Tuesday, November 20, 2012

California: Canary in the Coal Mine

America's Future? Look to California

For those not paying attention, California became a one-party state this past election. The Republican caucus of the state’s House and Senate has shriveled to such insignificance that the GOP can no longer oppose anything.

The State of California:

"the state’s unemployment is among the highest in the country, and is trending down very slowly"

"Large parts of the state, notably in the interior regions, suffer unemployment in the 15% range and high"

"Old-style liberals might point out that California’s progressive policies have not done much for the working- or middle-class folks often trumpeted as its beneficiaries. Instead income inequality has grown far more than the national average."

"the state, with 12% of the nation’s population, account for one third of its welfare cases."

"Domestic migration has been negative for 18 of the past 20 years; immigration from abroad is at the lowest point in the past two decades."

"In terms of growth in college-educated residents, only San Diego managed to add more than the national average from 2000 to 2010; both the Bay Area and Los Angeles were considerably below." (See “The U.S. Cities Getting Smarter The Fastest“)

"California, remarkable for its population growth over the past century, now is heading toward “zero population growth,” notes economist Bill Watkins; the state now barely grows 1% a year."

"Los Angeles, the state’s largest urban area, grew less, in total numbers, in the last decade than at any time in the last 100 years."

Add to this their crushing structural debt, and well… You get the picture. Progressives have turned America’s promised land into hell on earth.  Today's Okies are heading in the opposite direction, with club-wielding state revenue thugs at the state line attempting to block their exit.

California is now a pure progressive experiment.  The Petri dish has been sterilized of GOP taint.  I can’t wait to see what happens.

* - All quotes are from Joel Kotkin’s article, The Crack Up of California. It’s worth a read.


J.O.B. said...

I've never understood the California Liberalization SF. Living in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, I am entrenched in liberal ideology. But outside of that, especially in Western and Southern Illinois. We have a big GOP representation. Does California not have this?

Always On Watch said...

There are quite a few conservatives in California, but they are vastly outnumber by the takers. In addition, even many California conservatives have a taker mentality.

In my experience, people from the West Coast are indeed from the Left Coast.

Right now I'm tutoring a very bright high school junior in advanced composition; she is from the area around Puget Sound. This young lady has a sense of entitlement like I've never seen! "I cannot write on that topic. Give me a different one," she declares on a regular basis. I then ask her to write on a topic of her own choice, and she replies, "I can't think of anything." At one point, she, with the consent of her mother, demanded, "I need a different approach. I can't learn this way." I calmly told her that quitting was her choice -- as is her future. Guess what? In a few days, she said, "I need to continue working with you."

Every single student whom I encounter from the Left Coast have this same attitude. WTH?

Bunkerville said...

The GOP signed their own death warrant. By agreeing that in the primary, the two highest vote getters would move on to the fall ballot regardless of party.

Divine Theatre said...

AOW, I could not do your job! This is home school:"Gracie, finish your French lessons in the workbook".
"I'm already done mom. I decided to work ahead on my math".
Can you imagine?
I take comfort in the fact that most of Illinois is RED, unfortunately I live among the seething BLUE masses. Sigh.

Always On Watch said...

Kalifornia Leads U.S. in Poverty

Always On Watch said...

Divine Theatre,
Actually, I have been working with homeschoolers since 1998. The aforementioned young lady is being homeschooled!

In fact, I teach advanced college prep courses to homeschoolers.

Since I began this kind of work, however, I have seen a terrible downturn in mindset. An attitude of entitlement has overtaken society as a whole -- even among conservatives and conservative Christians. As a result, the groups that I teach are shrinking in size because parents don't want their children held to a standard -- even though these parents CLAIM that do indeed want high standards.

Divine Theatre said...


My husband can attest to that. He arrests more than his fair share of entitled 16 year old brats. What's worse, is the single mothers who dial 911 because their son won't do his homework! Most of them have ziploc bags fills with physician prescribed psychotropics (the kids, not the moms). I digress.
Geesh! We are so screwed.

skudrunner said...

My daughter moved to California and has made the transformation to the dark side. I can't blame that solely on CA because that started in college with the pipe smoking professors.

California and the nation have a very big similarity. Both voted in twice a incompetent leader knowing what the results would be. Moon Beam believes all money is state money and bummer believes when your allies are in distress, go visit a dictator.

Jersey McJones said...

When I lived in the LA area back in the eighties, I did notice some systemic problems in California, but the the little buffet of empty "facts" presented by Kotkin doesn't tell you anything about those problems.

One huge problem CA has is it's lack of modern infrastructure. It was heavily developed for many years, and then it just stopped.

Commuting around LA for example, is a nightmare. I lived maybe 10 miles from my work, yet it took me an hour each way, double the time it took me to move roughly the same distance in the NYC area.

