Economics

Jerry Brown's Failed Vision for California

The governor should stop attacking his critics and start trying to fix California's broken economy.

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Years ago, after starting to report and editorialize on news events in an old factory city in Ohio, I was quickly dubbed a "negative" for pointing out the disastrous government spending, housing, and tax policies embraced by city leaders—policies that were keeping a nice place wretched. Anyone who made similar criticisms was dismissed as a nattering nabob who didn't care about the future of the city.

I've come to expect local officials to treat their critics this way, but was surprised to see Gov. Jerry Brown embrace this approach in his State of the State speech on Wednesday. Brown referred to the growing chorus of Californians complaining about a brain drain to Texas and other states with more favorable tax and regulatory climates as "declinists" with dark visions of the future.

"Every decade since the '60s, dystopian journalists write stories on the impending decline of our economy, our culture and our politics," he said. As he then explained, a lack of regulation caused the housing bubble, which slowed California's recovery. But that's over and the state is roaring back.

"Contrary to those declinists, who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams … . It's home to more Nobel Laureates and venture capital investment than any other state. … California has problems but rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated." There's no doubt that the tech sector remains strong, a testament to the word despite. Despite California legislators' and regulators' efforts to strangle the economy, investors and creative people still rather live in Silicon Valley than in Des Moines or El Paso. But the one thriving tech industry does not reflect on the overall economic situation statewide, which is far less optimistic. And it's hard to see how his solutions—massive tax increases and big new infrastructure spending programs—will revive the state.

First, here's a point of correction: The housing bust had more to do with government policy that promoted the granting of mortgages to people who couldn't afford them than it did with a lack of regulation. Ironically, the policies the governor has most strongly embraced exacerbated that situation. Throughout his career, Brown has championed stringent land-use regulations designed to combat urban sprawl.

When the housing market heated up, in less-regulated markets in Texas and other places, developers were able to fairly quickly build new homes to meet the surging demand. In California's excessively regulated markets, the lead time for building new houses was so long that prices for existing houses soared, and then they came crashing down with a vengeance after the housing bust. In cities where the market rather than planners called the shots, prices went up and came down in a far less extreme manner thanks to the wonders of supply and demand. Brown's misunderstanding of the housing market echoes his misunderstanding of what ails California.

The state's record-high unemployment rate is not just the result of a housing bust, but of a toxic business climate that regulates the heck out of everyone and everything. It's a result of a tax climate that sends people to other, less-attractive states, such as Texas. Those who point to Texas generally don't do so out of a particular love of that place, but because it is the nation's other mega-state and officials there are taking a more business-friendly approach, which has created a more dynamic and growing economy.

The state's Democrats respond to such comparisons by making fun of Texas culture and pointing to the many reasons no self-respecting Californian would move there. They are purposefully missing the point.

Of course California remains the land of dreams. Of course most of us would never want to live anywhere else. But when people can't earn a living here, they move to greener economic pastures, even if the new place is less appealing overall than the old one. California is suffering from the same problems found in any number of advanced social-welfare states, where wealth creation is punished and getting a job in the government is rewarded. California's officials don't believe in the private sector. They are representatives of the government class, and Brown is that group's highest-ranking member, which explains why government officials and retirees don't want any change. They are doing quite well under the current system, thank you very much.

"California is still the Gold Mountain that Chinese immigrants in 1848 came across the Pacific to find," the governor said. "The wealth is different, derived as it is, not from the Sierras but from the creative imagination of those who invent and build and generate the ideas that drive our economy forward."

He then championed the proposed high-speed rail system as a key to California's future, apparently seeing government as the new source of gold. He then derided rail critics as declinists who would have opposed the Interstate Highway system, the water project, and the construction of the Suez Canal. Yet Reuters recently reported that lawmakers "are gagging at the rail system's projected cost, which towers above its previous estimate of $43 billion, and are anxious about the uncertain outlook for federal and private-sector dollars …." Surely, these critics aren't all Luddites.

Sorry, but the true declinists are the ones who believe that California's health is dependent on spending tens of billions of dollars on a government rail project that looks a lot like a boondoggle. The true declinists are the ones who stick to the same path of taxing, spending, regulating, and suing the life out of the productive and entrepreneurial class. Brown is not just a declinist but a denialist, who believes that the same old policies that led to the current mess will lead us to a bright new future. Yet it's far better to point out the decline in the hopes of arresting it than to be party to it, regardless of what Brown calls us.

