Patterico's Pontifications

12/18/2008

VDH on California’s Past, Present and Future

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 12:23 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Victor Davis Hanson says California has “the largest annual deficit with one of the highest sales tax and income tax rates in the country.” However, because of its past policies, he suggests California has little hope of solving its current economic problems and he paints a bleak future in his California version of The Christmas Carol:

“It is not as if California decided about 10 years ago to invest to ensure we had state of the art freeways, university campuses, ports, airports, dams, canals, and power infrastructure. Instead, it was too often redistribution rather than investment. It is not like we can get out of the mess by simply stopping all construction when a vast public work force with pension and salary claims, along with entitlements and welfare, take the lion’s share of the budget.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands whom we used to count on to pay our nearly 10% state income rates continue to flee the state. All the past sleight-of-hand borrowing, reliance on inflated real estate, lotteries, bonds, etc. have already been tried. Now we hit the wall of reality, whose iron-clad law — when you have no money, you really have no money — cannot be so easily demagogued away.”

The rest of us may be joining you soon. Good luck, Californians.

— DRJ

85 Responses to “VDH on California’s Past, Present and Future”

  1. Thank you Liberals and Socialists. May the soup line run out of food when you show up with your empty plate.

    PCD (7fe637)

  2. “Meanwhile, tens of thousands whom we used to count on to pay our nearly 10% state income rates continue to flee the state.”
    Yep, and they keep coming here to Austin in droves much to the delight of the Texans I’ve noticed. I can’t really speak of it as a transplant myself, but it has been amusing to observe the grumbling toward “those damn Californians that keep showin’ up.” For a state that I’ve often heard referred to derisively as representing everything wrong with red state America, there should do seem to be a lot of blue state types beating a path to live here what with its no income tax and healthy economy and all. I’m sure the good jobs have kept many of the progressive transplants away from their anti-death penalty vigils once they get here, make money, buy up the real estate and live large.

    Jack Klompus (cf3660)

  3. The latest figures show that the out-migration of Californian’s to other states exceeded the in-migration of residents from other states into CA by 135K for the last period measured (2007 I believe).

    These are the productive, fleeing a state that has become unmanageable, leaving it to the tax-users.
    And we wonder why we have a $20+Billion deficit in the state budget.

    Another Drew (b7b852)

  4. AD – It is only going to get worse.

    JD (7f8e8c)

  5. Well, if the Legislature passes the “fee increases” that they intend to (subverting the letter of the law in Prop 13, which will generate court cases challenging what they do), it will drive more of the tax-producers out of the state, benefiting our neighbors in NV, AZ, OR, ID, et al.
    These “fee increases”, on top of the new regulatory burden imposed last week by the Air Resources Board, is going to cost CA untold numbers of businesses and jobs.
    For most of my life I was told that CA always led the Nation in new developments.
    Well, I fear that what we are doing here now, is the harbinger of what Nan and Harry will be doing to the country in the next Congress.
    Welcome to my World, suckers!

    Another Drew (b7b852)

  6. The people of California bear every bit as much blame — perhaps more than — as the politicians do. We have managed to convince ourselves that we can have more and more “goodies” from our government, but somehow avoid having to pay for them. The latest manifestation is the myth that bond money is free (our Governor called it “a gift from the future”) and that we can have stem cell research, new schools, road infrastructure, debt service, and brand-spankin’ new public transit initiatives all without having to pay a dime for them. Just wait until Lindsay Lohan becomes governor in 2024 and discovers that we have to pay something like $30 billion per year to service all the debt run up since the late 1990s.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  7. There is only one way out: to utter break the control by public employee unions and to cap, tax, or otherwise recover the unsustainable pension outlay. A special state income windfall tax of 40% on state pension income would be a start.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  8. Those of you who are under 50 cannot know what a beautiful place California was in 1956 when I moved here to go to college. Yes, it was smoggy and the smog affected housing prices in Pasadena. Still, the highways were gorgeous and the UC system was a great institution. The junior colleges allowed everyone the chance for a college education and the police were honest and efficient. Crime was simply rare. I lived in an apartment near USC and walked the streets late at night without fear. One night around New Years, my roommate and I were walking back to our apartment after midnight when we saw a party in a house down the block. We walked in, the only white people at the party, and had a nice time for about an hour, then went home.

    Those days are gone and I have one foot in Arizona. Very soon it will be two.

