Why California is No Longer a Paradise

People are leaving California and the once golden land has begun to decay. [h/t Intapundit] What happened?

“We’ve lived off the investments our parents made in the ’50s and ’60s for a long time,” says Tim Hodson, director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. “We’re somewhat in the position of a Rust Belt state in the 1970s.”

California has followed the grim path of the Great Lakes states.

As I wrote before, those states where once the industrial dynamo for the entire Earth, yet they destroyed that enormous economic dominance by political policies hostile to economic creativity. Likewise, California had a golden era as an economic and cultural dynamo. Well up until the late 1980s California was the place to go to make it big. People moved from other states to California. Now, internal migration has reversed. California looks less like a dreamland and more like basket case waiting to happen.

It seems that in post-New Deal America, economic and civil success sow their own seeds of destruction. When things are going good, socialist experimentation seems harmless. A booming economy can pay for increased government spending and an ever-increasing scope of government power. Eventually, however, socialism strangles the economic engine and destroys civil society. 

I think Texas may be the next boom state and I hope we escape this trap. One would think that socialism would not gain a foothold in independent minded Texas, but California was once a land of rugged individualists too. 

[update 2008-1-23 4:03pm): Check out this letter from Gordon Clark explaining why he can no longer afford to manufacture surfboards California. Surfbords. In California. Nuff Said.]

82 thoughts on “Why California is No Longer a Paradise”

  1. > California was once a land of rugged individualist to.

    It’s been quite a while, though.

    “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”
    – Frank Lloyd Wright –

    Since Wright’s been dead almost 50 years, that’s a long time for all the nutjobs to fester and propagate.

  2. Obloody Hell,

    California has long had a reputation for quirky behavior. Kipling said, “San Francisco is a mad city – inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people whose women are of a remarkable beauty” Even so, California was known as a land of energetic, insane people. People got things done in California. California was mad but madly productive.

    California’s dominant political culture has now turned hostile to economic creatives. Now California is insane and inept.

  3. The problem is similar to what has happened in New Hampshire. Liberals fleeing the People’s Republic of Massachusetts settle in NH, where the motto is “Live free or die”. The problem is that they bring all of their liberal ideas, turn the state from red to blue, and destroy the quality of life.

    Liberals are like locusts: they move in swarms, consume every available resource, and move on – leaving behind a vast expanse of destruction.

  4. I came to California in 1956 to attend college. My children would not recognize 1956 California. It is sad but I am hoping to leave once I can sell my house. I had a child in high school or would have left before the bubble collapsed. The new problem I find is the hostility to all things California in neighboring states as they fear (rightly so) that Californians will do to them what Massachusetts refugees did to New Hampshire. Oregon and Washington have little to fear as they are far along the same path but Arizona, where I have another home (soon the only one, I hope), has reason for concern. Janet Napolitano is leaving a large budget deficit behind her and there is a collective sigh of relief as she goes to DC.

  5. All of which is why I despise democracy, at least the version that calls for the universal franchise.

    When the mob realizes it can vote for bread and circuses, it will.

    A simple proposal: You no pay taxes, you no vote.

  6. So, will all of y’all who’re fleeing California stay the hell out of Jawja. We really don’ need yer socialist ways. We’re happy enough bein’ moonshinin’, banjo playin’ crackers who pay almost no taxes to the State Gu’mint, and suffer almost no regulation in return.

    Y’all taxed and regulated y’selves into a Terminator-overseen Judgment Day, and we don’ need any of that shit.

    Stay the hell out of Jawja, y’hear?


    In all seriousness, I truly hope that the people currently fleeing California are producers in favor of low taxes and low regulation, not looters in favor of high taxes and high regulation. No doubt I will be disappointed.

    I remember, years ago, having a conversation with a Canadian woman, come south to work at BNR in Norcross, GA. She was living in Forsyth County, and while she appreciated the low taxes, she bemoaned the lack of government (taxpayer-funded) services. Though fairly smart, the link between government services and taxes apparently had not occurred to her. One day she remarked to me that she couldn’t wait for the day that Forsyth County had enough people who thought like her, so they could completely change the county.

    Fortunately, Northern Telecom (majority owner of BNR) went Tango Uniform and had to shut down operations in Georgia – and importation of Canadians – before she could get her wish. That was a near miss, let me tell you.

    For myself, I live in DeKalb County, and we have enough looters already, thanks very much.

  7. i have had the privilege of living in a number of different places and it is my observation that moving doesn’t really solve much. you essentially trade one set of advantages and disadvantages for another.

    the first thing one needs to do is set an attitude that allows one to live happily wherever one happens to find oneself. then, work to change those things that need change, or ignore them and become, to the extent permitted by law and big-brother, insular.

    my hope is that the pendulum will eventually swing back from the intolerant liberal fascism we currently endure to some form of sane conservatism. i am not holding my breath.

  8. I hope you’re right about Texas, Shannon. Unfortunately, I see some worrying signs of encroaching socialism even here in Texas. I’m hoping the crazies stay in California and only the “Texans at heart” darken our collective doorstep.

  9. There is a small museum in the California Adventure theme park next to Disneyland. It fills the queue space where the tourists wait to get on the “Soaring over California” attraction. It tells the tale of the aerospace industry which produced The Spirit of St. Louis in San Diego, the Dauntless dive bomber and the DC-3 in Long Beach, the Mustang in Van Nuys and dozens of other aircraft. Lockheed, Grumman, Hughes, Martin, Douglas and others provided the sword of victory in World War II and the expertise that led us into space.