Steven Greenhut is the editor of CalWatchDog.com.

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  1. The left will never admit it’s failures. Never.

    1. You know the Jerry Brown mocking photo there is from the left? Right?

      1. Not sure, but I think it’s from the Dead Kennedys album “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” You might consider that “left” but I do not.

        1. Yes it is.
          I don’t know in what universe Anarchist in general and DK in particular aren’t part of the left. Not liberals in the modern sense, sure.
          But everyone is entitled to an opinion.

          1. “I don’t know in what universe Anarchist in general ”

            Maybe in the universe where it’s openly regarded that the Anarchist’s desire for a complete lack of government is in direct conflict with the Left Winger’s desire for centralized, intrusive governance.

      2. Great song
        “here comes the fashion police, for your un-cool niece”

      3. Unfortunately Jello Biafra is a heavy sufferer of Bush Derangement Syndrome and his art has suffered for it.

    2. California’s failures are Republican failures. If only they had destroyed their own states to the same extent then Cali would still be on top.

      1. “NO U LOL”

      2. Is KDN the nom de plume for Tony or MNG? This is the dumbist rant I have ever seen on Reason. And here I was under the impression that Gray Davis was a Democrat. And Jerry Brown in his previous incarnation as govenor ran CA into the ground. I guess Arnold can take some of the blame, but if you think he is really a Republican I have a bridge in SF I would like to sell you.
        Jerry Brown is an idiot. The fools in CA got exactly what they deserve.

        1. Good job putting up the true “dumbist” rant.

          Next time, try reading things you respond to.

  2. “He then derided rail critics as declinists who would have opposed the Interstate Highway system, the water project, and the construction of the Suez Canal.”

    He’s got me there.

    1. When those projects were proposed they did not exist, nor had they. They were forward looking plans.

      In the case of HSR, they are pretending to be resurrecting a mode of transportation that has come and gone. In fact what they are doing is pouring tons of money into bullshit, go-nowhere developments run by friends and supporters. The projects fail and their buddies walk away with millions. I would describe it as looting the treasury; third world, banana republic crony capitalism.

      1. I would describe it as looting the treasury; third world, banana republic crony capitalism.

        You’re far too kind to these projects. Needs more invective.

  3. “California is still the land of dreams”

    Texas, Utah, Arizona, etc… is the land of reality.

    1. Fever dreams? Chantix dreams? Dreams where it thought it had gotten up to use the toilet, but actually just pissed in bed?

      1. Dreams of what once was and never will be again.

        I lived in LA for a few years in the 90’s. It surprised my how nostalgic a place it is. People missed the old days of of fields and farms in Hollywood and actual orange orchards in Orange County. They really missed the opportunities and hope they used to have. And things were a lot better then with a Republican Governor and Mayor.

        1. If you tell an LA Democrat that his city was once run by a Republican, he’ll call you a racist tea-bagging revisionist and scream “LINKIN WAZ A DEMUKRAT U NO!”

          1. Top Racist Democrat Quotes:
            http://www.freerepublic.com/fo…..4587/posts

        2. They miss the old days with open land, farms and orange groves because the development of LA and Orange County has made those places a God-awful mess of freeways and traffic congestion.

    2. Yes, the land of dreamworld.

    3. Dreams are all they have.

  4. I dont know how many of you are old enough to remember, but when Jerry Brown was governor of Ca before, the main way he was able to capture attention was by marrying Linda Rhonstadt. He also quickly earned the nickname ‘Governor Moonbeam’, due to all the whacka-doodle nonsense he spouted.

    1. I remember. Who was the person who gave him the nickname, “Governor Moonbeam”? Whoever it was I recall them regretting it. I think it’s one of the best nicknames ever.

      1. It was Chicago columnist Mike Royko:
        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03…..inley.html

        1. Damn, shoulda scrolled down, someone beat me to it.

    2. I thought Linda Ronstadt’s “Living in the USA” album cover with the rollerskates was pretty hot at the time. Of course I was 14 or 15 so it didn’t take much.