Then you have these exceeding wealthy enclaves here and there, surrounded by this endless working and middle class sprawl, developed utterly willy-nilly, dotted by essentially shantytowns. While you can make similar observations about most of the urban areas in the country, in CA it is strikingly pronounced. It is a truly disparate population.

The one thing I came away from CA with was the beginning of the end of my youthful libertarianism. CA truly is a libertarian nightmare, always has been. It doesn't matter which party is in charge, the results there are the same because of the fundamental political structure of the state, which long, long predates modern Democratic or Republican ideologies.

There is one other problem, however, and it's not of CA's doing. CA's economy, like many other big states, is sucked dry by the likes of the poor Red States, receiving only about 80 cents on the federal tax dollars it contributes, unlike most all the Red States, who receive more than they pay, often by far. If CA was receiving it's fair share (an it goes to show how little "welfare" is a part of overall federal spending), they'd be in the black every year.


Anonymous said...

California was hijacked by liberals/progressives years ago. For many years what starts in California soon spreads to the rest of the country. The state of California is destined to collapse under the weight of their bloated over paid bureaucracy. Only a quick glance at the city of Detroit, once a proud and modern city of two million residents, shows a hollowed out shell in terminal decay with now less than 700,000 ressidents. The progressive future for America is evident, isn't it?

Infidel de Manahatta said...

Is it too late to give California back to Mexico?

Divine Theatre said...

If California is Libertarian, then I am Kermit the Frog.

Divine Theatre said...

JMJ, maybe California needs to get some of those military bases, natural resources and federal prisons like the Red States?
Please, you embarrass yourself, my friend. First, calling California Libertarian and now this?

I had to suffer through a class on City Planning in college, in order to get my Political Science degree. The teacher did not show up for the first two classes. No note, no nothing. When she finally did show up she explained that the reason the bookstore didn't have the book required for the class is because she didn't know it was out of print. Planning indeed!
She worked as a City Planner in a nearby town. I finally saw WHO planned subdivisions ten miles from grocery stores, all the houses the same and not nearly enough roads to get in and out.
That class was one of Dante's circles of HELL.

OD357 said...

Infidel de Manahatta said...
Is it too late to give California back to Mexico?

I thought Kalifornia was the 32nd Mexican state.

Silverfiddle said...

"CA truly is a libertarian nightmare"

Put down the bong, Jersey. Libertarians do not redistribute and create gargantuan and Byzantine regulatory tangles. Basic libertarian economics says don't spend money you don't have, and don't pay people not to work. Libertarians would also not tell farmers that they cannot farm their own property, and they would not ban economic activity like energy that is politically incorrect.

California does all these things and more.

And for the last time, I'll ask you to stop using this blog as a billboard for lying red propaganda.

Like all leftist sound bites, your little Red State-Blue state talking point sound good on the surface, there's less there than meets the eye.

There are many factors affecting your simple-minded talking point, including number of retirees, military bases, national parks and other federal property.

Also, high cost of living states like California are going to pay more taxes because the wages have to be higher. Low cost of living states (people living within their means) will necessarily pay less taxes.

So simpletons on the left can amuse themselves with this factoid that correlates to absolutely nothing for their amusement, mostly because it helps you avoid the painful fact that progressivism has destroyed California and Illinois, and it's working hard to do the same to New York, the three biggest debtors in the nation.

Now, if you want to talk who mooches the most, go back and look at the California welfare figures. It's stunning.

FreeThinke said...

Methinks Jersey may have confused Libertarians with LIBERTINES, SilverFiddle.

What is a Libertarian who is also a Libertine?

Would he be a LIBERTINIAN? ;-)

The GOLDEN State most regrettably has become The Piratical PYRITE State.

Ah well, every dog has his day, and then he dies.

I do wonder how much longer even the Super Rich can hold out against the kleptocratic machinations of Marxian-Socialist-Liberal-Progressive-Statist policies?

Not even the mega-rich have unlimited funds.

There is only just so much platinum, gold, silver, and precious stones in the world -- and just s much oil and natural gas as well.

Even with full confiscation of all private wealth and 100% redistribution there still wouldn't be enough to go around.

All such a Draconian policy could possibly accomplish would be to make everyone on earth equally deprived.


~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

Low cost of living states (people living within their means) will necessarily pay less taxes.

People with less education and fewer skills.

Silverfiddle said...

How sneeringly elitist, Ducky.

Typical of the bourgeoisie bolshivik left, confusing education with smarts and common sense.

I've known quite a few highly educated leftists from my time in Latin America. They made for great and stimulating discussions among the unemployed.

skudrunner said...