    Now the liberals are doing everything they can to kill of the computer industry in the Silicon Valley. Given their past success, it is only a matter of time before they succeed. The next Apple Computer will start up overseas.

  10. Chickens always come home to roost. The issue now, and the task most important above all others, is to drive home the point that it is these very statist policies that are causing the problem.

    As we have seen in the current bailout frenzy, a concerted effort was immediately undertaken by the statist opinion makers to place blame on the victims of these corrosive economic policies, the creative businesses, large and small, who provide both the jobs and the wealth that finance all state functions.

    This will not be easy, but it is possible. There must be a concerted and competent effort to put forward the non-statist explanation at every opportunity, in every possible venue.

    Ane, most importantly, this must include the schools and universities. I fear we have already raised a couple of generations of youth whose curricula were so “dumbed down” and multi-culti trendy that they are only vaguely aware of the history of this country, the west, and the Enlightenment movement towards individual rights and limited government.

    This educational suicide must be countermanded. A highly technical, self-governing society cannot function if the populace knows little or nothing about the principles from which its wealth is derived, and the coherent rationalism upon which those priciples are founded.

    The old line is, “A fool and his money are soon parted”. Unfortunately, that applies very much to rights and liberties as well.

  11. Unfortunately it is true. I’m a native Angelino of 65 years. What a difference, especially the City of Los Angeles. It is geared totally to attracting the down-and-out, the dependent and those on the West Side who revel in being “edgy.” I am hoping the suburbs will wake up once the State crashes, and by all accounts, it will fairly soon. It is quite depressing and painful to watch a once great city settle into less than mediocrity.

  12. Patrick and others…

    The people fleeing California tend to be the ones who want opportunity. We appear to be keeping the illegal immigrants and socialists, unfortunately.

  13. I have no doubt that once Texas becomes prosperous enough, political and social decay will follow. Until now, most of the wealth there came from oil and cattle. Both sources of income are precarious enough to keep their proprietors on their toes. Security produces complacency, and that’s what dooms wealthy civilizations.

  14. One more item from the native Californian, my grandson is the only one in his kindergarten class who in not in ESL (English ad a Second Language) class. This is 20 years after the big amnesty started and all of the “little amnesties” that followed. Apparently, our “community” was not worth saving and now there is no one left to organize. The “Culture of Corruption” is all about having laws that don’t apply to certain groups, like politicians and illegal immigrants.

  15. Indeed, Texas is doing relatively better during the present downturn, and that probably is the case thanks to less regulation and less taxation here. As to the future, well, it is common enough to hear our state capitol Austin referred to as Moscow on the Brazos, even thought our legislature only meets every other year.

    Another way Texas can head south is a rot starting within the most populous cities that will not fail to infect the whole state: The urban cities and counties, except for for Fort Worth, have already turned blue as regards voting for judges and other such locally elected officials. That is happening by immigration and births, but also because of “flight” by conservative (i.e. sane) people escaping to suburbs or incorporated cities within the afflicted counties. The cities will rott in the usual way…bad judges…bad schools…deficits & debt crises…political corruption.

    A third way Texas can go south is by imposition of federally created burdens. Politicians in other states and at the federal level probably think of Texas as competing “unfairly” for jobs, companies, capital etc, through the lower taxes and regulation hered, and of course thanks to our “Right to Work” laws. Rather than free their own workers and companies from the unions, they already seek to impose those same burdens on Texas. That is part of what the “card check” effort in Congress is about. They want to hamper investment and job creation in Texas with the same sort of burdens they have allowed to ruin their own economies.

  16. Company that I do consultant work for in Sacramento is getting ready to close shop and move to Franklin TN – Owners have had it with the “leadership” in California. That State has to be the most unfriendly towards business – heck they pay $25,000 a year in Workman’s comp, for a forklift Operator which cost less than a $1000 in TN for the exact same thing. That is 150 more jobs leaving California – Sad thing is that their current employees do not even know it yet – They soon will and I am guessing you will here their cries from here. Good Luck for the rest of you in CA, my guess is your job will be next

  17. “I think Texas may be the next boom state and I hope we escape this trap” I hope so too, however it is not looking good for Texas. Texas is turning into a “bluer” state; more Democrats were elected to state offices in 2008. There are many people from CA relocating to places like Austin and turning it into their mini-California. Kay Baily Hutchinson the Republican Senator is retiring to run for governor leaving the seat open to contest for the Democrats. Finally, the unchecked, unrestricted influx of illegal immigrants, who are illiterate, uneducated, uninterested in learning English, and unwilling and unable to educate their children are dragging down the Texas K-12 school system and healthcare system. Lots of poor people coming to Texas with the government’s blessing and support and segregating themselves while asking American citizens to change to accomodate them looks like CA to me.

  18. Patrick from Jawja,

    Some of my productive kin recently moved near Hotlanta and love the place. I still like the southwest but am trying to decide whether non-Vegas Nevada or Aridzona would be the best place to escape the madness emanating from LA, the Bay Area, and Sacramento. The problem is all the family, including grandkids, we have still stuck here.

    My major gripe is the large quantum leap one has to make in a business to step from a one man shop to employing a crew. The mandatory expenses would require me going straight to 5 people and finding enough work to keep them busy before I could break even. Whenever I hear a talking head bemoan the unemployment rates or illegal immigrant labor I want to throw something.

