Sunday, July 23

Victor Davis Hanson has some ideas on what's killed California

Victor Davis Hanson is a historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  He's also very likely the only conservative professor in California.

At least he's the only one brave enough to identify as one, since that's usually a career-ending move.

In any case, Hanson has lived in Cali for decades, loves the state and has written extensively about its decline and rapidly-approaching failure.

The observations he makes are interesting even if you don't live in Cali, because Cali represents the U.S. twenty years from now.

You think that's nonsense, and I don't want to take the time to convince you, so we'll leave that for another day.  In any case, here's my edited version of his latest: [original here; he's a much better writer.]  
Like Illinois, California has serious budget problems:  Some 62% of state roads have been rated poor or mediocre. There are new predictions of huge cost overruns-- and annual operating losses every year after operations start--on the vaunted high-speed rail line-- even before the first mile of track has been laid.

The total impact of California state taxes -- sales, income and gasoline -- is among the highest in the U.S.  The state's income tax rate on most employed people is a staggering 12%.  Yet California roads and K-12 education are near the bottom in national ranking.

After a decade of severe drought, the state hasn't even proposed--let alone started building-- a single new reservoir. Instead, scarce fresh aqueduct water is still being diverted to sea, by court order, as thousands of rural central California homes, in Dust Bowl fashion, have been abandoned due to a sinking aquifer and dry wells.

According to the census bureau California has 40 million residents, around 12 percent of the total population of the U.S.  Yet the state has 33 percent of the nation's welfare recipients.  Almost a quarter of the state population lives below or near the poverty line.  By coincidence, the state's gas and electricity prices are among the nation's highest.

Current state-funded pensions are among the most generous in the nation, and are woefully underfunded.  The state pays econ professors at Cal Berkeley more than $300,000 per year--and will have to pay them proportionate pensions when they retire.  They're among the highest paid academics in the nation.

One in four California residents was born outside the U.S.  In what is probably another coincidence, nearly half of all traffic accidents in the Los Angeles area are now classified as hit-and-run collisions.

Voters have tried to use the "initiative petition" method to steer public policy.  The initiatives pass handily, only to be thrown out by "progressive" judges.  As a result, voters now consider voting fairly pointless.

In impoverished central California towns such as Mendota, where thousands of acres of what was once some of the most productive farmland on the planet have been idled due to water cutoffs, once-busy farmworkers live in shacks.

How did California--once an unparalled paradise--manage to squander its rich natural inheritance?
Excessive state regulations, moronic legislators bent on expanding government control, and massive illegal immigration from impoverished nations.

The state government--which largely caused this mess--reacts by refusing to fix the critical issues, instead haggling over transgendered restroom issues and the aquatic environment of a 3-inch baitfish rather than dealing with a sinking state.

Can anything save California?

Theoretically, yes.  Blue-ribbon committees for years have offered bipartisan plans to simplify and reduce taxes, end burdensome regulations, reform schools, encourage assimilation and unity of culture, and offer incentives to build reasonably priced housing.

None of these ideas has a ghost of a chance of being adopted, because the entire state--including both chambers of the legislature-- is run by Democrats.

Logically, you'd think immigrants should welcome assimilation into a culture and a political matrix that is usually the direct opposite of what they fled from.  Instead they want to simply rule it.  And no poltician in the state has the courage to push assimilation.
When politicians (in this case almost all dems since they've controlled the state legislature for decades) pass laws based on bribing poor constituents for votes, rather than on the basis of *sound policy*, who can be surprised when the result is garbage--as it clearly is in California?

Fortunately current pols don't need to worry:  When the civil war hits, no one will have enough spare time to realize that it was the policies of the insane Left/Dems that flushed a lovely, rich state down the toilet.  All the pols will have enough stolen loot to flee to Vancouver or similar, and ordinary folks won't, so will be left to deal with the war as best they can.

But seriously, citizen:  Who really cares what happens to the folks our wonderful shoulda-been-president Hilliary labelcd "deplorables" anyway?  They're just so stupid and inbred and icky, dahling.

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