Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Joel Kotkin Strikes Again On What Ails California

Chapman University professor and Orange County Register columnist Joel Kotkin has written another brilliant piece on the monumental problems facing California that is certain to raise the hackles of the left.
As The Sacramento Bee is reporting that there is a $3,000,000,000 budget surplus and what the dominant Democrat majority in Sacramento want to do with it, Mr. Kotkin writes about the long-term prospects for California under the current Democrat regime.
Oh, FTR, the Democrats want to spend it all on education. A payoff for the teacher unions if there ever was one.
Mr. Kotkin and even I will give a bit of credit to Gov. Brown. It is as if he is the one adult left in the state capital.
But Mr. Kotkin does pretty much dissect the fact that in terms of economic growth, California is non-existent in that category.
For instance, a sure sign on economic growth is job creation.
Mr. Kotkin pointed out that last year, California added about 450,000 jobs and for the first time, in raw numbers, outranked Texas in the last 10 years. But a look beyond the numbers and it turns out that it is roughly the same rate of job growth. For the period of 2007-2014, California had an anemic 0.7% job growth while Texas had a 11% of job growth. And the number of jobs in California during that time? A rip-roaring 120,000 new jobs. Not good. Not good at all.
Another aspect of the so-called recovery is how narrow it is.
According to Mr. Kotkin, much of the recovery is centered in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Outside of that area, the rest of the urban areas of California are not doing so well. my area, the Los Angeles area, is either at or below national average on all economic indicators. And while the rich are really getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and being joined by one-time middle-class workers. California has the fifth highest level of state unemployment in the United States.
Before anyone suggests that the high unemployment is centered in the inland areas, particularly and especially in the Central Valley, Three urban areas, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco are in the top 10 in income inequality.
What this is leading to is a continuation of the exodus of the middle class that can get out. Many are just too tied to this state and or where they are and it is not viable to leave.
The most depressing aspect of all of this is the current progressive zeitgeist is the attempt to basically make California like, like . . .New York. That's state and city.
Look at the anti-farmer policies of Brown and company. It's not so much anti-farmer but more clueless than anything else.
We all know that industry is so disliked by the left. But they are under the delusion that the government, in this case the state of California, can jump start a nascent "green" economy. It is one of the main reasons why Gov. Brown is so pushing for the bullet train to nowhere. A rail line that will not be up and going in full until 2028 according to this article in this past Sunday's Los Angeles Times.
But here is something that is truth and not conspiracy.
The Democrats and the left now would like to pack cities with people instead of people wanting to live where they want.
One of the leftist fetishes is the concept of the mixed-use building.
What is a mixed-use building?
It is overwhelming apartments but, usually, on the ground floor are businesses of all kinds so that you don't have to drive to so many places. Even markets are located in some mixed-use buildings. And the other idea is to have one's workplace within walking and or bike-riding distance. What the left would like is to revert to Peking of the 1970s that we saw few if any cars (usually Communist party mucks) and lots of bikes on extremely wide thoroughfares.
Mr. Kotkin points all of this up in the article.
In fact, he ends the article with this point:

Being like New York – crowded and hectic but with better weather – is not exactly the future most people seek in California. I know few adults who look forward to giving up tree-lined sun-drenched residential streets for dark apartment warrens. It was better when the Eastern press laughed at us, since we always knew that we owned the better part of the deal. Now they are both praising us and becoming us and, in the process, challenging the very things that have made this such a special place.

Of course, as a native-born and raised Californian, the thought of being anything like New York is, well plain revolting.
What is needed to get California more on track?
First, getting rid of the cap and trade regulation that does not one thing that it claims it will do.
Second a complete audit of all state regulations and get rid of those that stunt economic growth and those that are redundant.
Lastly California needs a complete tax overhaul. Remember, by and large the ways of tax revenue are the state income tax, sales tax and property taxes.
It's a long-term project that just does not do well in 30 second sound bites. Or even 60 second sound bites. It will take a leader of courage to tell us the truth once and for all.
Maybe Joel Kotkin can run for governor?!

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