    Trapped in climatic paradise and politico/economic hell
    California Native

  19. This is serious. A tax increase in CA (on top of Sarbanes Oxley already) will KILL Silicon Valley.

    And no, Silicon Valley will not move to Austin. It will move to Asia instead. Always remember that about half of the workers who make Silicon Valley happen are from India and China, and thus could easily go back there if it makes economic sense.

  20. Hey Patrick we used to call BNR “Brains Not Required” Northern Telecom became Nortel which is itself about to go Tango Uniform. She is not indicative of all Canadian. Most, but not all. Matt in Canada. First Krispy Kreme i ever had was in Macon.

  21. California’s demographics are converging with Mexico’s. Hence, California’s economy will converge with that of Mexico. This will lead to a severe decline in California’s properity (and a slight rise in Mexico’s prosperity), but since Mexico was 3 times the population of CA (without accounting for Mexicans in CA), the covergence point is closer to Mexico.

    Silicon Valley will move to Asia. To some extent, it already has.

  22. I live most of the year in Arizona. I have done that for over 5 years. We have many California residents here now. For the most part they are fleeing California for the many problems described above. Most are conservatives who know the state of California is in decay. I am a native of Colorado. Don’t move there if you are trying to escape the liberal thinking. Colorado has a liberal gov and a VERY liberal mayor in Denver. Lots of bleeding hearts have ruined what once was a lovely, quiet city. We now have sanctuary city problems with over extended social services. Add in lousy schools, crime problems..Well you get the idea. Colorado has been Californicated. Too bad it once was a lovely place. If Arizona goes bad on me I am in big trouble. But, it could happen.

  23. Bryan Travis said:
    “…it is common enough to hear our state capitol Austin referred to as Moscow on the Brazos…”
    Last time I checked, the Colorado runs through Austin. Waco and Texas A&M (whoop!) get to lay claim to the Brazos. However, the sentiment remains. :-) Having lived in Austin for twenty years, I’ve just learned to tune most of it out and to go about my business.

  24. There is huge growth in the California economy–

    underground, untaxed, and (lower-taxed, easier-to-hide/deduct expenses) “independent contracting”

    If you’re a hustler, you’re fine, but if you actually want a “normal” job with some stability, get thee gone, there’s no future in that, plus even if you do have that, you’re taxed to death.

    The best move is to find a rent-controlled apartment, suffer in it for a few years, sublet it to some sucker (there’s an unlimited supply) who is coming to California for the “experience,” and use the profits to fund your excursions hustling up and down the West Coast (i.e. selling/trading stuff, like repo’d cars and houses, freelance gigs, etc).

    Just like hunter-gatherers, that’s what Cali’s reverting to, a post-industrial nomadic society where only the dimwitted pay taxes and try to settle down.

  25. Dear Matt,

    Hey! I worked for BNR! Did the TL/1 interface for the AccessNode, and ran all the Bellcore interoperability testing!

    Of course, I’m Irish from the motherland, not Canadian.

    I moved on from BNR before the apocalypse. It’s a European thing, I think, being able to see the storm clouds gathering.


  26. I’m one of those “crazy” fiscal conservatives that moved from Texas to California in the last month. Why? Having lived here before during past recessions, I realize that when the headlines are “Everyone is leaving California”, that is the best time to move here and get a house. California is boom and bust by its nature. I grew up in the rust belt — when i go outside, it doesn’t take very long to realize I’m not in the mid-west (which is why it will ultimately be a desireable place for people to live). Call me back in 2 years and see what happens…

  27. Ben,

    Texas is “going blue” in the last election primarily because it was so very red (and recently, at that) to begin with. Been here since 1986, and I’ve seen a slow and then accelerating movement to the GOP column in the last 10 years, some push-back toward the blue side is inevitable. That being the case, there are Republicans in other states that would be uncomfortable in the Texas state Democratic caucus, which is likely to the right of some northeastern GOP delegations.

    The 2008 election is unique for one reason: Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. It was such a game-changer that an unfunny SNL writer made appears to have made it to the Senate. Texas is no different.

    As to the immigration issue, it’s impressive what a negative incentive an economic downturn is to immigration. Texas has had less of one to this point because our real estate market (outside of Austin) was not Californicated like other parts of the country, and $150/bbl oil means lots of smiling Texans. The natural gas people keep finding huge deposits, first the Barnett Shale, and then the Haynesville Shale we share with Louisiana, so our economy is well-buffered. Immigration is a problem when it’s not followed by assimilation, and Texans are for the most part pretty pro-assimilation.

    The rotting from the cities out in terms of crime, schools, etc. is already well-established, the worst job in education in the nation has got to be the Dallas Independent School District superintendent. Making peace in the Dallas School Board would be great training for anyone interested in less-thorny racial issues, like the current issues in Gaza, or apportioning blame for the Rwandan genocide.

    At least Texas is still and likely will continue to be pro-business. The absence of a state income tax is good, the new as of a few years ago “business activity tax” is less-good, but still better than most.

  28. As a 5th generation California native, I can give you some data points.

    During the 80’s in computer boom, hordes of east coast bean counters and lawyers came as some of the California
    companies got acquired and went public. I remember these guys hating everything about California and wanted
    all of us to change. Well it looks like they got there wish.

    Everyone I know that is from a “Native” California family can’t stand what has happened to California, as they are
    all much to the Right of the transplants. But what are you going to do when you walk down the hall of your place
    of work and find only 1 out of 5 are California Natives. (And I don’t mean Barbra “I am a native Californian” Boxer
    who was born in New York).