      1. smokin hot, also the cover of Hasten Down the Wind

    3. They never married, just dated for a while.

      1. I thought I heard an interview in which she claimed that he never even defiled her.

        1. No, he fucked the state instead.

  5. I had forgotten so here it is from the NYT;

    The nickname was coined by Mike Royko, the famed Chicago columnist, who in 1976 said that Mr. Brown appeared to be attracting “the moonbeam vote,” which in Chicago political parlance meant young, idealistic and nontraditional.

    The term had a nice California feel, and Mr. Royko eventually began applying it when he wrote about the Golden State’s young, idealistic and nontraditional chief executive. He found endless amusement ? and sometimes outright agita ? in California’s oddities, calling the state “the world’s largest outdoor mental asylum.”

    “If it babbles and its eyeballs are glazed,” he noted in April 1979, “it probably comes from California.”

    But as any New Age Californian can tell you, such hate is probably cover for a deeper love. And so it was with Mr. Royko, who after many vicious gibes at Mr. Brown’s expense offered an outright apology to the governor, and spent years trying to erase the moniker.

    1. “But as any New Age Californian can tell you, such hate is probably cover for a deeper love.”

      Oh, for crying out . . . only the NYT.

    2. “If it babbles and its eyeballs are glazed…….”

      “It” grew up with a fondness for a tax-payer-looting police state, business-wrecking regulatory climate and an ignorance-inducing, budget-busting educational system.

      “Its” gaze turned into a spiteful glare and “its” babble to vicious class-warfare rhetoric.

  6. Fuck Jerry Brown. I remember in the mid nineties when he tried to reinvent himself…as…ta da…. a libertarian. Props though…he could be convincing about it. Forward 15 years to the unintentional cell phone call where he is clearly heard bragging about having the unions in his pocket.

    Jerry, political dog that he is eventually returned to his vomit.

    1. While he was mayor of Oakland he did some things contrary to the the Democrat party line, but unfortunately there’s little sign of innovative thinking from him these days.

    2. hahahahaha I had forgotten about that! Libertarian my ass

  7. Jerry “Small is Beautiful, Era of Limits” Brown? Maybe he is slipping into Alzheimer and thinks he is his dad.

    1. Funny you should mention that. Before the election there was quietly much talk about this being exactly the reason that politically reliable pretty boy Gavin Newsome was urged to run for lieutenant governor. That if Jerry decided to suddenly have an independent thought or two the rumor mill would start churning out the notion that Ol Jerry had developed dementia and really needed to step down…for the good of the state.

  8. Why not charge a 20% “exit fee” for anyone who wants to move?

    it would create an incentive for workers to stay until the situation is fixed.

    1. Don’t give them any ideas. The missus and I are in serious discussions about leaving California.

      1. Feel free to come to Texas. You have to choke on a lot of socon bullshit, but sweet bippity, do we have jobs and low cost of living. I wouldn’t leave it for the world (i.e. until a libertarian state happens somewhere where it doesn’t snow…I’m looking at you, New Hampshire).

        1. We were kinda’ interested in Austin, maybe San Antonio. Is Dallas any good (besides the Cowboys)?

          1. You wouldn’t like Austin. Terrible traffic and overrun with hipsters.

            I love Dallas, because including all the burbs connecting us to Ft. Worth, it’s like the 3rd largest metropolitan area in the US or something like that. But I really can’t say anything bad about San Antonio at all, it’s a lovely place.

            1. That’s the thing with Texas — it’s large urban areas, contrary to the common pattern, are good.

              1. *its

            2. Of places I’ve been, El Paso and Arlington were also very pleasant, and Arlington impressed genuinely. You wouldn’t think there’d be a modern titan state in the US with such decent cities.

            3. I like city living and I can move unnoticed among hipsters. I’ve got friends and family (who coincidentally are conservative/libertarian) in Austin, but San Antonio always looks so pretty when the Lakers play at the Spurs. Dallas and Houston seem to be the centers of Finance so those may be better choices. Or Chicago.

          2. Dallas was pretty good, but there was too much blue there for my tastes. Houston’s nice. I’ve been to Austin, and I also thought it was really cool, but I’ve never been to San Antonio.

            Move to Texas, or Arizona, or New Hampshire, or something. And do it now, dude. The People’s Democratic Soviet Socialist Republic of California won’t be able to take much more.

