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How Big Government Is Killing California
Reason ^ | 04/28/2012 | Steven Greenhut

Posted on 04/28/2012 12:52:34 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

The new USC study pointing to a much-slower population growth rate in California has been greeted by demographers and urban planners as good news, in that it supposedly gives our state’s leaders a little breathing room to plan better for the future. The rate of growth has slowed to about 1 percent a year, the result of fewer immigrants coming here and so many Californians heading to other states.

“The cooling pace means the state, city and county governments and other entities will have more time to prepare for a bigger population than they did in years past, allowing for more effective planning,” according to the Los Angeles Times, paraphrasing the study’s authors. “That could ensure that new roads and parks, for example, are put in areas where they are most needed and where growth is likely to be sustained, they said.”

That’s an absurdly optimistic spin. California’s elected officials have been doing as little planning as possible, unless one counts planning to spend tens of billions of dollars the state doesn’t have on a high-speed rail line that will partially replicate what the airlines already do now. Our leaders are battling new water-storage facilities and punishing farmers with absurd water restrictions. They impose roadblocks toward building new highway systems and land-use regulations make it nearly impossible to build the homes and businesses necessary to meet the needs of a growing population. One can hardly call that planning.

The state is still growing, but this decline in the rate of growth is symbolic news: The California Dream is over. People don’t want to come here even though this is, with little question, the most beautiful state in the union. Americans -- even those who like to mock our state -- ought to think about what this means.

California has always been a magnet -- a land that has called people from across the country and the world. It’s a place that was known for its entrepreneurial spirit and open culture. But it has been turned into a regulatory and tax nightmare, a place where those who already have their money can live in their coastal palaces and enjoy the splendor of the landscapes, but where it’s unnecessarily difficult to move one’s way up the economic ladder. The USC study doesn’t reveal anything new as much as it confirms trends already apparent.

Four million more people have left California for other states than have come here from other states in the past two decades, according to demographer Joel Kotkin. The population growth has been coming mainly from immigrants and births from people already living here, but now the USC study shows that immigrants are going elsewhere. A cynic might say that California’s liberal elites have ended the state’s contentious battles over illegal immigration by destroying opportunities here.

Kotkin, an old-time liberal, sees troubling trends. “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,” he said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. “The new regime wants to destroy the essential reason why people move to California in order to protect their own lifestyles.” He says the state is run for the benefit of the very rich, the very poor, and public employees.

This is not a healthy society. And the demographic changes point to an aging population. Far from reducing the burdens on the state government, this will increase them. State officials are not building to meet future needs, but they have been squandering future dollars on excessive pay and pension packages for public employees. Look for a coming battle between services for lower-income Californians and retirement benefits for the most powerful special interest group in the state, public employees.

There’s no chance the state’s most serious fiscal issues will be solved or even addressed soon. Earlier this month, Democratic Assembly leaders announced that they have no time to deal with the governor’s modest pension reform plan. They do have time to deal with hundreds of other bills, most of which range from the silly to the crazy. What’s the chance they will handle any of the other issues restricting California’s economy?

Gov. Jerry Brown points to economic growth in Silicon Valley as evidence of the success of his policies, but that area is an anomaly. The rest of the state is struggling. The anti-business, anti-growth policies pursued by Brown’s party will not make the situation better. People fleeing California are small business owners, young families, and tax-producers. They also tend to be more Republican, which means that as the exodus grows, so too grow the state’s tax and political problems. There will be fewer taxpayers and less political competition.

California’s leaders want a slower-growing population. Many Californians, even more conservative ones, will be happy that there will be fewer people and less development. But it’s disturbing that California’s official policy has been to punish people who want to pursue their dreams here. The state’s draconian land-use policies involve limiting growth, thus inflating the cost of property near the coast and pushing less-affluent people inland and to other states.

“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,” Kotkin added, pointing to the “smart-growth” policies that dominate development decisions across California.

California remains a beautiful place, but it no longer is the destination for entrepreneurs, free-spirits, and dreamers. These are the fruits of modern-day progressive policies. This should be the cause of much sadness.

-- Steven Greenhut is vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: california; government

1 posted on 04/28/2012 12:52:39 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

If you’ve got to explain it to them, then don’t bother.


2 posted on 04/28/2012 12:56:57 PM PDT by Brilliant
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To: SeekAndFind

California has been dead for a long time. This report is old hat.


3 posted on 04/28/2012 1:01:33 PM PDT by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal The 16th Amendment!)
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To: All
This is the kicker...

The rate of growth has slowed to about 1 percent a year, the result of fewer immigrants coming here and so many Californians heading to other states.

Taxpayers are leaving in droves. The new arrivals are “gimmees”.

4 posted on 04/28/2012 1:05:45 PM PDT by az_gila
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To: unixfox

Here in the bay area, the liberals are constantly crowing that our area is growing faster than the rest of the state jobs wise, mainly because of the tech industry.

What’s funny is that literally everything else, we’re going downhill just like the rest of this screwed up state.

Just walking the streets of San Francisco I see businesses closing up shop, very few restaurants, a rejection of chain restaurants and big box stores...Which are huge job creators, here they are known as devilish.

It’s the “addicted to stupid” mentality of this state — the gas station nearby is $4.60 a gallon, and yet they still vote the same people in over and over again.


5 posted on 04/28/2012 1:08:08 PM PDT by CountryClassSF
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To: SeekAndFind
That could ensure that new roads and parks, for example, are put in areas where they are most needed

Yeah, all those old parks are just in the wrong places. I propose they take up debate about moving Yosemite to the Presidio in San Francisco and moving Sequoia to Griffith Park in LA. It would be nice having those natural wonders closer to our population centers where more people could enjoy them.