    I talk to friends in Reno NV, and they are now feeling the liberal requests from all there new transplants who escaped
    high taxes in California.


  29. It is unfortunately true that the very people who ruined other states moved to California, to take advantage of a better-run state, with the predictable result: The better-run state is now run down. Ultimately, there will be no better-run state because the national government will implement mediocrity nationwide. Then we shall either foment a second American Revolution or move to a less moribund country, if one remains.

  30. Shannon,

    While the reasons the you have articulated are correct, you missed the big ol’ fat pink elephant in the corner… Illegal Aliens.

    If California were to terminate all non-critical services to Illegals and charge the Illegal Alien parents of Children for the gobs of extra services required to educate them, California would be well on it’s way to solving many of it’s budgetary woes.

    This action on the part of Californian politicians would take guts, something they are in short supply of.

  31. I am a NJ surfer and my brother always used to ask me about Clark Foam (which had 80% of the surfboard core market)- which where down the street from him in Laguna Niguel. One day Clark shut its doors and sold all their equipment.

    He sent a letter out to his valued customers stating why he was leaving them high and dry- Its on the web just Google “Gordon Clark letter”. It basically states how California had changed from a pro-business- pro manufacturing state into a regulation-litigation hell. Remember- he had 80% of a thriving industry! Look it up-

    California doesn’t want businesses- it wants luxury homes for the nation’s trust fund babies and the lawyers/advisors who serve them.

  32. “California looks less like a dreamland and more like basket case waiting to happen”

    We’re already there and have been for some years.

  33. “Chickens coming home to roost” indeed. California was a solid Republican state until it was thrice overrun by the underclasses of the very states whose residents are whining the most about folks moving back from California. First came the Okies, Arkies, Texans and other Dust Bowl losers with their eat the rich politics. They were followed by other fortune-seekers who turned screwdrivers in California’s WWII and Cold War defense industry and also had left-leaning confiscatory politics. In between came those who demobilized after their WWII, Korea or Viet Nam military service and migrated-in-place to California rather than returning to their home states.

    Every time you people who resent the lousy weather of the state you’re stuck in spit and hiss at migrants from California, just remember: you’re welcoming home one of your own in your typically uptight, resentful way. God bless y’all.

  34. I was one of the lucky ones, been in California 56 years, married a native, went to work in a great company and had a great life. California is like that old “boiling the frog” analogy. The water here is at full boil and all the frog taxpayers are trying their best to get out.

  35. Hi Shannon,
    I moved to the Bay area during my “wild-twenties” after spending most of my life overseas. The year was 1992. My first week in San Francisco, I registered my vehicle at the DMV and opened a bank account at the Bank of America branch on Divisidero.

    While standing in lines in both buildings I was struck by just how much the ambience, architecture and attitude of the people behind the counters reminded me of the third-world nations I had recently left. The tellers and DMV people appeared bored and unconcerned with providing speedy service, the buildings had a late-fifties, institutional feeling to them – blank walls with scuffed linoleum and a moldy smell pervading the places, and I wondered immediately if I hadn’t entered a backwards time machine that had spit me out in a fifties’ Cuban sanitarium.

    I left for the fresh air of rural Sonoma County two years later, wondering what it was that excited everyone about the place so much. It sports the highest cost of living on the planet except for Tokyo. Petty crime, pan-handling and angry racial-ist resentment rear their heads daily in the Western Edition, the Mission District and along Market Street. And Summers there are abysmally cold, as the region is shrouded in a cold misty fog every day, except for a couple of weeks in September – if you’re lucky.

    Call this a rant. It’s taken a decade for folks to begin to smell the rot, but this belated realization may finally be the first step to fixing the town’s problems.

  36. Texas can run but not hide. No state is safe from 8.5 trillion and rising in federal obligations.

    That said, I’d looked to San Diego as a possible retirement location. I fear it won’t be safe to move wealth there and Texas, Alabama and Arkansas are starting to look more promising.

  37. Pretty soon, the only thing left will be the maggots.

    Californians are flooding Nevada bringing their insane voting with them. Nevada, moving from Red to Blue will soon have a Federally Funded Museum Celibrating Harry Reid and the “Mob”.

    You would think liberals would wake up and vote right – they just leave what they have ruined and move on and vote the same insane way.

    I guess we can thank Government Schools, Seniority and Union Payments to our “leadership”.

  38. Texas’ economy is quite diversified, but one reason we haven’t had the bubble…is because we already *did*. Texas suffered terribly from real-estate idiocy much earlier, and we have some serious regulations to keep it from happening again.

    Texas is by no means a laissez-faire paradise, and hasn’t been for years and years.
    It is, however, a reasonably-run regulation state showing a few cracks here and there in the seams. Most illegals from Mexico gradually assimilate (very common to see the linguistic stereotype, with their kids not speaking Spanish) so long as they’re nowhere near the Houston corridor. But Houston….well, God bless’em, but Houston is Houston.

  39. I’ve lived in Texas, CA, and now live in NY. The CA I miss no longer exists, and the Texas I hated now looks like nirvana. NY is hell. The problem with socialists, as so many have observed, is they soil their nests and move to new, clean ones, and soil those. They keep migrating and leaving destruction in their wake. It seems somehow inevitable this will happen to Texas.

    There is no running from madness. Civilization contains the seeds of its own destruction indeed.