            1. Dallas is definitely etting overrun by nannies these days.

              1. In the city proper, sure, but who the fuck lives there? It’s all about Plano, Arlington, Frisco, etc.

                1. Once the nannies wreck a city, they move out to the suburbs like everyone else. This is the natural order of things.

          3. Take it from a Texas native who had the misfortune of living in Dallas for three years:

            Don’t. Live in Ft. Worth instead, unless your job is in Dallas and you can’t tolerate a brutal commute. Even then, you should be able to find one of the myriad other burblets to live in.

            San Antonio: from what I can tell, hosts a more or less permanent crime wave. Probably fairly easy to avoid, etc.

            Austin: hella expensive. If you’re not a major foodie or hipster, with bucks, it is probably not worth it.

    2. 1. That darn Constitution might interfere.
      2. Nobody would ever move there again.
      3. They couldn’t afford the border guards to enforce.

    3. Re: MNG,

      Why not charge a 20% “exit fee” for anyone who wants to move?

      You would have a booming and healthy human trafficking industry between California and Nevada with such a plan, MNG. I congratulate you on your witty sarcasm… As long as that is what it was.

    4. Dude, that’s some seriously fucked up thinking, MNG. Coercing citizens to stay? Remind you of anything?

    5. There is an expatriation tax when you renounce your US citizenship, or in some cases your green card. You basically pay tax on your unrealized capital gains if your net worth (including house, IRA) is more than about $2 million, or you pay about $130k a year in federal taxes. It was signed into law by King Bush II.

      1. No wonder the hollywood wienies never left like they promised they would to protest Bush.

    6. If they take you up on that idea, trust me I will hunt you down and make you pay.

    7. As someone who doesn’t live in California, I fully support this, though I think the fee is far too small.

      1. Wouldnt be a good idea…the rich lefty weinies would be the only ones able to leave the state.

  9. California’s officials don’t believe in the private sector.

    Which pretty much says it all. If the bordering states had erected a few signs on I10, I15 and other important access roads, with that ominous warning, it could have saved a lot of frustration and even lives.

  10. Brown referred to the growing chorus of Californians complaining about a brain drain to Texas and other states with more favorable tax and regulatory climates as “declinists” with dark visions of the future.

    Oh, anyone who’s ever worked for a failing corporation with breathtakingly bad management knows this is Standard Procedure(tm).

    1. Yeah, as soon as someone says “we are about turn the corner” it really means you are about to step in front of a speeding bus.


  11. The housing bust had more to do with government policy that promoted the granting of mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them than it did with a lack of regulation.

    This is a free market matter. The US Government PASSED NO LAWS, regulations, or executive orders requiring BANKS to create SUB-PRIME lending products. They did it on their own due to the fact that they had HIGH supply of money and LOW demand for loans.

    1. This MUST be the BIGGEST LIE going around in the housing bubble…that the entire thing is caused by people who took loans that could not afford them.

      The truth is, people will hate anything handed out for virtually free. In fact, some of these poor actually got to live in a Mansion that they would never even be able to visit for a few years. Yea, they got kicked out, but for many, with these ZERO down loans, not much was lost.

      The real losers are US stooges that didn’t do the flip-er-ru during the gravy train. People that didn’t participate in the SUB-PRIME ORGY. We are now subjected to the unemployment of the housing crash and the lost of equity of our homes while

      – Mortgage Brokers got pretty rich
      – Appraisers got pretty rich
      – CDO/CDS Traders got pretty rich

      Yet, conservatives and libertarians, alike, blame the entire thing on the poor stooge that thought he/she was finally getting cut in.

      You people are just nasty and cruel and I hope the pendulum never swings fully in your direction.

      1. Re: Itchy Puss,

        The truth is, people will hate anything handed out for virtually free.

        “Hate”?

        People will tend to value it less, but that does not translate to “hatred.” Only insane people would hate a thing.

        1. Sorry, I meant to say TAKE…and not HATE.

      2. I’m always missing the orgies.

    2. You, sir, or madam, are displaying a remarkeably high level of extreme IGNORANCE on this matter.

      Because your statement is utterly, totally, completely and demonstrably FALSE.

      1. I and Barney Frank thank you.

      2. Beside me being IGNORANT and EVIL, can you mention why I’m wrong?

        1. Re: Itchy Puss,

          can you mention why I’m wrong?

          Where do you want to begin?

          a) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are not called “government sponsored enterprises” for kicks.

          b) The Federal Reserve may be “private” on paper, but the chairman is appointed by the POTUS. So much for private.