    I heard Arnold on the radio talking about infrastructure. What BS!

    Jerry Brown stopped highway construction in the 70s. “Small is beautiful” and toilets that have to be flushed twice are his legacies. They wrecked the state. What the illegals didn’t wreck.

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  9. “Meanwhile, tens of thousands whom we used to count on to pay our nearly 10% state income rates continue to flee the state.”
    Yep, and they keep coming here to Austin in droves much to the delight of the Texans I’ve noticed.

    Laffer, Moore, and Tanous’ book The End of Prosperity devotes an entire chapter to California–Bankruptcy 90210. They point out that in 2000 there were some 44,000 millionaires in CA who contributed $15 Billion to the state treasury that year. The richest 0.15% of Californians contributed roughly 20% of the state’s income tax revenues. By 2002 the number of CA millionaires dropped to 29,000.The tax emigre millionaires cost CA about $6 Billion in income tax revenues.

    The outmigration flows have become so systematic that the cost to rent a UHaul trailer to move from L.A. to Boise, ID is $2,090 some 8 times more than the cost of moving from Boise to L.A. And Jack Klompus’ new Austin neighbors from L.A. paid 3 times as much as it does to go from Austin to L.A.

    Stu707 (7fb2e7)

  10. Don’t look now, but my state (IL) is following close behind, with unfunded pension liabilities numbering in the billions. All the result of generations of politicos kicking the can down the proverbial road – now my own city (Chicago) can’t even afford to clear the farkin’ snow this month, due to decades of public employee give – aways and a political system that’s rotten to the core. Watching scores of traffic accidents in my neighborhood’s sides streets due to the lack of effective salt distribution would be hilarious, but we already paid the price for potholed roads last winter, due to the lack of city funds.

    Dmac (e30284)

  11. The people of California bear every bit as much blame — perhaps more than — as the politicians do

    Absolutely agreed.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  12. How’s that stem cell research initiative going? That cost the taxpayer some change, too, didn’t it?

    cassandra (5a5d33)

  13. cassandra: that *will* cost the taxpayer some change. It was paid for with bonds.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  14. Read a lefty blog by a Californian and see if you see any awareness of the problem.

    Read this:

    The problem is that no matter how sweetly liberals might croon about what a [constitutional] convention could do, conservatives all know the truth: the whole point of the thing would be to get rid of our insane two-thirds requirements for passing budgets and raising taxes. Unfortunately, our whole problem is that Republicans control (slightly more than) one-third of the legislature. And if we can’t get them to vote for a tax increase in the first place, what are the odds we could get them to vote for a constitutional convention called for the express purpose of making it easier to increase taxes? About zero.

    OK, but how about a simple initiative? We could get rid of the two-thirds rule just by collecting signatures and getting a majority vote, right?

    Right. And we tried that just a few years ago. Prop 56 was supported by all the usual good government groups and would have reduced the majority needed to pass budget and tax measure from two-thirds to 55%. A bunch of other fluff was added to make it more popular (“rainy day” funds, no pay for legislators if they don’t pass a budget, etc.), and in the end…..

    ….it got whomped 66%-34%. No one was fooled for a second.

    So there you have it. Raise taxes and the problem is solved. The fact that we have the highest taxes in the West is not an issue.

    My mother used to distinguish between active ignorance and passive ignorance. Passive ignorance just doesn’t know.

    We have this problem IN SPITE OF a two-thirds rule. There is no mention of the spending curve and Mother Jones does not post my comments (and presumably anyone else’s who disagrees with the leftist positions they advocate). They don’t know and don’t want to know.

    That is active ignorance.

    Arizona for me. Anybody want to buy a house ?

    Mike K (531ff4)

  15. #12 and #13 — Interestingly enough, I just commented on that over on aphrael’s post at the Jury Talks Back. I think it helps explain why we don’t issue bonds upfront.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  16. Mike K: most liberals I know think that the right solution to the short-term problem is to have a roughly equal mix of tax increases and spending cuts, and there’s a great deal of irritation with the Republicans in the legislature who won’t consider that option.