  40. First we were careless, allowing public employee unions to gain remarkably generous and expensive contracts. They can now retire at age 55 with 90% of their last year as a pension. These are “vested” rights I am told: cannot be altered except in bankruptcy. So my pension is shredded: i work to fund theirs.

    Most work lots of overtime their last year to assure that their pension is essentially 100% of their regular salary. But we had money so it was OK. In 2002, Schwarzzeneger tried to crimp public employee unions and they literally funded the most awesome TV campaign you’ve ever seen. oters were hoodwinked and voted down “mean” efforts to deprive cops of pensions–and the rest of the pencil pushers that never did more than sit in an office. you have no idea how much f thebudget this takes.

    Second, illegals began pouring in. They were uninsured and didn’t speak much english, but they worked hard, were friendly fine people and no one felt good about “sending them back.” Only the crabs whined about it. We had money so it was OK. Now many public schools are 95% “spanish spoken at home” and we are educating another country’s kids, providing medical acre to their citizens and US citizens wait for trauma care because its hard to find now. The ridiculous excuse for a newspaper, the LA Times, thinks this is great, and if you aren’t happy you are a mean rascist. But now we really have no choice. These kids will all be adults one day and we can’t very well have them sick and ill-educated.

    Third, somewhere somehow those supposed to be the “leaders” thought it was OK to spend and tax like no tomorrow. Workers are stressed? take a year off with pay. A budget shortfall? raise taxes! The voters capped property taxes–so the state landed on businesses and income taxes. Other than TJ Rogers, our businessmen are wimps.

    Fourth, our state GOP lives to oppose gay marriage. It has become as irrelevant to most voters as GM to most drivers.

    Sad. Its a great state with great people. Most work hard and want to enjoy their families (except in SF where they hate families.) No one has time to camp out in Sacramento and monitor the plundering legislators. Our newspapers and professors all think higher taxes are a terrific idea.

    Our businessmen helped this happen: illegals worked for low wages; our liberals helped it too–they had no idea of the culture they were unleashing; they wanted to be thought of as progressive. Our “journalists” think its fine too. Our high schools, almost immune to public influence from emre parents, teach diversity all day long but not a thing about a state budget. At age 18 they are ready to vote and ignorant of what it entails.

    don’t let the nose get under the tent flap.

  41. 1.) Economic freedom.
    2.) Success!
    3.) GovCo demands a percentage.
    4.) GovCo like! Suppresses further change.
    5.) Stagnation. But ruling class lives well.


    Texas will be no exception.

  42. As a transplant from Kansas that lives in california the disconnect between democratic, liberal majorities in the state house and our bankrupt state is confounding. My democratic friends are still trying to figure out how to blame it all on bush rather than grapple with a bloated state budget that rewards underperforming teachers unions and state employees, while driving away industry and commerce with loopy environmental mandates. They are p*ssed at the republican minorities for not helping in raise taxes!?!? Their touching belief that more tax payer dollars will solve our problems is disturbing in its own right. I’d move if I could. At least the weather will be nice when we are living in ecologically sound tarpaper shacks.

  43. I live in Arizona, and we have indeed had an influx of Californication for the last five or ten years. All I can say is, thank God half of these new Arizonans are Republican — they’re the only thing that’s keeping the other half from turning this whole g__damn state blue.

    And ours is, mercifully, a hostile environment. No Los Angeleno worth his salt wants to live in a desert town like Phoenix or Tucson, or in the middle-of-nowhere towns up north.

    But even if they do turn the state blue and it all goes to hell, I’m not leaving. My family have been out here for forty-plus years. This is my place in the world, and nowhere else could ever be “home” for me.

  44. No mention of the nation-killer Sarb-Ox. Now we have two major parasitic institutions living off the teat: lawyers and accountants. Lawyers were bad but at least they didn’t kill the capitalist system. Sarb-Ox is the nation killer that destroys from within by keeping money immobile.

    No talk of innovations and IPOs anymore from Silicon Valley. Only talk of exit strategies WRT Google and MS buyout. Wishful thinking… Sarb-Ox the Nation-killer, kill it before it kills us.

  45. Superb commentary, but I take mild exception to one statement.

    “but California was once a land of rugged individualists too.”

    100 years ago, maybe. I grew up there for nearly 40 years and I can tell you there were few rugged individualists to be found anywhere in the state.

  46. As for California immigrants, they’ve been “John Galt-ing” since forever. My wife sells small businesses, and 99.999% of retail businesses run by immmigrants don’t report cash income, and have at least a few workers who are paid under the table. And the workers prefer it that way.

    The main appeal of illegal workers isn’t subminimum wages – it’s avoiding regulation and taxes. They are almost always paid more than minimum wage, but avoiding regulations saves the worker taxes and the employer vast costs in stuff like workman’s comp.

    And the bureaucrats and politicians can pass all the silly faux-populist laws they want. They’re ignored, except by “law abiding” folks who end up being driven out of the state. There is an attitude of “don’t ask, don’t tell” between the two sides; if all the laws on the books were enforced, and all taxes collected, blood would be running in Sacto within a couple of days.

  47. Wonderful! The comments are a real world Chicago School economics lesson all by themselves. Now if we could just get some in power liberals to read them and understand them. Not a likely prospect I am afraid.

    Where I am from used to be a booming place, too and once the nation’s 4th largest city. I am afraid the looters got us early last century though. We now have a decent baseball team, nice museums and a lot of crime. Even the beer just left town. I hope that is not the future for you Texans and Californians but I fear it is. Obama and Co. seem poised to give you a big shove in that direction.

