We did a post recently about the problems of the California pension system. That prompted a somewhat lively discussion in the comments section about the population of California. Thanks to those comments, I was reminded of an article I read several months ago that is “exactly on point”, as we lawyers say.
It was an interview with Joel Kotkin, a renowned demographer, and self described Truman Democrat. He was also a guest on Jim’s show this past week. You can read the entire article here, and I encourage you to do so as I cannot do it justice in one post.
California’s population has increased by some 3 million people according to the last census, but, that doesn’t tell the entire story. According to Mr. Kotkin, California is rapidly becoming a state with only three classes of people…the very rich, middle class public employees and those on welfare. Middle class private sector workers, as well as businesses, are being driven out and relocating to other states for an assortment of reasons. Nearly 4 million more people have left the state for other states over the past 20 years than have moved into California from other states. Here is what Mr. Kotkin found.
On the housing front, the “new regime”, basically the progressives who now run California, are implementing their “smart growth” plans to “cram the proletariat into high-density housing” inland.
Basically, if you don’t own a piece of Facebook or Google and you haven’t robbed a bank and don’t have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak…
To which Mr. Kotkin says,
What I find reprehensible beyond belief is that the people pushing [high-density housing] themselves live in single-family homes and often drive very fancy cars, but want everyone else to live like my grandmother did in Brownsville in Brooklyn in the 1920s…
And then there is California’s “green energy” policy.
Housing is merely one front of what he calls the “progressive war on the middle class.” Another is the cap-and-trade law AB32, which will raise the cost of energy and drive out manufacturing jobs without making even a dent in global carbon emissions. Then there are the renewable portfolio standards, which mandate that a third of the state’s energy come from renewable sources like wind and the sun by 2020. California’s electricity prices are already 50% higher than the national average… [emphasis supplied]
Further, according to Mr. Kotkin,
Oh, and don’t forget the $100 billion bullet train. Mr. Kotkin calls the runaway-cost train “classic California.” “Where [ Governor Brown] with the state going bankrupt is even thinking about an expenditure like this is beyond comprehension. When the schools are falling apart, when the roads are falling apart, the bridges are unsafe, the state economy is in free fall. We’re still doing much worse than the rest of the country, we’ve got this growing permanent welfare class, and high-speed rail is going to solve this?”
And, were that not enough,
Meanwhile, taxes are harming the private economy. According to the Tax Foundation, California has the 48th-worst business tax climate. Its income tax is steeply progressive. Millionaires pay a top rate of 10.3%, the third-highest in the country. But middle-class workers—those who earn more than $48,000—pay a top rate of 9.3%, which is higher than what millionaires pay in 47 states.
So, the upwardly mobile middle class are leaving California in droves. There is no reason to stay…taxes are high, electricity costs are high, and going higher, and housing is unaffordable, unless you want to live in high density housing for the “proletariat” somewhere far away from the coast.
This post is far longer than my usual, but, there is a point to be made. If the progressive left is allowed to dominate this country, California is our future.
But we will have no where to go.