          So you’re wrong on those two just for starters.

          c) The government did pass the Community Reinvestment Act which amde it mandatory for banks to lend to people regardless of ability to pay. The expansion of this program in the 90s exacerbated the problem that lead to the housing crisis of 2002-2007.

          d) Your simplistic view of the situation is risible. You mention low cost money as if it were something merely tangential to the matter, without realizing the important role it played in fueling the bubble.

          Want me to go on?

        2. Read this, Itchy.

          1. This is what I’m saying. The government regulations came from Corporate America.

            1. No, corporate America took advantage of government regulations. Corporate America didn’t create Fannie, Freddie, the CRA, etc.

        3. 1. I didn’t see anyone – certainly not me – call you “evil.”

          2. Although I’m sure this is well beyond your minute attention span, watch this and then get back to us.

        4. “Beside me being IGNORANT and EVIL”

          As opposed to everyone else being “CRUEL and NASTY” for not giving into the same self-delusion you are?

    3. Re: Itchy Puss,

      The US Government PASSED NO LAWS, regulations, or executive orders requiring BANKS to create SUB-PRIME lending products.

      That’s not what caused the housing bubble.

      They did it on their own due to the fact that they had HIGH supply of money and LOW demand for loans.

      There wasn’t a low demand for loans. The housing bubble had started a long time ago with the insistence on home ownership from politicians who were peddling dreams to gullible people. What made a bad situation worse was the government guarantees through Fannie and Freddie and a below market interest rate.

      1. I don’t know what you do old mexican, but nothing is done to help the poor people.

        There was an extremely low demand in the late 90’s and lots of investors…specifically at places Like Lehman Brothers.

        You are the gullible one that believes that the GOVERNMENT trying to be nice and give everyone home ownership is the cause. The root cause is SIMPLE to find. FOLLOW the MONEY. It was the investment banks and brokerage houses.

        Fannie and Freddie and the FED are NOT the government. They are the Cronies of BIG Business, that install there own people in high places in the government to make these things happen.

        And, stooges like yourself, blaming the stupid poor guy for not reading the contract and not knowing what he’s getting into, really help these cronies and crooks out a lot.

        Keep up the good work.

        1. Thanks, pal.

        2. NICE USE of interMITTENT All CAPS like some of OUR more colorfuL reason.COM COMMENterS.

          1. I miss Hercule. The current flavor of intermittent caps troll is not nearly as entertaining.

            1. You sound like a shill for the [AGRICULTURAL][CITY-STATE]!

              I kid.

        3. Re: Hollywood Drv Street Worker,

          I don’t know what you do old mexican, but nothing is done to help the poor people.

          What poor people?

          There was an extremely low demand in the late 90’s and lots of investors…

          What the hell is an “extremely low demand”? Compared to what?

          […]specifically at places Like Lehman Brothers.

          Your sentence makes no sense. What does that have to do with demand for loans?

          You are the gullible one that believes that the GOVERNMENT trying to be nice and give everyone home ownership is the cause.

          “Government being nice” – and I am supposed to be the “gullible” one.

          Fannie and Freddie and the FED are NOT the government.

          Yeah, and I have a bridge to sell to you.

          And, stooges like yourself, blaming the stupid poor guy for not reading the contract and not knowing what he’s getting into, really help these cronies and crooks out a lot.

          You will be hardpressed to find anything I have written tht could even come close to what you allege.

          There’s no question that Freddie and Fannie are cronies, but they are only the government’s cronies. Banks that did not align themselves to these two were solvent and in good shape even in 2008.


          1. There’s no question that Freddie and Fannie are cronies, but they are only the government’s cronies. Banks that did not align themselves to these two were solvent and in good shape even in 2008.

            That is completely not true. And, I don’t blame you for not knowing the details on this.

            The entire concept of SECURITIZATION is what led to these Freddie/Fannie things. It was meant to fundamentally change Banks from

            being Savings/Loans where they would have vested interest in who they lend money

            to institutions that merely collect fees, skim investments, and have no real skin in the lending game.

            1. I don’t blame you for not knowing the details on this.

              Oh?

              The entire concept of SECURITIZATION is what led to these Freddie/Fannie things.

              Yeah. He’s got you there, Se?or. Clearly an expert, this one.

