At Forbes, Joel Kotkin writes, turn out the (AlGore-approved twisty flourescent) lights, the party’s over in the no-longer quite-so-Golden State — though it’s just getting started in Texas:
Ultimately the “green jobs” strategy, effective as a campaign plank, represents a cruel delusion. Given the likely direction of the new GOP-dominated House of Representatives in Washington, massive federal subsidies for the solar and wind industries, as well as such boondoggles as high-speed rail, are likely to be scaled back significantly. Without subsidies, federal loans or draconian national regulations, many green-related ventures will cut as oppose to add jobs, as is already beginning to occur. The survivors, increasingly forced to compete on a market basis, will likely move to China, Arizona or even Texas, already the nation’s leader in wind energy production.
Tom Hayden, a ’60s radical turned environmental zealot, admits that given the current national climate the only way California can maintain Brown’s “green vision” will be to impose “some combination of rate heights and tax revenues.” Such an approach may help bail out green investors, but seems likely to drive even more businesses out of the state.
California’s decline is particularly tragic, as it is unnecessary and largely unforced. The state still possesses the basic assets–energy, fertile land, remarkable entrepreneurial talent–to restore its luster. But given its current political trajectory, you can count on Texans, and others, to keep picking up both the state’s jobs and skilled workers. If California wishes to commit economic suicide, Texas and other competitors will gladly lend them a knife.
As with President Obama, Sacramento politicians are determined to further transform California into Europe, even as Europe is waking up — with quite a hangover — to the fiscal horrors brought on by its Nanny State obsessions.