And why did they build that vast network of freeways in the remotes parts of rural northeast CA? Nobody uses them. Why didn't the planners consider building them where the people live? I guess we hired some pretty stupid planners.

6 posted on 04/28/2012 1:11:19 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: SeekAndFind

Ca is still a magnet because it’s a sanctuary state. Let’s see how that works out


7 posted on 04/28/2012 1:13:13 PM PDT by paul51 (11 September 2001 - Never forget)
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To: SeekAndFind

These Leftists will stop at nothing to fleece taxpayers. I predict that the CA government will try to find a way to tax out state residents that just attend conferences and business meeting in the state. So if you attend a meeting in CA, the CA IRS will contend that the meeting increased your income that you made in another state and therefore that income should be subjected to tax. If you make a dime off giving a lecture at a conference in CA, I do believe that the CA tax man cometh for as much as they want.


8 posted on 04/28/2012 1:20:38 PM PDT by grumpygresh (Democrats delenda est; zero sera dans l'enfer bientot.)
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To: CountryClassSF
they still vote the same people in over and over again

That's because the leeches that are somehow looting the taxpayer are now in the majority

9 posted on 04/28/2012 1:24:31 PM PDT by paul51 (11 September 2001 - Never forget)
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To: SeekAndFind
That could ensure that new roads and parks

new roads and parks? how about fixing the existing roads and reopening the state parks closed over the past two or so years?

10 posted on 04/28/2012 1:39:50 PM PDT by blueplum
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To: grumpygresh

The CA taxman will do what? If I lived in AZ and the CA tax man sent me a bill, that bill would go straight to the trash; are they going to try and cross the border and arrest me-—hardly.


11 posted on 04/28/2012 1:57:56 PM PDT by Joshua Marcus
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To: grumpygresh
"These Leftists will stop at nothing to fleece taxpayers. I predict that the CA government will try to find a way to tax out state residents that just attend conferences and business meeting in the state."

They already do. Look at hotel and motel occupancy fees, "entertainment" taxes, (Taxes on food in restaurants.), taxes on all the places like Disneyland, Sea World, tourist traps like "Cars of the Stars" Universal Studios, taxes on rental cars, taxis and on and on.

If you don't go, and most locals don't, you won't feel the bite. But, ask yourself whether an $80 one day, for one person ticket to Disneyland is all Disney greed, or are state, county and city taxes being passed on to the Griswalds, who are really getting reamed?

12 posted on 04/28/2012 2:01:18 PM PDT by jonascord (Any Democrat = Classic examples of the Downing Effect.)
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To: SeekAndFind

It is an interesting question, however, to figure out *how* California is going to economically collapse.

That is, not the bad decisions leading up to it, but the great events themselves in which their government and economy fall apart.


13 posted on 04/28/2012 2:14:03 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy ("God's light and God's life ooze over me like warm butter." -- Gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson)
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To: SeekAndFind
Four million more people have left California for other states than have come here from other states in the past two decades, according to demographer Joel Kotkin

So much for California dreamin'. A marketing success becomes a demographic catastrophe.

14 posted on 04/28/2012 2:22:37 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: paul51

The average liberal around here is manifestly concerned about “preserving women’s rights” (the media/hollywood left has brainwashed them into thinking there’s somehow a threat to women’s rights just b/c Republicans tend to think there’s something wrong with infantacide). High gas prices mean nothing now that Bush is no longer in office.

Hypocrites. I don’t know how I stand it here.


15 posted on 04/28/2012 2:24:45 PM PDT by CountryClassSF
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To: SeekAndFind

The Detroitification of an entire state proceeds apace....


16 posted on 04/28/2012 2:52:25 PM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: SeekAndFind
They also tend to be more Republican, which means that as the exodus grows, so too grow the state’s tax and political problems.

The crats only need to buy 51% of the voting stock to run the place. That mission has been accomplished. Their problem now is greed. Getting to 80% by luring more parasites and government hirelings will just bankrupt them sooner. Their behavior is irrational and self destructive. They need some management advice from their old country ancestors: the mafia.

17 posted on 04/28/2012 3:05:28 PM PDT by Reeses
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To: CountryClassSF
They are actually manifestly interested in keeping the regime in power and latch on to whatever rationale they can.

I don't know how you stand being there either.

18 posted on 04/28/2012 3:09:03 PM PDT by paul51 (11 September 2001 - Never forget)
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To: SeekAndFind

How The DNC Killed California is the true title!


19 posted on 04/28/2012 3:17:05 PM PDT by Pasadena2k
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To: All
He says the state is run for the benefit of the very rich, the very poor, and public employees.

This actually sums up the Democratic Party perfectly.

20 posted on 04/28/2012 3:46:26 PM PDT by Lysandru
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To: CountryClassSF
High gas prices mean nothing now that Bush is no longer in office.

I remember in the Bush years traveling around the Bay Area seeing bumper stickers that read, 'No blood for oil'. Dont see those anymore now that flim flam Bam is The Guru in Chief.

21 posted on 04/28/2012 4:22:14 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or tyranny)
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To: unixfox
Kalifornia is T-O-A-S-T....

The voters only have a long list of dead beats in the legislature and governor's office to thank for this one....

Let the state starve...and I live here...

22 posted on 04/28/2012 4:59:36 PM PDT by ptsal (E)
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