Ed Driscoll

"Some Might Call This California Disease"

Joel Kotkin and Bill Watkins write that Californication has struck neighboring Oregon:

California has been exporting people to Oregon for many years, even amid the recession in both states.

Indeed, the 2005 American Community Survey report shows that California-to-Oregon migration was 56,379 in 2005, the sixth-largest interstate flow in the United States. The 2000 census showed a five-year flow of 138,836 people, the eighth-largest over that time period. Until two years ago, Oregon was managing to absorb this population with mixed results, but generally as part of an expanding and diversifying economy. But that pattern has ended, at least for now.

So now what will Oregon do with a suddenly excess population? California, at least, can say its emigres over time will reduce unemployment and reduce out-of-whack property prices. The immediate net benefits for Oregon are harder to discern.

California’s massive economic collapse — which has resulted in 926,700 jobs lost from July 2007 through June 2009 and an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent — is now becoming Oregon’s problem. As Californians, largely for lifestyle and cost reasons, head north across the border, they have helped swell Oregon’s ranks of both unemployed and, perhaps equally important, underemployed.

Our analysis of California migrants has shown a gradual reduction in their earnings over what they were earning in the Golden State. There also are less quantifiable impacts. Portland, a city attractive to many unemployed and underemployed younger Californians, could well be becoming the “slacker” capital of the world.

There’s another major problem with the continuing California migration. Along with young people, newcomers to the state also include large numbers of the retired and semi-retired. These people generally have little interest in economic growth, whether for longtime state residents or their fellow, often younger emigres. Instead what they bring with them are political attitudes that could slow down the state’s economic recovery.

Some might call this California disease. This refers to a chronic inability to make hard decisions as well as a general disregard for business and economic activity.

Read the whole thing — what follows is an excellent overview of California’s infrastructure woes, created by a perpetual leftwing political overclass that’s turned William F. Buckley’s motto on its side: they’re standing thwart everything that isn’t a welfare program, and transforming “Not In My Backyard” to “Not In Our Entire State.”

Some Oregonians are fighting back against crippling taxes however — and they’ve recruited (likely not with his permission) a spokesman who’s not known for internalizing supply side economics. In other words, to play off the last headline — this time, it’s Barack and to the right!

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