As California goes…(right down the crapper)

November 15th, 2012

Preview of coming attractions. Which don’t look very attractive, frankly.

California now stands as blue America’s end point, but contrary to the media celebration, it presents not such a pretty picture. Even amidst our decennial tech bubble, the state’s unemployment is among the highest in the country, and is trending down very slowly. Over the past decade, California has slowed as a source of fast-growth companies, as a recent Kauffman Foundation study shows, while other states such as Washington, Virginia, Texas and Utah have gained ground.

Old-style liberals might point out that California’s progressive policies have not done much for the working- or middle-class folks often trumpeted as its beneficiaries. Instead income inequality has grown far more than the national average. True, the fortunate sliver of dot-com geniuses make billions, but the ranks of the poor have swollen to the point that the state, with 12% of the nation’s population, account for one third of its welfare cases. Large parts of the state, notably in the interior regions, suffer unemployment in the 15% range and higher.

Demographics may be working to the Democratic Party’s favor, but not so much for the state. As California loses its allure as a place of opportunity for all but a few — the best connected, educated and affluent — the state is losing its magnetic appeal to migrants from both inside and outside the state. Domestic migration has been negative for 18 of the past 20 years; immigration from abroad is at the lowest point in the past two decades. In terms of growth in college-educated residents, only San Diego managed to add more than the national average from 2000 to 2010; both the Bay Area and Los Angeles were considerably below. (See “The U.S. Cities Getting Smarter The Fastest“)

The growing diversity, a good thing in itself, masks a demographic stagnation. California, remarkable for its population growth over the past century, now is heading toward “zero population growth,” notes economist Bill Watkins; the state now barely grows 1% a year. Los Angeles, the state’s largest urban area, grew less, in total numbers, in the last decade than at any time in the last 100 years.

Although this might elicit hosanas among greens, who generally would like to see fewer people, the emerging reality is sobering. Increasingly the state bifurcates between a generally older, predominately white and Asian coast, and an interior increasingly populated by generally less affluent Hispanics and African-Americans. California now ranks near the bottom in science skills, and while its population over 65 is the fifth largest in the nation, the number of those under 35 is only 23rd. And the future looks even bleaker: California’s eighth graders rank a pathetic 47th in terms of science test scores.

So how did the ladder of opportunity crack in a state that has massive natural and human resources, not to mention a kind climate and spectacular scenery?

Decades of Democrat-Socialist governance and regnant liberal-fascism, that’s how. But we’ll all get to experience it for ourselves soon enough, thanks. And then maybe enough of us will learn from it that it won’t ever, ever happen again.

The most–just about the only–heartening aspect of the piece? This: “…the liberal heartland of San Francisco has among the lowest fertility rates on the continent.” So the cockroaches aren’t multiplying, and they’ll likely abort any, umm, misconceptions, shall we say, that may crop up. That’s a good thing, but in the long term only. Which, at this point, we may not have a long term.

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  1. Rob Crawford
    November 15th, 2012 at 12:22 | #1
    Notice the bit about California having more "income inequality". The left makes reducing this one of their proclaimed goals, but their policies always end up increasing it. It's almost as if that's what they intended all along; declare a problem, claim they'll solve the problem, make the problem bigger, then claim they need to do more to solve the problem.
  2. Sumdumguy
    November 18th, 2012 at 10:50 | #2
    "The most–just about the only–heartening aspect of the piece? This: “…the liberal heartland of San Francisco has among the lowest fertility rates on the continent". Men ramming each others bunghole usually have a pretty low reproduction rate!
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