The State is in Decline


Driven by the same policies that brought us the decline of Detroit and Cleveland, California is well on its way to reaching that declined state of affairs. 

Greece is well known for entitlement driven decay.   California ranks as one of the highest welfare states in the USA, one of the worst tax states, etc.   How bad is it and how far will it decline?  This WSJ article paints a bleak picture. 


California the Next Detroit?    Link


The state budget, mandated to balance by law, has been billions in the red for ten straight years. Yet Californians re-elect the same politicians, year after year, who produce budgets with multi-billion dollar deficits. California voters rejected Meg Whitman, the billionaire founder of Ebay, in favor of Jerry Brown. California now has a $16 billion deficit which “assumes” that California voters will pass massive tax increases on themselves. If they do not, the 2013 deficit becomes a mind numbing $20 billion. Yet despite the red ink, Governor Brown signed into law a “high speed rail” bill that will spend $6 billion on a train between Fresno and Bakersfield – not LA and San Francisco as promised. Polls turned against the choo-choo, but there remain no outcry from California voters.


California voters rejected Carly Fiorina, who ran Hewlett Packard, for Barbara Boxer in the 2010 Senate race. To protect the endangered Delta Smelt, a fish known better as bait, water has been diverted from Central Valley farms to the Pacific Ocean. Orchards in the Central Valley were allowed to wither and die resulting in unemployment in the Central Valley as high as 40%. Imagine Californians on food stamps, living in what was the fruit basket of American. 


California’s business climate now ranks dead last according to 650 CEOs measured by Chief Executive Magazine. Apple will take 3,600 jobs to its new $280,000,000 facility in Austin Texas – jobs that California would have had in the past. Texas ranked first in the same survey. California’s unemployment rate is consistently higher than 10% of its work force, and there are few jobs for college students who graduate with as much as $100,000 in student loans. Despite overwhelming evidence that bad public policy is chasing away jobs, the same state politicians are sent back to Sacramento every two years.


California’s public education system, once the envy of the world, now ranks 46th in the nation in per pupil spending and faces a $1.4 billion cut in the fall. In the last month, three California cities declared bankruptcy. More will follow. Take Poway for example. Its school board borrowed $100,000,000 (for 33,000 students) through a Capital Appreciation Bond. The politicians told the voters there would be no payments for 20 years. What they did not explain was the residents must pay back $1 billion dollars on their $100 million loan. Beginning in 2021, tiny Poway will be forced to pay $50 million per year in bond payments. Huge property tax assessments will be required if homes do not appreciate 400% by then, which is unlikely under foreseeable circumstances.  


Detroit was once the most prosperous manufacturing city in the world, a title later secured by California.    Will California follow Detroit down a tragic path to ruin? In 1950, no one could imagine the Detroit of 2010. In 1970, when foreign imports started to make a foothold, the unions and their bought and paid for politicians resisted any change. In the 1990s as manufacturers fled to Alabama and South Carolina, the unions and their political minions held firm, even as good jobs slipped away. No one in Detroit envisioned their future.


Today, California is following Michigan’s path with exploding pension obligations, a declining tax base, and disastrous leadership. Housing prices have fallen 30 to 60% across the state, evaporating trillions of dollars of equity and wealth. Unemployment remains stubbornly high and under-employment is rife. Do our politicians need any more signs?


Governor Brown’s budget will first slash money to schools and raise tuition on its students while leaving all 519 state agencies intact. He apparently will protect political patronage at all costs. Jobs, and job creators, are fleeing the state. Intel, Apple, and Google are expanding out of the state. The best and brightest minds are leaving for Texas and North Carolina. The signs are everywhere. Meanwhile, the voters send the same cast of misfits back to Sacramento each year – just as Detroit did before them.




Is Calif in decline and how far?