    That said, you’re right that nobody is really looking at the long-term solution. I think the correct solution is probably something along the lines of: (a) shift the base of funding away from a strongly progressive personal income tax towards something less vulnerable to extreme fluctuations with the economy; (b) abolish the constitutional guarantees of funding for specific purposes; (c) toughen up the rules for state pensions so that they can’t be gotten so easily; and (d) rework prop 13 so that sale of companies triggers reassessment of corporate owned land. But none of those ideas is actually on the table. Instead both sides play games and point their fingers at the other side.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  17. Dmac–I live downstate and things here aren’t much better. We’re saving $20,000 a year by not salting the streets, but the City council won’t consider cutting back on employee parties and conferences. The mayor said we should just drive slower.

    rochf (ae9c58)

  18. The emigration from California is happening in blue states across the country. It’s one of the reasons that some red states are turning purple.

    They vote in the socialists who make the cost of living unbearable in their home state which forces them to move to a low-cost red state, and they haven’t learned a thing. They just vote for the socialists in the red state they moved to so they can do it all over again.

    They’re just spreading the cancer…

    Jim B (95a401)

  19. Aphrael, I am with you on your proscriptions (a) through (d) with one exception: I would end all state pensions and convert them into 401(k) accounts. Didn’t Arnie try this at one point and get slapped down by the public employee unions? I would trade a temporary tax increase for pension reform in a heartbeat.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  20. JVW: I think the problem I have with that is that many public employees take jobs which pay less than private sector equivalents would, in part in exchange for the promise of pensions. (See, by comparison, what a first year lawyer working for the AG’s office makes, vs. what a starting salary in a corporate job is). Changing the rules on existing employees would strike me as breaking the deal; changing the rules for future employees would, in my mind, require compensating pay increases.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  21. Um, maybe, but I think the real reason that public employees take these jobs is because they have far greater job security, and they tend to have less accountability for success. I see where you are coming from with the whole changing the rules arguments, but why should current taxpayers be forced to make up for bad decisions make by politicians of prior generations? This is, of course, one of the huge points of contention in the automaker/UAW bailout talks. Public employees have to learn the hard lesson that they can’t vote themselves a cushy retirement.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  22. The mayor said we should just drive slower.

    Funny, that’s exactly what our idiot Mayor (aka “Little Big Man”) just said yesterday – and of course he would know what he’s talking about, since he’s been ferried around his entire life from infancy via private limos. They both must be getting their daily talking points from Democratic headquarters each morning.

    Dmac (e30284)

  23. Instead both sides play games and point their fingers at the other side.

    Are there really 2 sides in California?

    JD (7f8e8c)

  24. Aphrael, who is very polite and non-trollish, writes:

    “….most liberals I know think that the right solution to the short-term problem is to have a roughly equal mix of tax increases and spending cuts,…”

    With great respect, I would dearly love to hear about the list of spending cuts that liberals in California are attempting to propose. I think it would make a good post here or “The Jury Talks Back.”

    All I ever hear from the Left is that taxes need to be raised, but every single entitlement needs to be retained as well.

    I’m interested in getting documented proof of the reverse, which would be most appreciated.

    Eric Blair (e906af)

  25. “….most liberals I know think that the right solution to the short-term problem is to have a roughly equal mix of tax increases and spending cuts,…”

    The tax increases never go away, and the spending cuts never really happen, and if they do, it is temporary until the game starts all over again.

    JD (7f8e8c)

  26. Eric, this morning’s news reporting about the (questionably legal) budget proposed by the Democrats and voted on today says:

    The $7.3 billion in cuts include clipping $2.5 billion from spending on elementary and high schools and community colleges; $677 million from programs for the aged, blind and disabled; $132 million from the University of California and California State University systems; and $100 million from welfare programs.

    Another $657 million in compensation to state employees would also be cut, although just how would be the subject of negotiations with employee unions, Democrats said.

    Granted, this budget has $7.3 billion in cuts and $9.3 billion in new revenue, so it’s not the 50/50 split that I suggested most liberals would support. That said, the sense I get from talking to people is that nobody wants budget cuts but everyone pretty much accepts that at the moment there is no other choice.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  27. I look forward to reading the links and thinking about them. Thank you very much, aphrael. There has been so much trollery around here recently that a polite exchange seems remarkable.

    I appreciate it very much.

    Eric Blair (e906af)

  28. I left. And never looked back. The problem is that a lot of the emigrants haven’t learned from their mistakes, and are trying to do the same thing here (Nevada) that they did in California.

    So, it may be only a matter of time before we have to flee again.