  48. Tyree:

    You said your grandson is the only one in his kindergarten class at school who is a native English speaker.

    If you care about your grandson at all, why is he in that class? He’s not getting an education. Someone who cared about him would find a way to get him a real education.

  49. The one saving grace for Texas is that most Californians regard the state as a vast hot, dry expanse of bigoted, cow-ropin’ ignoramuses so they tend to come only if they have family already here or a job offer.

    I was born and raised in southern California but, when I had the chance to move back with my family ten years ago, we decided to stay in Texas. The liberal side of our family thought we were nuts to pass up a chance to move “somewhere nice” but I guess we’ve turned out to be a little smarter than they thought.

  50. Living in Ohio, I can only say to the first part of Shannon Love’s essay regarding the Great Lakes states: All too true.

    I am 53, and all my life all I have seen is industrial decline. It didn’t seem evident when I was a child of 5 or 10, but the seeds were already planted.

    3rd, 4th and now 5th generation organized labor played a part, but the biggest company killer (and by consequence – city killer) was inept corporate management in the face of heavy and rising competition from Japan (and now the rest of Asia). The corporations of the ’60’s were at their “peak” then, and didn’t recognize until too late the competition from Japan.
    The last 20 years has seen an accelerating exodus of companies that first moved the manufacturing to Mexico, then to China.
    It is very sad to see the once decent and livable cities of Ohio being wrecked.
    The city I grew up in (Dayton) is more like Appalachia from the 1940’s than the city I grew up in 50 years ago. It has gone backwards and downwards, and is probably irretrievably lost.
    Several more are probably irreversibly in steep decline (Toledo, Youngstown, Akron). Detroit is in the final throes of death, and I am not exagerating; between the ineptitude of the Big Three and the ridiculous city and state government of Michigan, there will soon be nothing left but a shell of a city looking like something out of the 3rd world.

    There is still time to save the cities and the economy of California, but it will soon be irreversibly “too late”, as is Detroit. Believe me, trying hard to save them now is worth it. We need ideas, and a new Renaissance of economic and political thought. I don’t know where to find them, but Detroit is our common destiny if there is no solution to be found. In 1950 it was the 4th largest city in the country, and an economic dynamo. Now it is dying. It can happen anywhere.

  51. Foobarista, you are right on about the small businesses. And like I said, anyone can be an “independent contractor” and both the employer and employee prefer it that way (less taxes on the employer, no withholding for the contractor, who can then expense travel, home office etc and whittle income down to next to nothing).

    “Legitimate,” full-time, on the books employment is a thing of the past here, which is another reason why Cali is structurally bankrupt.

    Tax something and you get less of it. Cali is utterly dependent on income taxes, and therefore…

  52. What an outstanding thread. As an old corn fed Midwest boy, I sure hope the Californicators don’t make their way to these parts. I don’t think they will come here – it is WAY too cold in the winter. Then again, I live in Madison, “62 square miles surrounded by reality” so I am used to most of the same type of nonsense already.

  53. Hey! I want to move to TX, preferably Houston or San Antonio. Do you think I’m going to be ignored in job applications because I’m a native of NJ? And I currently work in NYC…do you think I’d even be considered for a job in TX? Seriously. Insight from Texans would be appreciated. Thanks.

  54. Kerry,

    Do you think I’m going to be ignored in job applications because I’m a native of NJ?

    No, we can’t tell any of the yankee counties apart anyway.

    And I currently work in NYC…do you think I’d even be considered for a job in TX?

    Seriously, why would you even think that would be an issue? Texas translates from “friendly”. All the stuff ragging on outsiders is just one extended joke that all Texans are legal required to carry on with. You’ll see when you get here.

  55. Thanks, Shannon, I feel better already. I visited extended family in Boerne (outside San Antonio) this past summer and was thoroughly impressed. I don’t think I would transition well into the semi-rural/rural communities in TX or any other state for that matter, since I’ve been in or very close to an urban environment my whole life, but SA or Houston I think would be perfect. And, yes, those whom I met during my vacation were more gracious than I could hope for. I kind of figured the commentary, most of it, was a running joke, but I wouldn’t blame folks for wanting to keep the kids from NJ waaaaay over here. We all have an inferiority complex and it makes us act out! Kidding (kinda)!

  56. To the Ohio-based person commenting on how Detroit *will* become like a third world city, I suspect you have not visited it in a while.

    It is *right now* like a third world city, only without the potential. You drive for miles past decrepit, boarded-up storefronts and housing. Weeds sprout along streets. All the cars are either rusting, junky heaps or tricked-out, pimpy vehicles filled with slouching, scowling young men eyeballing everyone with predatory hostility. The whole city would be threatening except the inhabitants’ lassitude is so evident you realize they are likely too lazy to rob you, since that would take some effort.

    Once in a while you happen upon some corner that some mad fool fixed up. Damn fool. Damn fool. It is all you can think as you glide past that rose on the dung heap and slip back into the muck that is Detroit.

    Many of you people think I am kidding, or that I am exaggerating. I wish I was. That bailout of the B3 you are all funding? You thought that was to save the companies? Nope. It was to save the last racket still in Southwest Michigan. Without that, the state goes right into the abyss with Detroit.

  57. California was a Republican state as recently as 1988. Now, it is irrevocably blue.

    Remember, it is not the sterotypical Berkeley hippies or SF gays that make the state left – those groups are very small in number.

