Antonio Villaraigosa

Joe Shmoe Shrugs: Kotkin on California's Middle-Class Exodus


What California needs is a publicly funded female robot that looks like C3PO.

Urban theorist Joel Kotkin talks with the Wall Street Journal's Allysia Finley about why people with opportunities are leaving the Golden State. 

While a lot of the material will be familiar to regular readers, Kotkin, a sometime Reason contributor, makes a point worth singling out: Although Republicans predict the state's steeply progressive tax rate will result in millionaire flight, the evidence suggests it's really the middle class taking it on the arches: 

"Basically, if you don't own a piece of Facebook or Google and you haven't robbed a bank and don't have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak," says Mr. Kotkin.

While many middle-class families have moved inland, those regions don't have the same allure or amenities as the coast. People might as well move to Nevada or Texas, where housing and everything else is cheaper and there's no income tax.

These days, California calls you to leave.

And things will only get worse in the coming years as Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and his green cadre implement their "smart growth" plans to cram the proletariat into high-density housing. "What I find reprehensible beyond belief is that the people pushing [high-density housing] themselves live in single-family homes and often drive very fancy cars, but want everyone else to live like my grandmother did in Brownsville in Brooklyn in the 1920s," Mr. Kotkin declares.

"The new regime"—his name for progressive apparatchiks who run California's government—"wants to destroy the essential reason why people move to California in order to protect their own lifestyles."

Housing is merely one front of what he calls the "progressive war on the middle class." Another is the cap-and-trade law AB32, which will raise the cost of energy and drive out manufacturing jobs without making even a dent in global carbon emissions. Then there are the renewable portfolio standards, which mandate that a third of the state's energy come from renewable sources like wind and the sun by 2020. California's electricity prices are already 50% higher than the national average.

Oh, and don't forget the $100 billion bullet train. Mr. Kotkin calls the runaway-cost train "classic California." "Where [Brown] with the state going bankrupt is even thinking about an expenditure like this is beyond comprehension. When the schools are falling apart, when the roads are falling apart, the bridges are unsafe, the state economy is in free fall. We're still doing much worse than the rest of the country, we've got this growing permanent welfare class, and high-speed rail is going to solve this?"

These complaints are coming from a Jerry Brown voter who thought the new/old governor would be able to think "outside the box." Kotkin is no conservative. His real interest is in the way government planners can't stand the revealed preferences of the population, a point he discussed in this interview

The L.A. Times is doing you a favor by keeping this one behind the paywall.

If this point of view doesn't have a recognizable constituency, it's because the elites are so accustomed to  a world of trains that will never run, houses nobody can afford and quarter-million-dollar gardening projects that they have lost all connection to reality. 

The other day, the L.A. Times ran an editorial unironically calling L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa the "Transportation Mayor." As you can see, the piece contains no factual evidence beyond the assertion that the stumpy chief executive "presided over a term of unprecedented growth in the city's transit network."

What that means in practical terms is that part of the Expo light rail line will open later this month, nearly $300 million over budget and with no projections of how many people will ride the train. 

In broader terms, Viallraigosa has managed one result you wouldn't have thought possible: L.A.'s population has been flat and GDP has been falling since he took office, yet its traffic problem has gotten worse. There's no way anybody with practical experience of trying to survive in L.A. on less than $92,000 a year could have written the deathless lines to the left.  

This book has more about Dave Brubeck than even Dave Brubeck would want to read.

According to Kotkin, California has experienced a net loss of four million people in interstate migration since the beginning of the 1990s, and most of these have been younger families. That's a recipe for longterm stagnation, and it helps explain why the state's tax revenues fall short of projections except in the rare year when there's a Google IPO or similar event.

But in a strange way it is sustainable. There are places in the developed world that get by with a lordly overclass, a layer of welfare recipients far below, and basically nothing between the two. In that respect, the progressives' dream of turning California into a Pacific version of Manhattan might come true. 

How will all this get explained in the next heavyweight installment of Kevin Starr's more-admired-than-read multivolume history of California? The first seven closely printed volumes generally kept to the official line that wise public expenditures and visionary megaprojects created a middle class paradise on the West Coast. 

How will the official story stand up when it turns out you can't afford to keep paying for three different state college systems, boards of horse racing and chiropractory, free bus rides to Dodgers games and 278 state parks? Early betting: It will all turn out to be Prop 13's fault. 

NEXT: Marion Barry Doubles Down on "Dirty Asians"

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  1. A few weeks ago I hopped on the motorcycle and rode over the hills to tour Death Valley. I spent a night in Beatty, Nevada and realized I’d lost perspective on how fucked up California is. Kids were riding up and down the streets on quads and dirt bikes. Gas was more than a buck cheaper a gallon in the middle of nowhere NV than it is in semi-densely populated Ventura County, CA. If anything keeps the middle class here, it’s going to be that they don’t have any idea how much greener the grass is on the other side of the California border.