    JayC (3cfe5f)

  29. JD: well no, not really. There’s an unejectable majority with one set of values and preferences and an unejectable minority with a different set of values and preferences and just enough people to prevent the other side from getting what they want.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  30. JVW: I think the problem I have with that is that many public employees take jobs which pay less than private sector equivalents would,

    The city of Mission Viejo, where I live, has 100,000 people and is in Orange County, which everyone knows is rich (except in 1994 when it went bankrupt). The city has over 150 employees and around 50 of them have salaries over 100,000. I just don’t believe the story about low salaries anymore.

    Look at those comments on Kevin Drum’s blog and see if you see any cuts suggested. The sad thing is that Arnold pretended to be a Republican and people vote for Republican governors n hopes they will control spending. The last GOP governor who really did a good job was George Deukmejian..

    Here’s what Kevin’s commenters say when they don’t think anyone is looking. I wonder how much Obama agrees with this.

    None of us are well served by pretending that the electorate are some sort divinely inspired geniuses.
    Most voters are freaking morons, and their aggregate opinions are often only a mild improvement over their individual opinions. We’d do well to consider ways of trying to temper their stupidity, rather than worshipping it.

    Got that, morons ?

    Mike K (531ff4)

  31. As for the “roughly equal mix of tax increases and spending cuts”, be careful.

    A lot of those “cuts” are only decreases in anticipated increases, not actual cuts in spending.

    For example, New York is contemplating massive “spending cuts” according to the media, but if you look at the actual numbers, total spending will increase from this year to next year.

    JayC (3cfe5f)

  32. Mike K, I tend to agree with one of the other commenters on the thread, who said:

    The problem with CA, and really this problem extends to the nation as a whole, is that more than 50% of the voters would seriously prefer more government stuff AND more than 50% of the voters would seriously prefer paying less taxes.

    It’s pretty hard to resist the conclusion that the voters are stupid when the voters have for years been voting themselves higher services (paid for by bonds! or by requiring $x to be paid on cause $y each year!) and lower taxes and not expecting it to cause problems.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  33. Aphrael,

    Nice link but they don’t show the real numbers. Are these real cuts or are the democrats defining trimming-the-projected-increases-for-next-year as cuts again?

    I’m not sure where in Calif you are but there sure aren’t any liberals in the Monterey-Santa Cruz area who think the right solution includes any cuts in spending. Support for tax raises (even including a raise in the sales tax as well as income taxes) is the preferred solution around here.

    Kenny

    Kenny (76922b)

  34. Kenny: I lived in Santa Cruz for many years, but now I’m on the San Francisco peninsula.

    Absent a copy of the bill, which I haven’t had the time to track down at the legislature’s website, it’s hard to say for sure what it includes.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  35. I know a heck of a lot of patronage jobs to Waste Management boards that could go away. Maybe that would help balance the budget.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  36. Aphrael (#32, 4:01 pm), that is why I like the idea of a flat income tax rate, which everyone pays regardless of income levels. When you have different rates it is easy to say “I’ll vote myself some new benefit, but I’ll make someone else (usually the rich) pay for it.” When it is a matter of raising EVERYONE’s taxes, the citizens seem to do a better job of balancing the trade-offs.

    When I lived in Massachusetts we had one flat income tax rate for all filers. Kind of weird coming from such a progressive state. Democrats, unions, and others on the left were always sponsoring initiatives to amend the Mass Constitution and allow for multiple tax rates, but the voters — while electing Ted Kennedy and John Kerry — would continually vote it down.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  37. I left in the early 90s and have never looked back. It took a while to stop thinking of myself as a “Californian,” but it happened in about 3 months.

    And when I return – I admire the nice weather. But I don’t admire the abysmal living conditions, corrupt politicians, high taxes, and extortion of the Democrats.

    I’m glad I left when I did. Now I’m raising a family that contributes to society without having their paychecks confiscated by the state that “needs” to pay illegals to ride a bus over from Mexico.

    steve miller (a29984)

  38. Aphrael,

    It’ll be interesting to see what you find in the bill details. Assembly bill 2x, now to go find it.

    Thanks!

    Kenny

    Kenny (76922b)

  39. aphrael–

    Those government jobs are generally less stressful than the private sector ones. Sure, cops, firemen and the like have unusual jobs and deserve pensions after 20 or 30 years. But backoffice clerks?

    As far as there being a deal for low pay and great bennies, that deal doesn’t work well in the long term and leads to labor-intensive solutions with large lagging costs. As we now see.