              1. Dat rite, becuz he uzzed ALL CAPS in da big wurd makez im an AUTHORI-TIE!

            2. Re: Hollywood Street Worker,

              That is completely not true.

              Mind what you say, sonny. Freddie and Fannie are not called government sponsored companies just for kicks. And what I am saying about those banks that did not sign on the Freddie guarantees were perfectly solvent and in good shape in 2008 (until made to accept TARP money by Paulson’s goons) is completely true.

        4. “You are the gullible one that believes that the GOVERNMENT trying to be nice and give everyone home ownership ”

          You think the government wants to ensure everyone has a place to live out of “niceness” and you’re accusing HIM of being gullible?

        5. The stupid is strong and the caps are random.

          Wall St Worker = Alice Bowie?

    4. You’re forgetting the community investment act of the 1970’s.

    5. Sorry but the government required banks to make a specific percentage of low income loans or else they couldn’t use Fredy mac or Fanny may as a loan backer, which means do it or don’t loan any money to anyone.

  12. “Contrary to those declinists, who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams ? . It’s home to more Nobel Laureates and venture capital investment than any other state. ?

    Did he say we have nice symphony orchestras?

  13. I am afraid one of my grandfathers was a bit of a character, maybe a bit off. Ok, maybe more than a bit.

    I distinctly remember once when he had overloaded his bass-boat and the bow dipped below the surface, he was standing in the center of the deck proclaiming over and over “It’ll float! It’ll float!” while everyone else jumped out back onto the dock. He stood there in the center of the boat until the hull was resting on the bottom and he was neck deep in water, still proclaiming it would float. Everyone was laughing their asses off. I was too young to understand just what a fantastic example of denialism I was witnessing.

    1. Awesome!
      I’ve seen some funny shit at the launch ramps, but nothing close to that.

  14. onetime I had a dream that I was bit by a bat but when I woke up my hand was in my mouth.

    1. I like to fart in jars too. For the environment doncha know!

  15. Brown is not just a declinist but a denialist, who believes that the same old policies that led to the current mess will lead us to a bright new future.

    His supporters would counter that the policies would work if it weren’t for the greedy corporations and businesspeople who simply cannot bring themselves to play ball. I ahve heard this many times before.

    Or they will blame it to the free market, you know, like blaming the sun for causing skin cancer…

    1. Sorry, I had my pupils dilated and can hardly read…

      “Or they will blame the free market. You know, like blaming the sun for causing skin cancer…”

      Better.

      1. This may sound strange, but I have to ask: how long ago did you learn English? I know it’s your second language, but you’d never know it from how well you write and use native English idioms. My wife has lived in the states for 20 years, and I still can’t tell the difference when she speaks between the words “owl” and “arrow”. Makes bow-hunting for owls very dangerous.

        1. Seconded. I always though Old Mex was a cranky old white guy just like me who had grabbed a colorful south of the border moniker!

        2. Re: Gojira,

          This may sound strange, but I have to ask: how long ago did you learn English?

          I’ve been learning English since I was 10 years old and living in a border town. You catch things quickly when watching Saturday morning cartoons and learning to read those manuals and magazines for home computers. I had a VIC20 and then a TRS Color Computer. Good times, good times.

          Oh, I’m 43 now. Thank you for wondering!

          1. Ah, a border town. That’s where my father’s (very poor) Spanish comes from. Well for what it’s worth, you’ve done an excellent job of it.

          2. GET OUT!

            My first computer was a TRS-80 co-co too! I had the deluxe version with 16K of RAM! My dad swore that no son of his would start with a plebian 4K system.

            1. Re: Tarran,

              I had the deluxe version with 16K of RAM!

              The silver one or the white? I had the white (CoCo 2.)

              The only problem with that machine is that the design had the microprocessor do everything, including sound and graphics. It would’ve been smoking hot if the designers had added at least a sound chip. And that multiplexer SAM chip just burned like a stove! Good thing the white version had a better venting grate.

              1. I had the silver.

                One other cute property; enter the following program

                10 i = 1
                20 poke(i,0)
                30 i = i+1
                40 print i
                50 goto 20

                The machine would run nicely for about 15 seconds, then turn into a brick. Turned out the ROM wasn’t so read only… 🙁 Luckily the guys at the Harvard Square Radio Shack were quite happy to reflash the EPROM for us. 🙂

      2. Sorry, I had my pupils dilated

        Just wait until the trails start . . . .