Some people choose to live in a place they can afford and have a good lifestyle regardless of their skills and education. Austin Texas, reasonable cost of living and highly educated population. Some people choose to live is such places as MA where it cost twice as much to live half as well.

Skill and education have little to do with it but common sense does.

viburnum said...

Ducky: "People with less education and fewer skills."

And far less arrogance

Jersey McJones said...


I don't think you know very much about California.


Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: The bring the facts, big guy! Educate us.

I'm sure you know more about it than Joel Kotkin, who works and lives there and studies it as a profession.

Finntann said...

@People with less education and fewer skills.

Funny, I spent nine years in Massachusetts and my wife worked as a nurse out of Falmouth Hospital. Made better money than I did.

When we moved to New Mexico, she got out of nursing... why? Because they paid little more than minimum wage.

Hmmm... same education and skills, completely different salary. What's with that?

After I retired from the military and had already gotten a job, an old buddy of mine called me up and offered me a position at the NASA test facility in Las Cruces, NM... shall we say the offer was laughable?

Of course when I lived in NM we had a nice house on a fifth of an acre lot... mortgage payment was less than my car payment too!

Ducky, you need to get out more.

Kid said...

There is no doubt in my mind we must hit bottom now to have any chance for a turnaround. Sooner we get there the better.

Finntann said...

@I don't think you know very much about California.

Never lived there, probably never will, but our corporate HQ is in LA, and so are many of our clients, and I travel there often. I know this...

All everybody does is bitch about CA and LA (there are a few...and I mean few, exceptions).

They have great difficulty filling positions, few qualified people want to live in LA, and when they do get people to relocate, they don't stay long.

I've been offered positions in LA, the required salary increase just to compensate for the cost of living difference is 40%. As I've told people... 40% is the starting point, then we need to negotiate compensation for me living in LA... lets start at 80%. Needless to say, I don't live or work in LA.


KP said...

@J.O.B. << But outside of that, especially in Western and Southern Illinois. We have a big GOP representation. Does California not have this? >>

Here is an interesting fact given Sept of 2012: there are more registered Repubs than Dems in San Diego:


I have shared my opinions about Cali on this blog before. I was born here and have lived here for 57 years. This place is in deep shit trouble.

But other than that, SoCal rules. I live 10 miles inland from the beach, 35 miles west of a 6000 foot mountain and 45 miles west of the Anzo Borrego desert floor. We have variety and I ride my bike to all of them. And when I do I don't even notice the legislature f*ck-ups in Sacramento, the nudes in the city of San Francisco that are harrasing girls on the Bart trains on a daily basis and sitting on furniture in restaurants as they eat.

Nor do I pay much attention to the crook in LA, Tony Villar, who changed his name to Tony Villaraigosa before he ran for Mayor. It's funny, he changed his name by taking on his wife's maiden name (Connie Raigosa) and combing with Villar. Now he is Antonio as well.

Please read this article to understand SoCal politics north of San Diego:


Always On Watch said...

Low cost of living states (people living within their means) will necessarily pay less taxes.

People with less education and fewer skills.

Damn, aren't YOU guilty of stereotyping?

Craig said...

The Republican caucus of the state’s House and Senate has shriveled to such insignificance that the GOP can no longer oppose anything.

No one has brought up prop 13. Could part of the problem be that it takes a 2/3 vote to get anything done on revenues? You can lay all of California's problems on the left (some, deservedly) but it's probably more complex than that. They've had their share of Republican gov.s the last 40 years. R.R., Deukmejian, Wilson and Ahhnoldt. Aren't they responsible for anything? GOP obstruction? Initiative and referendum?

California is still the 9th largest economy in the world and solving it's problems goes beyond left, right orthodoxy.

I moved to Santa Clara in '76, established residency and attended SJSU for next to nothing. At the time, California had the best education system in the country. Although well intentioned, prop 13 changed all that. You lament the GOP not being able to block everything like they have for the last 40 years. Why not give the new paradigm a chance to play out before you pass judgement?

BTW, KP. NoCal rules. At least it did back then. Santa Cruz, and it's mountains, Capitola, The City, 9 mile drive, Napa Valley, Oakland. Okay, scratch Oakland.

Silverfiddle said...

Hi Craig!

Why not give the new paradigm a chance to play out before you pass judgement?

If you read the article, that is exactly what I am doing. The Dems now have a solid 2/3 majority in both houses. Not that they needed them. Didn't they just pass a big tax increase with the help of the GOP?

Silverfiddle said...

Also Craig, here are a few facts for you on Proposition 13:

Property-tax revenues in the state have increased from $4.9 billion to $47 billion in the 30 years since Proposition 13. Adjust those figures for inflation and population growth, and property-tax revenues in California were 87 percent higher in 2009 than they were in 1979, chiefly because of rising property values.