    There is great similarity between GM’s problems and California’s, except of course that California has no intention of changing the way it does business.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  40. The problem isn’t high spending or low taxes. It is institutional structural. The state employs too many people, and promises them far too many benefits. Benefits that the people paying the taxes often cannot afford for themselves. Both the number of people and the benefits they get need to be pared.

    One thing that would change things drastically for local government: move all local elections to the nearest biannual Congressional primary/general election. As it is only the most motivated voters vote in local elections, and local employees have too much ability to organize and control the results.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  41. Sure, cops, firemen and the like have unusual jobs and deserve pensions after 20 or 30 years.

    I wouldn’t even grant pensions to cops and firemen, just on the principle that guaranteeing payments is inviting disaster. I would offer them very generous 401(k) benefits, with their payments being matched 2 or even 3 times, but saying that they can retire at 52 and collect 85% of their salary for the rest of their lives is untenable.

    It goes without saying that they deserve a very generous life and disability insurance package for on-the-job injuries.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  42. One thing that would change things drastically for local government: move all local elections to the nearest biannual Congressional primary/general election. As it is only the most motivated voters vote in local elections, and local employees have too much ability to organize and control the results.

    It cuts both ways though, Kevin. If you have them in conjunction with the even-year November elections, the public employee unions will have an easier time getting unmotivated voters to go to the polls and vote the way they want them to. I prefer having local elections at odd times, so that the unions have to spend more money on their get-out-the-vote efforts.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  43. Comment by aphrael — 12/18/2008 @ 2:51 pm

    You need to check on the details of how Prop-13 is applied to business property.
    When a business changes hands, even if just 51% (and sometimes less if a lessor amount gives effective control), real property is reassessed.
    Plus, there are constant reassessments for improvements and remodeling.
    The county assessors/tax collectors are very sensitive to this aspect of Prop-13, and will wring every penny they can out of commercial property.

    Another Drew (b7b852)

  44. Well, the Dems in Sacramento passed their “fee increases”.
    There are a lot of lawyers who are going to make a ton of money litigating this; and ultimately, we get to pay for it.
    If there were any Justice in the World, the Dem leadership in the Legislature would have to pay the legal costs out of their own pockets when they lose this thing.

    Another Drew (b7b852)

  45. “I know a heck of a lot of patronage jobs to Waste Management boards that could go away. Maybe that would help balance the budget.”

    Comment by luagha — 12/18/2008 @ 4:20 pm

    Agreed. How about the CARB and state parks boards as well. Very cushy, those posts. 8-10 hrs/month-150k/yr. Sweet deal.

    Just got home and turned on CNBC. Heard the CA legislature passed the “fee” increases. One of the “fees” is a state income tax surcharge! You heard that correctly. The CA psychotic Dem’s want to tax our taxes. Who knew solving this problem could be so simple?

    Chris (cefe13)

  46. The sad thing is, most of you Californians won’t do a thing about it. You will let the Dems cheat their way into getting more money from you, and you will dutifully re-elect 98% of them in 2010. You’ll elect a Dem governor in the next gubernatorial election, and you’ll see more businesses flee – and the most you will do is say “how unfair — for them to flee.”

    California used to be great. Now it’s the lamented late great state.

    steve miller (a29984)

  47. Steve,
    I think you’re talking to the wrong group of Californians here. You are correct in the general assumption but wrong regarding the sub-group here. Perhaps with one or two exceptions.

    Chris (cefe13)

  48. The state employs too many people, and promises them far too many benefits.

    Maybe that is because the US, and California, have allowed in literally millions of people who however ‘hardworking’ just aren’t productive enough to live in an advanced industrial economy and pay for themselves and their children. So the state needs more teachers and teachers aids, nurses, emergency room technicians, social workers, cops, prosecutors and prison wardens to look after its cheap labor class and their offspring. That is what is left of the middle class in California. A whole people, a whole way of life has been destroyed without a shot being fired, nothing in the way of real resistance.

    Mitchell Young (a807a4)

  49. #46 – Dems will probably enact a “fleeing-the-state” tax and a “change-of-address” tax.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  50. I left San Diego last year. My prediction is it will be Tijuana in within a decade.