    2. It is obviously Greedy Corporations and business people. However, we never look down the the virtue of GREED. In fact, there’s probably nothing more american than GREED. We based our entire economy off the fact that people are naturally GREEDY.

      1. You certainly are a sandy vagina, aren’t you. At least you picked an apropos handle.

        Unless you are a spoof troll, in which case, I congratulate you, sir (or madam, as the case may be).

      2. Re: Itchy Puss,

        It is obviously Greedy Corporations and business people.

        See? What did I say?

    3. We need more deckchairs on the Titanic! And where’s the band? Tell them to play something more jolly and festive!

  16. Last call for alcohol.
    Last call for your freedom of speech.
    Drink up! Happy hour is now enforced by law.
    Don’t forget our house special; it’s called the Tricky Dicky Screwdriver. It’s got one part Jack Daniels, two parts purple Kool-Aid, and a jigger of formaldehyde from the jar with Hitler’s brain in it we got in the back storeroom.

  17. You know who else wanted to be ?ber alles?

    1. Jello Biafra?

    2. Newcular Titties?

  18. This state would be a very nice place to live if the Democratic party went extinct.

    1. We have fabulous weather and nice scenery. The rest of the shine is worn through to the bare wood though.

      Shit.

    2. This state would be a very nice place to live if the Democratic party went extinct.

      I’m sure they’d find something worse to replace it with.

      1. This. The Communists would reign supreme.

        I wish to fuck we could leave, but my wife works in big media, so we’re limited to California and New York. Ugh.

  19. I know several displaced Californians here in Dallas. They left mostly for economic reasons, but that doesn’t stop them from wistfully talking about how much more awesome than everything else on earth California is every time they open their mouths.

    They refer to all the bullshit they had to put up with as a “perfect weather tax”.

    1. They refer to all the bullshit they had to put up with as a “perfect weather tax”.

      Too steep a price to pay for something you can get lots of other places. I’ve lived all over California: from San Diego to Orange County to LA to Monterey. Now I live in Florida. Low taxes, great weather, no earthquakes, much lower cost of living, very gun-friendly, AND the ocean temps in the summer are probably about 80 degrees. In California, water temps usually top out in the mid-60s, even at the height of summer. Small point for some, very important to me.

      1. Dude, it’s 2012. “California” now starts with a “K”!

        1. Dude, it’s 2012. “California” now starts with a “K”!

          I thought it was KKKalifornia. Or is that soooo 2011?

      2. I’ve only visited, but I think Florida is too humid and sticky. And unlike earthquakes in California you’re pretty much guranteed a big hurricane or tropical storm every year, right?

        1. And unlike earthquakes in California you’re pretty much guranteed a big hurricane or tropical storm every year, right?

          I live on the coast in northern Florida, and my city hasn’t had a direct hit from a hurricane in almost 50 years. In 2004, we had one that skirted the coast; I was without power for about a day. The danger is more real in south Florida than anywhere.

          1. You’re making a pretty good case here. I assumed it would be a lot more expensive to live there. I’m going to have to watch for jobs in Florida now.

            1. You’re making a pretty good case here. I assumed it would be a lot more expensive to live there. I’m going to have to watch for jobs in Florida now.

              I’ve been here since 1993, and I love it. Also, we have no state income tax, and for the most part, real estate prices are reasonable. Lots of SoCons, though, at least here in northern Florida. Confederate flags everywhere!

              1. Lots of SoCons, though, at least here in northern Florida. Confederate flags everywhere!

                Right now I’m in NW Arkansas where I still have to deal with socons and fundies without boats or diving.

                We also don’t allow direct alcohol sales, and we don’t have Dogfish Head. That’s stretching the limits of habitability.

      3. I always heard the hurricane insurance in Florida is a beastly burden. Anything to that?

        1. A friend from Jacksonville says it’s not as bad as people say (it was on the news plenty last year), but it’s still oftentimes a pain.

        2. I always heard the hurricane insurance in Florida is a beastly burden. Anything to that?

          Depends. A modest home in a low-risk area might cost only a few hundred dollars a year to insure, while a luxury home on the water might be 10 or 20 grand a year. Many basic homeowner polices will already cover wind and rain damage from a hurricane, but not flood damage; i.e., storm surge.

