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The PJ Tatler

Stephen Green


March 29, 2013 - 8:28 am

California hiked taxes and now everything’s fine there. No, really.

Look, as a professional blogger I have to read a lot of stupid… stuff. But it’s been a long time — I mean, we have to go back almost two years — since I’ve read anything so brain-puddingly dumb as Timothy Egan’s column for the New York Times “Opinionater.”

Bear with me now as we journey inside:

Right on cue, just as the chorus of California-hating naysayers have signed off on yet another obituary — It’s Greece! A liberal nightmare! Everyone’s leaving! — the Golden State is dreaming once again.

Following a tax hike backed by voters last year, California is projecting a budget surplus in the near future, and big pockets of the state are national leaders in job creation and population growth.

Those “big pockets” are, from top to bottom, San Diego, Los Angeles, and the western half of the San Francisco Bay Area. And that’s about it, except maybe for the nicer bits of Sacramento. The rest of the state, as our own Victor Davis Hanson has illustrated, is exactly the basketcase everybody (but Egan) knows it is.

The California of middle-class dreams is dead. Those “pockets” are of the increasingly rich, taxed increasingly high, to keep at bay an increasingly dependent underclass. The rest of the state is hollowing out, as small business flees Sacramento’s increasingly Byzantine diktats. Of course, that is the Progressive vision of political perfection.

And yet it gets worse. Egan’s column, I mean:

Of greater significance, two of the biggest public works projects in American history — a $68 billion bullet train that will speed people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2 hours and 38 minutes, and a huge re-plumbing of the state’s biggest river and delta system — are moving forward. If they come together as planned, these ventures will lay the foundation for a California of 60 million people that may actually be more livable than the state that now has 38 million.

60 million people taking the high-speed train, huh? That boondoggle that might never get built? I’m curious where those extra 22 million are going to come from, after reading this report from Bill Watkins:

California’s poverty statistics are just as depressing. The state now is home to one-third of all US welfare recipients. According to a Census Bureau report, The Research SUPPLEMENTAL POVERTY REPORT: 2011 California has the nation’s highest poverty rate of any state. By its Supplemental Poverty Measure, 23.5 percent of California’s population is poor, while only 15.8 percent of the nation’s population is poor. No other state is above 20 percent.

Because of its aging and increasingly poor population, its dearth of young people and migratory trends, demand for government services in California will be increasing as the number of people available to pay for those services will be decreasing. Financing concurrent expenses will be hard enough. Paying for today’s excesses may prove impossible…

Domestic migration is important because it should be seen as an early warning signal of eventual decline. Migrants are the proverbial “canaries in the coal mine”. When domestic migration is negative, people are voting with their feet. They are saying that California doesn’t provide enough opportunity to stay, particularly given its high cost of living. Given how comfortable it is to live in California, I think they make that decision reluctantly.

Egan’s view of California is no different from standing in the well-appointed living room of a well-to-do serial killer, and congratulating him on his good taste — while ignoring the screams of the coeds chained to the water heater in the dank basement.

And yet Egan’s column gets even worse, letting loose cries of right-wing racism and accusations of being unpatriotic:

But there is something irrational, indeed unpatriotic, in rooting for California to fail, as so many conservatives are now doing. Sure, they are upset that the Republican Party is dead in this state — R.I.P. G.O.P. And, among the fringes, there are those who cannot accept that California is a minority-majority state, with whites making up about 39 percent of the population. They’ve seen the future and don’t like it one bit.

I won’t even bother trying to trump Egan’s race card, because it has lost its sting. But I will finish with one last thought.

We on the right aren’t rooting for California to fail. But we are desperately afraid that it will — and take the rest of the country with it.

Stephen Green began blogging at in early 2002, and has served as PJMedia's Denver editor since 2008. He's one of the hosts on PJTV, and one-third of PJTV's Trifecta team with Scott Ott and Bill Whittle. Steve lives with his wife and sons in the hills and woods of Monument, Colorado, where he enjoys the occasional lovely adult beverage.

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All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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My only problem with the slow motion self-destruction of California is as those folks with the means leave and settle in my state they tend to bring thier stupid prog ideas with them. They should be quarantined in the gulag of their own making until the swear (or affirm) never to commit the same economic and social atrocities in other states.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The PROJECTED revenues are based on assumptions that are completely absurb.
They are projecting that every wealthy person will continue to send work just as much, and keep sending in more money to Sacramento. They are projecting that there will be a steady decline in the unemployment rate, and a decline in the cost of government services (good luck with that.)
California would be a better deal for the US if we just gave it back to Mexico.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Please, New York Times, continue convincing people that California is a great place to stay—at least until I successfully move out.

Oh, and those tax increases that supposedly project a budget surplus—they had nothing to do with my decision. Serious, you guys.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

"We on the right aren’t rooting for California to fail"

And we Cubs fans aren't either. We project they will win a World Series based upon years of futility and failure. We are just waiting for the last living human to have ever witnessed this event to pass. We call this The Law of Memory Attrition.

If we can amass enough sniveling toady propagandists to write outright lies and slanders, the Cubbies will join the Animal Farm league and call it the majors.

And, if ever there was a recipe for fiscal success, getting rid of the two party system and having just leftist Democrats has worked so well in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore...losing tax base is good, replacing small business owners with an two large statefuls of an underground underclass is simply brilliant.

If you can't be a man with honor...wear your treason on your sleeve and sell a newspaperman.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"We on the right aren’t rooting for California to fail. But we are desperately afraid that it will — and take the rest of the country with it."


And frankly, I'm now to the point where I wish they *would* become a separate country. Because the only way they'll stay afloat is by either facing the crisis head-on, or having the rest of us bail them out indefinitely. Which the maroons in DC are more than willing to do.

Maybe the Mexico-firsters should be given free reign there. Let them handle the problem they've helped perpetuate.

Of course, I was born and reared there, so I say this mostly tongue-in-cheek. But watching the state go down the tubes is extraordinarily painful, when I allow myself to feel anything at all.

Time for a scotch.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
i clicked through and read the ferris beuller article. kinda like to hear more about the getting sentenced to military school gig sometime.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Following a tax hike backed by voters last year, California is projecting a budget surplus in the near future"

Wait, are they saying that things are good today because they are PROJECTING a surplus tomorrow? An old saying about counting unhatched eggs comes to mind.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Pompeii and Thera both offer an alternative.

And after The Big One, perhaps we will all be spared the worse when California slides into the sea.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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