California destroys the middle class
The new USC study pointing to a much-slower rate of population growth 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 better plan for the future. The rate of growth has slowed to about 1 percent a year, the result of fewer immigrants coming here and 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. Our leaders are battling new water-storage facilities and punishing farmers with absurd water-use restrictions. They impose roadblocks to 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. You can hardly call that planning....California has always been a magnet – a land that has attracted people from across the nation 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 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 established trends.
Four million more people have left California for other states in the past two decades than have come here from other states, according to demographer Joel Kotkin. The population growth has been coming mainly from immigrants and in-state births, 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....Liberalism is destroying the Golden State and the voters seem unable to free themselves from its grip. They keep electing liberals who keep driving them deeper in debt while allowing the infrastructure to crumble. I can understand why people are leaving. I don't understand why those who remain keep voting for the people making things worse.
This Gatlin brothers song was prescient.
Art Laffer explains what California needs o do.