Skip to comments.There is no California
Posted on 08/16/2012 3:46:36 AM PDT by Kaslin
Driving across California is like going from Mississippi to Massachusetts without ever crossing a state line.
Consider the disconnects: California's combined income and sales taxes are among the nation's highest, but the state's deficit is still about $16 billion. It's estimated that more than 2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week to flee high taxes and costly regulations, yet California wants to raise taxes even higher; its business climate already ranks near the bottom of most surveys. Its teachers are among the highest paid on average in the nation, but its public school students consistently test near the bottom of the nation in both math and science.
The state's public employees enjoy some of the nation's most generous pensions and benefits, but California's retirement systems are underfunded by about $300 billion. The state's gas taxes -- at over 49 cents per gallon -- are among the highest in the nation, but its once unmatched freeways, like 101 and 99, for long stretches have degenerated into potholed, clogged nightmares unchanged since the early 1960s.
The state wishes to borrow billions of dollars to develop high-speed rail, beginning with a little-traveled link between Fresno and Corcoran -- a corridor already served by money-losing Amtrak. Apparently, coastal residents like the idea of European high-speed rail -- as long as noisy and dirty construction does not begin in their backyards.
As gasoline prices soar, California chooses not to develop millions of barrels of untapped oil and even more natural gas off its shores and beneath its interior. Home to bankrupt green companies like Solyndra, California has mandated that a third of all the energy provided by state utilities soon must come from renewable energy sources -- largely wind and solar, which presently provide about 11 percent of its electricity and almost none of its transportation fuel.
How to explain the seemingly inexplicable? There is no California, which is a misnomer. There is no such state. Instead there are two radically different cultures and landscapes with little in common, each equally dysfunctional in quite different ways. Apart they are unworldly, together a disaster.
A postmodern narrow coastal corridor runs from San Diego to Berkeley, where the weather is ideal, the gentrified affluent make good money, and values are green and left-wing. This Shangri-La is juxtaposed to a vast impoverished interior, from the southern desert to the northern Central Valley, where life is becoming premodern.
On the coast, blue-chip universities like Cal Tech, Berkeley, Stanford and UCLA in pastoral landscapes train the world's doctors, lawyers, engineers and businesspeople. In the hot interior of blue-collar Sacramento, Turlock, Fresno and Bakersfield, well over half the incoming freshman in the California State University system must take remedial math and science classes.
In postmodern Palo Alto or Santa Monica, a small cottage costs more than $1 million. Two hours away, in premodern and now-bankrupt Stockton, a bungalow the same size goes for less than $100,000.
In the interior, unemployment in many areas peaks at over 15 percent. The theft of copper wire is reaching epidemic proportions. Thousands of the shrinking middle class flee the interior for the coast or nearby no-income-tax states. To fathom the state's nearly unbelievable statistics -- as the state population grew by 10 million from the mid-1980s to 2005, its number of Medicaid recipients increased by 7 million during that period; one-third of the nation's welfare recipients now reside in California -- visit the state's hinterlands.
But in the Never-Never Land of Apple, Facebook, Google, Hollywood and the wine country, millions live in an idyllic paradise. Coastal Californians can afford to worry about the state's trivia -- as their legislators seek to outlaw foie gras, shut down irrigation projects to save the 3-inch delta smelt, and allow children to have legally recognized multiple parents.
But in the less feel-good interior, crippling regulations curb timber, gas and oil, and farm production. For the most part, the rules are mandated by coastal utopians who have little idea where the gas for their imported cars comes from, or how the redwood is cut for their decks, or who grows the ingredients for their Mediterranean lunches of arugula, olive oil and pasta.
On the coast, it's politically incorrect to talk of illegal immigration. In the interior, residents see first-hand the bankrupting effects on schools, courts and health care when millions arrive illegally without English-language fluency or a high school diploma -- and send back billions of dollars in remittances to Mexico and other Latin American countries.