Census Bureau data show that California ranked tenth in the nation in 2007 in terms of per-capita receipts from all state and local taxes (property, income, sales, and excise taxes) paid by individuals and corporations.

Per-capita receipts from individual and corporate income taxes were 64 percent higher in California than they were in the rest of the country: $1,764 in California, $1,077 elsewhere. All told, California’s governments received $4,731 per resident from all taxes, 14 percent more than the $4,160 average outside California.

Please go read the whole article, Don't Blame Prop 13

So tax revenue has gone up, not down since Prop 13. It's the spending.

Silverfiddle said...

I moved to Santa Clara in '76, established residency and attended SJSU for next to nothing

Think about that...

Do you think that may be part of the problem? Nothing is free. Somebody paid for it! Think about how many taxpayers it took to pay for your 'free' college degree. And how many taxpayers it took to pay for all of your fellow students.

I am not busting on you, but simply raising the point. It was all a fantasy. No entity can continue handing out free stuff forever.

And thanks for dropping by Craig! You bring a fresh perspective.

Craig said...

And thanks for dropping by Craig! You bring a fresh perspective.

Thanks. I found your link at Joe's and decided to give it a click. Ya'll are open to discussion. Joe has gotten a little cranky.

Prop 13 was well intentioned, keeping people in their homes. The way it is structured seems to have some unintended consequences. Since property taxes can only be raised a 1% a year until the property is sold. The new buyer gets slammed now that taxes are assessed on the value of the sale. This is also a huge benefit to real estate developers and business owners who tend to hold on to their properties.

I'm sure revenues from property taxes have gone up. Since the housing crash, Cal has gotten slammed due to overvalued property. Taxes can't be raised by more than 1% a year but if values decrease, so do the taxes. I don't know the answer. There are pros and cons but it wouldn't hurt to revisit Prop 13. Warren Buffet advised Arnold to do just that.

Do you think that may be part of the problem? Nothing is free. Somebody paid for it!

Of course. I lived and worked there for a year before I started school. I worked while in school. I worked at a Jesuit cemetery, I've got stories. Anyway, California invested in a highly educated workforce. It paid back several fold. I would compare it to the GI bill after WWII. We invested in veterans education and got a huge return on that investment.

Silverfiddle said...

"I worked at a Jesuit cemetery, I've got stories."

Sounds interesting! I bet you do...

I don't know what the answer is either. Radical government transparency would be a great start.

I live in a very conservative county in Southern Colorado, and we overwhelmingly passed a tax increase on ourselves!


Because it was for the same organization we passed an increase for ten years ago, and they wanted another ten years. They did what they said they would do (Build and improve roads and bridges) and they told us what they were going to do with the money over the next ten years, listing each project by location.

They've been good stewards of taxpayer money, and none of us are anti-infrastructure, believing rather that that is a basic responsibility of government.

They had to ask because Colorado has a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). Big spenders hate it, but our state and local government operate in the black, even during hard times.

Silverfiddle said...

Craig: What is Joe's?

Can you provide a link?


Craig said...

Jo-Joe Politico

Huh, I thought I'd seen you there. Colorado, eh. Do you now or have you ever run a fiddle camp and do you have ties to Minnesota. Specifically someone named Al?

Silverfiddle said...

OK, I do show up there frequently.

There are about a million Joe's on the internet...

No, I don't run a fiddle camp and I have no connections to Minnesota, but given my last name, I don't blame you for asking.

KP said...

@Craig << BTW, KP. NoCal rules. At least it did back then. Santa Cruz, and it's mountains, Capitola, The City, 9 mile drive, Napa Valley, Oakland. Okay, scratch Oakland. >>

I agree, those areas are beautiful. I went to university at Pacific in Stockton from '74 to '78 and was on the campus at SJSU quite often for Spartan vs Toger basketabll and football games. As well as Santa Clara, Fresno State, USF, Berkley, Sac State, etc.

From the San Juaquin Valley it was easy to go to Tahoe or SF for weekends. Great bike riding atound east bay and Mt Diablo.

I am from Santa Barbara originally so I have a good idea of the south, the central and north central areas of Cali. It is a wonderful state when Sacramento politics are removed from the conversation :-)

A lot can be said about Prop 13 and the state's inability to raise revenue. But when we step back, Cali does raise a lot of revenue; we just spend more than we raise. I am of the mind that the state constitution may need to be re-written. It will be interesting to see how the news laws alter gerrymandering and whether we can elect more pragmatist to the legislature in an effort to save the Golden State's solvency.

San Diego came very close to electing a gay Republican for mayor a couple weeks ago. A very bright guy and one I voted for. But even he couldn't get gays to vote Republican!

Hope to see more of you here.