    Mossberg500 (9fd170)

  51. I grew up in California, and spent 38 of my first 41 years there. But I left 6 years ago, and I’m never moving back there. It’ll never be what it was when I grew up. It is completely dominated by racial interest group politics, and that isn’t going to change. It won’t be more than another generation before the economic reality of the population mix runs the high tech industry out of Silicon Valley. The tax advantages of locating somewhere like Virginia or Texas are too great to ignore, and there is no reason companies like Intel or Apple need to remain in Santa Clara anymore.

    WLS Shipwrecked (26b1e5)

  52. It’s more than institutional/structural. Arrogance is what it is. And a lot teh stupid. Stem cellses and let’s worry about global warmings and universal this and that. These people for real think people around the country model themselves after their idiocies. The rest of the country is a lot amused to take their monies since the California idiots can’t get their heads around how energy production and consumption are inter-related concepts. They’re really uncommonly stupid I think.

    Me, when I go home to Texas I never pack anything. I do a lot of my shoppings then really. It’s just proper I think, reward success and punish failure and what more can a little pikachu do?

    happyfeet (5836ae)

  53. Where does Mr. DRJ hail from anyways? No one tells me anything.

    happyfeet (5836ae)

  54. Also Silicon Valley is just a bleak bleak bleak place to live and work as it stands, and it was bleak in the bubble, and it’s bleak is what it is. If you don’t commute from the city you’re making a real quality of life type decision, so bleak is the Valley of Silicon.

    happyfeet (5836ae)

  55. The sad thing is, most of you Californians won’t do a thing about it. […] you will dutifully re-elect 98% of them in 2010

    steve,

    What Chris said. We’ve been outnumbered by the entitled ones, who keep voting for their entitlements via the Dems.

    Vermont Neighbor (de46bd)

  56. I love happyfeet.

    JD (7f8e8c)

  57. Merry Christmas JD! I’ll be leaving for Texas on Saturday and I’ll be back around January 4 so I’ll be very quiet probably til then. You guys have a great holiday! Next year is already highly suspect with respect to merriment I think.

    happyfeet (5836ae)

  58. Next year is already highly suspect with respect to merriment I think.

    And don’t forget the hijinx. They’re already well underway.

    Vermont Neighbor (de46bd)

  59. happyfeet,

    I live in West Texas, and I hope you enjoy your Texas trip.

    DRJ (803bba)

  60. #21.I doubt you’ve kept up with this,but the state of Michigan has a 38% public vs private gap in favor of public employees.I doubt the great state of California is behind us.Secondly,the brightest lawyer I know-or perhaps only the most clever has formulated what he call’s “Elliott’s* Two Laws”
    Elliott’s first Law is :”nothing difficult poltically happens untill it absolutlely has to.”
    Elliott’s Second Law is:It doesn’t Always Happen Then.”
    I think Calif is into Second Law territory

    *No,he’s not Jewish.

    Corwin (531da9)

  61. Thank you, DRJ. Hey, for Christmas you want you can have parsnip back.

    happyfeet (5836ae)

  62. feets – Parsnip needs to start its own blog.

    Merry Christmas! It’ll be a dirty socialist New Year.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  63. happyfeet:

    Hey, for Christmas you want you can have parsnip back.

    Where do you plan to send parsnip — Patterico.com or Texas?

    DRJ (803bba)

  64. As others have pointed out in this thread, the problem isn’t so much that Californians are leaving the state en masse, it’s that, like other blue state migrants, they tend to bring their screwed-up policies and practices with them. So the states and towns that they move to end up being microcosms of the California political, social, and infrastructural landscape.

    When I lived in Denver, there was a saying “Don’t Californicate Colorado,” and that hate hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years. You can usually spot the transplants by the spinouts on the highway during a blizzard. However, they have been VERY successful at turning what was once a very laid-back neighborhood-oriented metropolis into a sprawling beast with bad drivers and faux “culture” that isn’t that much different than what you could find on Hollywood Blvd.

    I live in Albuquerque now, and I love it, but all the Californians are starting to move out here now too, so I’m going to enjoy THIS laid-back, neighborhood-oriented metropolis while I can.

    Another Chris (1487d0)

  65. DRJ – I am fairly certain that parsnip would not survive very long at either destination.

    JD (7f8e8c)

  66. Someone once said that the best revenge was to outlive your enemies.
    If I’m lucky, I’ll live long enough to see all of the Libs move away, and I’ll be part of the majority again,
    still clinging to my guns and religion.