          It’s going to take more than having to buy hurricane insurance to make Florida as prohibitively expensive a place to live as California.

        3. Well, I’m paying earthquake insurance here in CA, so I guess State Farm would get my money no matter where I lived.

      4. Where in FL do you live?

        1. Moot.

    2. They should have stayed in Cali. They leave yet the people that can’t are the ones that screwed by those “awesome” ideas brought forth in California wistfully thought of by said transplanted Californians.

  20. “The state’s Democrats respond to such comparisons by making fun of Texas culture and pointing to the many reasons no self-respecting Californian would move there. They are purposefully missing the point.”

    Texas is better than California economically and sociopolitically in every way, but no self-respecting Californian would ever move there, probably because our definition of self-respecting Californians is confined to pinko crackpots like ourselves. God, was Karl Marx hot! *Provocatively licks copy of ‘The Communist Manifesto’.*

  21. “He then derided rail critics as declinists who would have opposed the Interstate Highway system,” That’s hilarious since he’s the governor who stopped all freeway construction in California during his last term as governor. thsi of course is why we have terrible traffic jams here.

  22. OK, I keep hearing about California’s business unfriendly climate. Then how is it home to the biggest tech companies like google, facebook, linkedin, oracle, turbotax, and at least a thousand other companies. Heck, even reason in CA (at least their headquarters are although I think some writers work from home or offices in other states and countries).

    So it can’t be all that bad.

    Maybe there is momentum of technological genius here, meaning that in the past tech companies established themselves here, so as those tech employees branched out and formed their own companies, they did it here. And because these companies and the people who work for them pay a shitload of tax, the CA government can get away with taxing more. It’s no different from owning property in a good area, which allows you to charge higher rents.

    Until big companies start moving out or being created elsewhere, nothing is gonna change.

    1. Re: 16th Amendment,

      Then how is it home to the biggest tech companies like google, facebook, linkedin, oracle, turbotax, and at least a thousand other companies.

      Because IT companies do not need to comply with the same regulations than, oh let’s say, a cement plant.

      Besides, take into consideration that a lot of labor those companies rely on is outsourced to other countries, lowering their costs substantially.

      1. IT companies have to comply with one big form of regulation as other companies — namely a stupendously high tax rate.

    2. Intel is still based in CA but they moved all of their chip-making out. That’s been the story on most manufacturing – the corporate office may be here, but the job base left.

    3. California isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s a lot of good about it. Much of the state is incredibly scenic and beautiful. The weather is incredibly mild in many places, including the Bay Area where many of the tech companies reside. And, you can get incredibly good and fresh produce year-round.

      I think the worst things about California are: 1)freeway traffic, which causes a loss of productivity and a lot of stress, and makes me think that it’s a good idea to try to get people out of their cars, and 2) high cost of housing, which is probably caused by still high demand and regulations on land use.

      But the weather makes it incredibly difficult to leave. Austin, Texas, which is growing jobs, also had over 90 days straight of 100+ degree temperatures last year, and the state still has a bad drought.

  23. Gosh, cruising these comments felt like a California family reunion. I left CA in 2004 to the laughter of my friends. I sold my properties and moved to Montana. I wanted to get established someplace before the crash. I now think everything will be much worse, so I now have an apartment in Santiago, Chile. It’s almost like the old America down there. If I didn’t have rental properties in Montana, I would be there full time now. Keep moving, folks. Texas isn’t far enough.

    1. Californicated Montana? More former Californians in Montana than in hell.

  24. “Every decade since the ’60s, dystopian journalists write stories on the impending decline of our economy, our culture and our politics,” he said.

    Every decade since the ’60, profitable businesses have been fleeing the People’s Republic of California, to avoid being taxed and regulated into oblivion.

  25. The Interstate Highway system, the water project, and the construction of the Suez Canal?

    Can you fucking even imagine any one of those projects getting past the 350 commissions, agencies, and environmental impact studies that CA would impose? We have to destroy this state to save it. Brown, the Dem legislators, and the public employee unions are oh so close to accomplishing that.

    1. Every one of those are all failed, big government boondoggles. We need to scrap the highway system and let entrepreneurs rebuild it from scratch. Just pulverize the whole thing and sell the rubble to private companies who can rebuild it cheaper and more efficiently.

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