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Works and Days

Thoughts on the Therapeutic Style

January 31st, 2009 - 10:40 pm


Who is the “They” now in California?

How does one explain how California is broke, tens of billions of dollars in aggregate debt, despite having among the highest sales and income taxes in the nation?

We are naturally rich beyond belief—timber, oil, agriculture, a long sea-coast, wonderful weather, mountains, sea, and valleys—and inherited lucrative industries in tourism, computers and software, defense and great universities. Our grandparents left us a once wonderful freeway network, a tripartite higher education system, ports, airports, dams and canals.

So what went wrong, and why are tens of thousands of Californians leaving the state with bachelor degrees and above, while tens of thousands enter without high-school diplomas?

Many answers have been offered—incompetent governance, judicial intrusions, the ballot propositions, trial lawyers, unions, dysfunctional and politically-correct schools, or illegal immigration. But look at it in some sense as the long hoped-for end of the nebulous “them / they.”

For years the open borders lobby accused “them” (whites? The establishment? Conservatives? etc.) of racism in wanting the border with Mexico closed, an end to state entitlements to illegal aliens (remember the Satanic Prop 187?), and deportations of thousands of aliens in state prisons (a cost nearing $1 billion per annum). But now the state legislature is largely controlled by those who in the past argued for de facto open borders and an expansion, not a curtailment, of entitlements for those without legal residence. So whom to blame? There is no “they” anymore. The outsiders are insiders and own the state—and its contradictions they once helped to ensure.

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