    Rather, it is the illegals from Mexico, who think Che Guevara was a great revolutionary. They made CA left-wing. Hippies are harmless by comparison.

  58. Ben said, “If you care about your grandson at all, why is he in that class? He’s not getting an education. Someone who cared about him would find a way to get him a real education.”

    Wow, how to win friends and influence people. Here is my answer:

    1. In West Side story, many in my family would have been in the Sharks. My son-in-laws best friend is Carlos. We don’t have a problem with Hispanics. I have a strong dislike for the politicians that helped destroy my community, but their children are not in my grandsons class.
    2. My grandson is going to grow up in a community in which white people are a tiny minority, thanks to illegal immigration. He needs to learn that people are going to make fun of him because he looks and talks different and he needs to learn how to handle that. His mother and uncles and aunts had to do the same thing. That should be part of everyone’s education. He may be five, but he knows who his friends are and he is one of the most popular kids in the class.
    3. When he gets into first grade, if necessary, he is going to transfer to a local Catholic school. Almost everyone there is Hispanic also, but there is no “ESL”.
    4. If that doesn’t work, we will home school all of my grandsons. It worked for my kids.

    The local schools were all white when I grew up here. The politicians didn’t think our community deserved protection under the law and we are smaller, but we are still here and California is still a great place to live. Not all of the rugged individualists have left. Besides, given how fast everything changed from white to Hispanic, I give our neighborhood two years before it goes all Asian. I just hope those immigrants a legal, or if not, my government lets me break the law, also. To do otherwise would be discriminatory.

  59. I lived in San Diego through the 90’s which seemed to be a critical stage – Pete Wilson and the Reps made a stand against illegal immigration and pro-business policies, however, the liberal looters – led by Boxer and Feinstein – took over. Wilson was branded as a rascist and Prop 169 was overturned by liberal judges. The last stand failed.

    Liberalism appears to be a religion where leaders are granted franchises (cushy political and govt jobs), consequently, they migrate like locusts to new breeding areas. With plenty of lawyers and idealistic non-producers, their leadership ranks are stocked.

    Atlas is shrugging.

  60. It’s not the first time nor will it be the last time that more people are moving out than in. As I recall, the last time was in the early 90s just before the dot com boom. Before that, it was the late 70s.

    When unemployment rates go up, when the economy starts to tank, people stop moving here.

    The population, however, continues to grow due to births and illegal immigration.

    Unfortunately, this trend of people moving out is only temporary, and will last only as long as the current economic downturn persists.

    Why? Because you still can’t beat the weather in California.

  61. Take a good look at Vallejo, CA. Dying and held hostage by public employees unions. Environmental lobbies like Sierra Club plus unions and leftists are doing the same thing at the state level. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to ride the avalanche down the hill until finally he’s waking up to the hard landing at the bottom. It will be a long time before another Austrian gets elected governor of CA.

  62. Californians are moving to Colorado and ruining that state too. It would be nice if they had to stay where they are and stew in their own soup.

  63. I hear fiscal conservatives, and just plain conservatives, complaining all the time that everybody is going blue. Well, why is that? Conservatives have abandoned education completely, media almost, and arts totally to liberals. They run our culture, folks! I would love to see the conservative think tanks come down out of their ivory towers and educate young people, through music, blogs, books, whatever. Be creative! Just do it, before it’s too late.

  64. Kerry,

    When you do get here, please do the one thing that most of the New Yorkers and New Jerseyites moving to DFW never bother to do — learn something about the local history and culture. Most of the local emigrants work downtown and retreat to little clannish neighborhoods up north of the city, then to spend their entire days feverishly trying to reconstruct the places they left, and with no understanding of the place they’ve entered.

    Which, as you’ve seen, is also exactly why “Californicator” has become such a widely-used noun.

  65. California had all the advantages that the planet could offer climate, resources, wealth, talent and beauty. The people went from caring for their communities to letting the liberals and environ nuts tell us what to think and what to feel.
    They allowed the liberals to take over the education system and it has been on a steady down hill spiral ever since. Our children once the best educated in the country can’t read but are really good at being politically correct.
    They let the nut jobs in LA and San Francisco decide to lead them into the great snake pit never understanding that they had no way out. So we became the “Land of Fruits and Nuts” and the “Land of lost ideals” and known world wide for our lack of honesty and morals.
    The let the moron politicians spend money like it was water and asked no questions. And so we have massive debt. Once one of the richest states in the union not we only see red and are unable to pay our bills.
    Once one of the best read and informed states in the union, now not one readable newspaper in the state that does not tow the politically correct line, in the case of San Fran and LA nothing but the lies or distortions get into the news.

    We deserve all the laughter that is sent our way and more, but now that the liberals have screwed us they are looking for more fertile ground and are heading your way soon.

  66. Scott say, “…however, the liberal looters – led by Boxer and Feinstein – took over. Wilson was branded as a rascist and Prop 169 was overturned by liberal judges.”

    There is an important part of the history that needs to be added to warn all of the other Americans. The liberal judges did not overturn all of prop 187 (Save our State Initiative). However, our liberal elected officials ignored the parts that could have been implemented. This is one of the reasons why the people of California are only peripherally to blame for all of this. Most of us voted to fix the problems long ago.