The drive from Fresno to Palo Alto takes three hours, but you might as well be rocketing from Earth to the moon.
This is just another example of Liberals preference for equality of outcomes over equality of opportunity.
Much can be learned from failure, as I can attest to in my own life. The best lessons are usually the hard ones. Watching a fool can often help us avoid being a fool.
Mexico will eventually take the American southwest without firing a shot...
We (in California) used to have a part-time Legislature, ‘corrected’ if I am not mistaken, by Governor MoonBeam (first round). If legislators came for a vote and LEFT Sacramento to work real jobs, a whole lot could be changed. And the state would be flush.
Gorbachev once said this about Russia. What emerged, however flawed, was better.
Let CA crash and burn.
California deserves to eat its lunch. The LIBs are fools. There is nothing like a beaten-down fool. They must learn from their mistakes. Can you believe these Cali fools reelected Governor Moonbeam??????
You CANNOT petition the Lord Satan with prayer!
California needs to be fixed. They are the 8th largest World Economy. America cannot afford to let California die. We obviously cant afford to let them go down the road they are on. Something drastic has to be done....what is that? I wish I knew. But the bottom line is, We cannot allow them to fail!!!!
Are you kidding? That’s the beauty of federalism...allow the states to experiment. Some will fail in their efforts and others will prosper in theirs. If CA continues on the same path, there will be an even further exodus of the “producing class” and the state will go bankrupt.
The 40 year decline of Detroit should serve as an stark example to the voters of CA.
Yeah, we can ... gleefully.
My wife and I took a trip through parts of California two years ago. We drove out of the Sierras after visiting Yosemite through Fresno, Bakersfield, and other desert towns. (Actually, we were on the interstate, so we didn’t really see a lot of those towns.) I still remember driving into Barstow on old Rte. 66 coming back from Victorville. Southwest Barstow looked like it had been hit by a tornado. Junky houses and trash everywhere. I wonder what it looked like when the song first came out back in the forties.
We cannot allow them to fail!!!!
We cannot allow California to extort the rest of the states, most of whom try to live within their means and balance their budgets.
Are you saying that there should be no expectation of responsibility from California. Why should California even worry about spending and their deficit if they are rewarded with “we cannot allow them to fail” speech? We sure as heck can allow them to fail. That’s the only thing that will save the state. California legislature needs a massive failure on their hands before anything will improve.
“America cannot afford to let California die. “
“Too big to fail” is a dumb idea.
I think that may have been a federal court, and Gray Davis refused to appeal.
No, I was agreeing with your statement to napscoord.
The demographics and political ideology have shifted even further to the left since then
This isn't even close to the California that GHW Bush won in '88
It has to come to an end at some point--Texas, take note how big liberal cities can destroy the rest of the state...
I respectfully disagree. What are the real downsides to a bankrupt California? As a state, it would suck to live there. They ran a failed model and now they want a bailout. The purpose of Federalism is to allow the states to pursue different options: good, bad, or indifferent. But it would be better for the country if they do fail rather than draining the coffers of everyone else. Most of the productive people/businesses would move and so it would not greatly impact federal revenues.
Let them be the ultimate bad example... no one is too big to fail and you better get your house in order because the rest of us aren't going to pay for your stupid policies! Unless we let states fail they know that bailouts are always right around the corner.
Maybe it is due to the August recess, but it is really dead.
Three tables were sat at The Broiler steak house last night - being from Texas I am not used to seeing any restaurant that dead, even on a Wednesday.
A harbinger of things to come?
CA should be allowed to fail, if nothing else, to act as a testament to the rest of the nation. A failure of a large economy, large states are not unprecedented. The Civil War left the South in ruins for generations, but overall, the nation as a whole still grew economically. But unlike the South, CA will have no one to blame but itself.
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Bailouts have worke so well ever where else... Just a few more wind farms , a super- train , and more plastic bag bans, and CA be the 3rd largest economy in the galaxy!