    Another Drew (b7b852)

  67. Changing the rules on existing employees would strike me as breaking the deal . . .
    – – – –

    But “the deal” was made and signed and incurred during years when bankruptcy laws were in existence, were well-known, and were well-utilized.

    People signing on for long, long-term pensions – heck, long-term deals of any kind – always face the risk that the people on the other side of the contract can go belly-up. The people who retired from the big 3 automakers all knew those companies could go down, although they tried like heck to bury that knowledge.

    Similarly, having watched Orange Co, everyone since then has known a public entity has no guarantee of eternal life.

    I think the retirees are going to have to be willing to give something back. I’m not thinking they need to get into poverty – they shouldn’t be losing, say, mor ethan 25% of what they thought they were going to get – but the next choice is bankruptcy, and if they think a drop in compensation is “breaking the deal”, they ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    bobby b (d6d217)

  68. when you have no money, you really have no money

    Herein lies the problem: in California we never, ever quite believe there is no money. There are always options – escape routes and little quirks in the system to exploit in order to deny the stark reality that we are indeed, flat broke. The level of expectation and entitlement is so embedded that reality becomes superfluous.

    And in light of our gubernatorial hoepfuls (Newsom, Jerry Brown, Feinstein, and Villaragosa so far), I don’t see this mindset changing anytime soon.

    California has become its own bizarre land of entitled sub-cultures. Normal left town long ago and sadly was replaced with insatiable consumption and demand all built on denial.

    Dana (79a78b)

  69. Conservatives in California are incompetent and corrupt. It is as simple as that. Just read the leading conservative / Republican blogs. Roll your eyes in amazement.

    Wesson (3ab0b8)

  70. Jim B: They vote in the socialists who make the cost of living unbearable in their home state which forces them to move to a low-cost red state, and they haven’t learned a thing. They just vote for the socialists in the red state they moved to so they can do it all over again. They’re just spreading the cancer…

    That applies doubly to many of the people immigrating to California from forever-dysfunctional, forever-pathetic societies south of the border.

    As for our own home-grown nitwits, particularly those I call the latte or limousine liberals (and to me that includes any reasonably well-educated person of the left who isn’t rolling in dough but instead is merely leading a comfortable middle-class existence and suffering from a major [faux] do-gooder guilt complex), they make me think of a dog that makes a huge steamin’ mess of its small patch of land, and then when even it can’t stand the smelly conditions — or piles of turds — any longer, moves on to untouched areas. And then they — by remaining wedded to liberalism and the Democrat Party — repeat the process (and mistakes) all over again.

    Mark (411533)

  71. The problem is not endemic to just California, it is nationwide. What everyone seems to forget is that Government at all levels is a production consumer. It eats production, production in all its forms. I can’t remember where I read it and I do not have a link, but somewhere I recall that 37% of all employed workers in the US rely on a tax based income. That would be local, state and federal and all ancillary tax supported organizations, in all or part and that includes all entities such as schools, universities, etc.

    Add in the current 6% unemployed, the hardcore unemployable on some kind of government assistance and you can readily see that we are at the tipping point where less than half of “productive” employment is supporting over half of the “consumptive” society.

    The only way it can change is to take government, at all levels, out of the social programs. Make government do what it is supposed to do: protect citizens and provide “essential” services, I.e. infrastructure, etc. The current model is unsustainable and will either fail with disastrous results or be changed before failing.

    rls (14b9d3)

  72. Also Silicon Valley is just a bleak bleak bleak place to live and work as it stands,

    Amen to that sentiment – back during the internet bubble, I had to commute to Redwood City from Chicago every few weeks, and I never understood the appeal of the place (except Stanford, which really does have a nice campus).

    Dmac (e30284)

  73. well, yeah about the “you Californians.” I doubt that an intelligent person would vote to elect the morons that run the Legislature – but look who keeps getting re-elected.

    And look who keeps showing up in the Senate for California – Babs Boxer. She makes Patty Murray seem an incandescent thinker.

    Why aren’t the Republicans – heck, why aren’t even the conservatives – getting their message out more? “Want more taxes and more screwed up government? Vote Democratic.” Instead, it seems the message is “We’re only a little less screwed up than the Dems, so it’s safe to vote either way.”

    steve miller (ba86f8)

  74. Comment by steve miller — 12/19/2008 @ 7:57 am

    Assemblyman Chuck Devore out of Irvine is running against Boxer because he’s as fed up as the rest of us. There are still pockets of conservatism that want to see the controlling bastion of liberalism fall but in Cali its definitely pushing the big rock uphill.