  67. I just want to let potential future Texas immigrants from CA to know what it is like here in central Texas. I am orginally from the midwest and have lived in Texas over 20 years. Living in Austin is not the same as the rest of Texas. As the education and government center it is probably as close politically and culturally to CA as you can get in TX. But you can plan on 50 days in a row of 100 degree days in the summer. Summer is from the middle of May until the end of September. It does cool off to 82 sometimes at night though, saving you a little on a typical $500 summer power bill. No rain, any landscaping more than a cactus will die without $150 dollars per month of water. You can cool off in one of our man-made lakes, certainly not the ocean or beach, but the water is as cool at 82 degrees in the summer. Houston is similar except more humid. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and hailstorms are not as damaging as earthquakes, but more common. The rest of Texas really is rural and hick. Expect to smell oil and gas wells and cow dung. Expect crummy roads off of the interstates. Expect a minimum of “the arts” outside of the biggest cities.

  68. The Left: >50% of the population
    <90% of the cultural/political noise.
    Will Rogers said it best: the party that robs Peter to pay Paul
    can often count on the support of Paul.

  69. Damn! I think the rot may already be in Atlanta.

    I dropped in to my local Chinese take-out this evening on the way home from work, and noticed as I was paying that my payment was entered on two cash registers. I suspect one is for the real set of books, and the other for the external world. You knoe, the Gu’mint.

    (BTW, a Russian friend of mine tells me the English word “Governor” sounds to Russians like the Russian word “guvno,” which means “shit.” I like that.)

    Anyway, this fits with my experience on Buford Highway, Inside The Perimeter (ITP). Between I-285 and Lenox Road, it’s mostly Asian businesses. At my favorite place to eat out, a Malay restaurant, it’s all cash and, despite the recent economic unpleasantness, it’s mobbed every time I go. Hell, the whole strip mall is mobbed. It’s the standard one-strip-mall-fits-all place: insurance, supermarkets, doctor, chiropractor, needle guy, dentist, video store, pho, Malay chow, etc. No downturn here, let me tell you. These people operate in cash, and they have lots of it. I think the HGWIC at the Malay place is an Irish immigrant; though, being Irish myself, I’m too well-mannered and reticent to ask his background. In my Asian neighborhood, I fit right in.

    Anyway, it looks to me like there’s a whole other cash-based economy springing up, in almost full view, that pays no heed to our Imperial Federal/State Overlords.

    And I welcome it.

    Reckon I need to learn me some Mandarin.

    BTW, all prospective California immigrants to Georgia, the Atlanta outside air temperature tonight is supposed to get down to 13 degrees Fahrenheit, and I expect it will do just that. Not only is “Global Warming” a fake, the U.S. Southeast is a leader in the coming “Global Freeze.” Stop in Arizona a time. Or in Texas if you’re so inclined. I’d advise not passing Nacogdoches. The people beyond adhere to a collection of laws passed by a French midget (“littler person” to y’all). In that state, you’re guilty until proven innocent, or some such, it’s all upside down there, though they do make good alligator tail sausage, I ga-ron-tee!

    OK. I’ll stop now, and move away from the keyboard.

    Y’all don’t come down here, y’hear?

  70. David is on the money in his posts@13/1:41 & 6:41 when he speaks of the nomadic, independent-contractor, post-industrial “hunter-gatherer”
    culture that has developed out here in Cali. We are retired and have homes in New Orleans and Marina del Rey, and our son lives in Marina del Rey also. The apt complex where he lives is full of nothing BUT those types from all over the world–UK., Scandinavia, India, France, etc., as well as locals–all doing a short-term “job of work” as the British are wont to say–most on Indep. Contr. status. Hard to find anyone under thirty with a permanent job, really. At least one that has both the potential of permanence and promotion potential. I realize we all here are generalizing a bit–but the trend David points to in his two posts is obvious to
    this geezer–and I’m not even “smarter than the average bear…..” (I date myself with that comment, I full well realize,
    but what the hey.)

  71. I forgot to mention the fire ants, scorpions, and various poisonous snakes in Texas. Don’t walk barefoot anywhere, the fire ants will chew your feet up. Don’t let your sheets and blankets touch the floor, the scorpions will crawl into your bed. Don’t leave your garage door open even a bit, the snakes will go in there to cool off/warm up. Shake your shoes in the morning before you put them on in Texas.

  72. Ben,

    You forgot to mention the gangs of little old ladies from every religion known to man that show up every Sunday/Saturday/Friday to frog-march people off to Church/Synagogue/Mosque/Temple.

    Quite definitely not the kind of place that Californian would like

  73. Meh. California is STILL adding over 400k people per year even with its high domestic outmigration. What does Texas really have to offer besides cheap ticky-tack houses?

  74. Nick,

    What does Texas really have to offer besides cheap ticky-tack houses?

    Economic freedom. Its easier to start and grow a business in Texas than in California. This was not always the case. 30-40 years ago our places were reversed. California was massively business friendly while Texas made it hard to raise money, ship product or hire people.

    The quality of life of an area begins and ends with its business class. New York, Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. etc all arose because they were great areas of commerce. Particularly from 1945-1985 California was all business all the time. Now they’ve lost it. Now business people are regarded as little better than criminals on parole.

    Californian’s are coasting on the work and investment of previous generations. You’re going to pay for taking all that work for granted.

  75. Nick Says:
    January 16th, 2009 at 6:32 pm Meh.” California Meh. California is STILL adding over 400k people per year even with its high domestic outmigration. What does Texas really have to offer besides cheap ticky-tack houses?”
    I would take cheap ticky-tack houses over ticky-tack state government.

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