first President Bush.

The current buzz phrase is “re-wilding,” which is a policy of returning rivers, lakes and forests to their natural state by removing dams, banning logging, mining and farming, and removing flood controls and water delivery systems.

The federal government is bringing “re-wilding” to local communities but sidestepping rules about cooperating with local authorities.

Traditionally, whenever a federal agent of any sort begins an investigation or project within the boundaries of a local government, the agent is supposed to give the local authorities a heads-up about his presence, his purpose and any other information they might need to cope with the circumstances.

The federal Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service have recently been circulating a Memorandum of Understanding that contains rules for helping the feds and California counties work together. Similar to previous documents and existing rules, the new MOU contains some subtle but key wording changes, such as replacing the word “cooperate” with “confer” under the section listing federal agents’ obligations to counties.

Meanwhile, the counties under the MOU are pretty much obligated to comply with federal rules, while the federal agencies seem to have the option of deciding if and when they will comply with local rules, even if a piece of federal land is clearly within local jurisdiction.

In short, the memo, which is expected to be adopted eventually by all 58 of california’s counties, comes from agencies run by unelected “czars” doing an end-run around congressional or state scrutiny to directly press local governments into “voluntary” compliance with the BLM and Forest Service as they pursue Agenda 21 goals.

This is all just path-clearing for the BLM and Forest Service, but it opens the way for speeding up “re-wilding,” which has been in progress for years and has helped drag California to the edge of the cliff.

The effects of Agenda 21 “re-wilding” is more obvious in the rural counties of the state than it is in urban areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Take Mendocino County for an example. Once a center for the timber and fishing industries, now it is neither of those things.

A few decades ago, Mendocino was home to hundreds of lumber mills. Now, there are only a handful. The fishing industry once thrived in Mendocino. The county’s last canneries have been shut down and dismantled, and there is a movement to declare a fish preserve off the coast from Mendocino to the Oregon border.

Consider Siskiyou County, which has been hit hard by environmental regulations that have shut down suction dredge gold mining, once a major industry.

The county’s ranchers have had to contend with the protection of mountain lions, which prey upon ranch animals. They also are facing the threat from federally protected wolves. Protected predators have decimated local deer herds, which used to draw tourism from hunters and their families.

The county may be facing the unwanted removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. This will not only affect water rights held by local growers for, in some cases, more than 100 years, it will affect the availability of water for irrigation, downstream flood controls and result in the loss of major “sustainable” power-generation sources, all so “endangered” salmon can swim upstream.

Siskiyou County accounts for 15 percent of California’s timber harvesting. Even so, in the 1970s, there were 17 sawmills in the county. At present, there are none.

Since 1999, 8,625 acres of land valued at $3.92 million have been converted to public land.

All of this regulation is coming in by stealth. It originates at the United Nations, is implemented at the federal level by “czars” and other functionaries who avoid the attention of Congress, then it is taken directly to local governments, officially avoiding scrutiny at the state level.

But the governor and Legislature know this is going on and are giving tacit approval to these tactics that ultimately restrict local control, and with it, they are approving of the attendant job losses and industry destruction.

So while California’s politicians complain about not enough tax money coming in and the state’s economy not bouncing back, they have no one else to blame but themselves.

The situation is similar in other states. Our freedoms and rights are being parceled out to foreign powers daily.

So what are we the people prepared to do?