    Getting the message out: http://www.chuckdevore.com/splash.html

    Dana (be9504)

  75. happyfeet: why do you say silicon valley is bleak? what specifically bothered you about it? i work in a valley company (located on the peninsula) and live on the peninsula; i don’t find it bleak.

    (now, the san gabriel valley, where i used to live: that I found bleak).

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  76. But “the deal” was made and signed and incurred during years when bankruptcy laws were in existence, were well-known, and were well-utilized.

    OK, fair enough; and yet that suggests that the state should just go bankrupt and let a bankruptcy judge settle it. :)

    My concern as a citizen is that, as the guy who is employing public servants, I’m skeptical of changes which are likely to result in a reduction in the quality of the civil servants. Lowering pay (which will be done if pensions are hit) will result in lower-quality applicants for the jobs.

    Now, maybe we can’t sustain the number of employees we have; but then the right thing to do is to figure out which ones we can live without … not to cut the pay of those we actually need.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  77. Comment by aphrael — 12/19/2008 @ 8:14 am

    You have probably stumbled upon the only way this can be resolved, even if it was as a snarky comment: BK.
    It is obvious that the political process in Sacramento has become petrified,
    and is incapable of movement in either direction.
    The entire structure of State Government has to be changed, and the politicians are either incapable,
    or unwilling, or both, to do what needs to be done.
    Ergo, let the BK judges do it, and then we can get back to doing what we do best:
    modifying their decision at the ballot box through the initiative process.

    Another Drew (efe318)

  78. Another Drew: I find it somewhat astonishing that a conservative would prefer government to judges over government by an elected legislature. :)

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  79. The pols in Sacramento have been “working” on this problem for a generation and have only made things worse. Prop-13 is not the cause of this problem as they wish us to think, but was a symptom of a dysfunctional system that they refused to address, and they have continued in this refusal to address the fundamental problems that they have created.
    At this point, I’ll take my chances with judges.
    We saw that they can do a much better job on intractable problems (see 1991 redistricting v 2001 redistricting) than the political process.

    Another Drew (efe318)

  80. Rule of thumb: 70% of civil servants are useless, the other 30% are the ones doing all of the work.

    Of course, anytime staff reductions are forced, the “manager” will cut the productive people, to maximize the pain, end the cuts, and justify increasing the staff levels to new highs.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  81. Corollary…
    In DC, each office of the Fed Govt has a “Critical Manning” list for who must come in when inclement weather shuts down the Capital – it’s generally less than 10% of whatever the staffing levels are.
    But, if you reduced the staffing level to match the CM list, you would hear screeching likened to banshees that you were attempting to shut-down the government and starve the many deserving beneficiaries of government programs.

    Another Drew (efe318)

  82. “benefiting our neighbors in NV, AZ, OR, ID, et al.”

    I have to strongly disagree with this. The problem with the migration to NV is most of the Californians we are getting are idiots. We use to have a low cost of living low tax states. Now that we have been taken over by California voters making the same mistakes they made in CA taxes are going through the roof as did cost of living.

    It’s amazing to see a group of people flee a disaster then repeate the exact same mistakes that caused the first one. Our State, City, and County budgets are so red we’ll be lucky to ever see surpluses again. Bloated Union contracts are going to be the death of us, never dawned on anyone to ask how you pay these expenses when the growth stops.

    Nate Ogden (bfb389)

  83. Comment by Nate Ogden — 12/19/2008 @ 12:18 pm

    Nate, I don’t know which NV county you reside in, but suffice it to say, if and when I move to NV, it will not be to a county that has a great many CA transplants – Clark and Washoe, and even Douglas, are very low on my priority list.

    Another Drew (efe318)

  84. Screw em!

    jake (66d8f8)

  85. They vote in the socialists who make the cost of living unbearable in their home state which forces them to move to a low-cost red state, and they haven’t learned a thing. They just vote for the socialists in the red state they moved to so they can do it all over again.

    I’m seeing that exact problem with all the Northeasterners moving near me (FL). We’ve elected a RINO governor who likes every liberal idea he sees, who is gearing up to destroy our economy with “green” mandates like California is doing, and who has no serious plan to reign in government spending.

    Bob Smith (281b12)


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