"Back in the 1960s and 1970s, there was a seemingly endless parade of pop songs about how great life was in California, and millions of young Americans dreamed of moving to the land of sandy beaches and golden sunshine. But now all of that has changed."
At DailyMarkets.com, Michael Snyder takes a long, strange trip to the contemporary Golden State, which has racked up an astonishing 19 strikes in its current at-bat.
Snyder, whose columns always erupt in entertaining fits of apocalepsy, here overstates the case a bit. The only bad news about governments' slashing of 37,300 jobs (#3 on the list) is that they're not slashing 373,000 jobs. (And of course, when jobs get terminated in government agencies, they and their pension liabilities have a habit of turning up miraculously alive in other agencies.)
But there's plenty of real trouble under the hood. A few of Snyder's 19 reasons people are thinking of loading up the truck and moving back to Lubbock:
#2 The number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.
#4 California has the third highest state income tax in the nation: a 9.55% tax bracket at $47,055 and a 10.55% bracket at $1,000,000.
#5 California has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%. Indiana has the next highest at 7%.
#6 Residents of California pay the highest gasoline taxes (over 67 cents per gallon) in the United States.
#7 Even with all of the taxes, the budget deficit for the California state government for the current year is approximately 19 billion dollars.
#9 20 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid.
#16 The "lawsuit climate" in California is ranked number 46 out of all 50 states.
#19 Large tent cities have been springing up all over the state of California. Just check out the following shocking video news report…
Read 'em all, and note that we have located the 20th reason: The governor's wife (a member of the extended Kennedy clan, have we pointed that out?) is renaming the foodstamps program "CalFresh" in order to get more people to use it—because apparently there are still one or two Californians who are not on public assistance.
Always be wary of thinking the government's problems are your problems. Snyder worries a lot about state and local budget cuts, threats to various systems, and so on. These are the solutions to the problem; they're not the problem. To hear Jerry Brown tell it, California's economy was created by its government. To listen to the Republicans who have festooned the Central Valley with signs reading "Congress Created Dust Bowl" (please, people: hyphenate those compound modifiers), the state's agricultural fecundity—which predates both the United States and Spanish California—resulted from government policy. The appeal of California comes from the bounty of nature and a surplus of human ingenuity. Government can deplete both of those resources, but it's unlikely to destroy them.
Unfortunately there may be only one man left who can appreciate the riches of the Golden State, and Huell ain't runnin'…