    1. Yeah, but the schools aren’t as good.


      1. Mr Cavanaugh, where’s the “hat tip to delightful commenter Anacreon” who linked to this story yesterday in the Pineapple thread?

        *sniff* This was my chance to be a star!

        1. I wondered the same. It’s possible Timmy C was already working on this story when you linked this story.

          You probably failed some standardized test somewhere and that disqualified you from hat tippage.

          1. you didn’t bet on the pineapple to win the race.

    2. SHHHH!

    3. “If anything keeps the middle class here, it’s going to be that they don’t have any idea how much greener the grass is on the other side of the California border.”

      This is so true. I moved to California about a year and a half ago, and people here really think the flyover states are a Mad Max-style wasteland. It doesn’t occur to them that there are places, like my home state, that are safer, have better schools, lower crime rates, more jobs, and a growing middle class. Californians ability to kid themselves is amazing.

      Along with this article, there was a whole slew of articles in the Wall Street Journal this weekend about how the state is killing itself (not so) slowly.

      1. “I wish it would work, Pappagallo. You can’t expect to compete with that. Every day we get weaker while they get stronger. It’s finished. I’m sorry.”

      2. I have mixed feelings. I would love to see CA collapse in a resounding failure of progressive stupidity.

        But I would hate to see any more of a California diaspora – where the dummies whose voting habits destroyed the most populous state, take those habits to other states. It’s better to keep them contained in one concentrated failure zone.

      3. To be fair, you mean better *public* schools.

  2. Early betting: It will all turn out to be Prop 13s fault.

    The reality being that Prop 13 merely delayed the inevitable. Too bad in a way, that reckoning might have been more manageable. You can always count on the political class to defer such to a future – and less fortunate – generation.

    1. Someone really needs to fix the retarded logic that rejects the apostrophe (that should have been in the quoted bit).

      1. Its not retarded (well, okay, a little bit). Use the ASCII compliant apostrophe instead of the fancy UNICODE one.

        1. What is this, Russia?

          1. In Soviet Russia, UNICODE ASCII’S YOU!


    2. Yes, it is the fault that CA residents are not paying enough in property tax, despite our 9.3% and up state income tax, our 9% sales tax, and many other taxes and fees (which are all slated to go up soon). And Prop 13 only applies if you stay in your home, as soon as it is sold it the calculation is based on the new sale price. Also, Prop 13 allows for an annual 2% increase in your property tax, so although we have been in our house 13 years, with the market drop we are now paying about exactly our home’s value calculation in taxes would be anyway.

      All Prop 13 does is let some eldery retirees pay a lot less in property taxes than the rest of us. It is a red herring in a state that has many, many income sources.

      Any time I hear people complain about Prop 13, I say that they should start a petition to eliminate Prop 13 in exchange for cutting the state income tax in half. When they bluster I point out how many states have no income tax, and all but two have a lower tax than we do, it seems like a fair exchange — especially for all those people who don’t have property anyway. They always get red in the face and start talking about per-pupil expenditures and the glory days of the UC system…..

      1. But…But…Teh RICH! $88 billion dollar budget deficit! GREEN TECH! JERBZ! MOONBEAM!

      2. Prop 13 was and is stupid (as are most initiatives). It was necessary because of sheer political pigheadedness in Sacramento.

      3. Don’t forget that property values increased because the tax rate was low therefore generating more revenue for the state than opponents claim.

  3. Team Red + Team Blue = “lordly overclass”.

  4. I was just talking about that story in the other thread…

    It might be familiar material to a lot of readers, but my fellow Californians should be hammered with this.

    California’s problems aren’t just about what’s happening with the Governor and the legislature.

    It’s about demographics too, and I don’t mean immigration. A society where the middle class, even if they’re employed and makin’ good money, can’t make enough to live in a decent home and send their kids to decent schools? Isn’t a functioning society.

    Even if you think the problem is that we don’t have another Ronald Reagan or Howard Jarvis type figure, I’m not sure there’s enough of a functioning middle class for such a person to resonate with anymore.

    1. Form the same article:

      “According to Mr. Kotkin, these upwardly mobile families are fleeing in droves. As a result, California is turning into a two-and-a-half-class society. On top are the “entrenched incumbents” who inherited their wealth or came to California early and made their money. Then there’s a shrunken middle class of public employees and, miles below, a permanent welfare class. As it stands today, about 40% of Californians don’t pay any income tax and a quarter are on Medicaid.”

      25% of the people are living off the taxpayers, and 40% are on Medicaid–and that gets worse in 2014 courtesy of ObamaCare, right?

      Sometimes I think we put too much blame on the politicians–that can make people think that new politicians are the solution, and they’re not. If the problem is that the middle class is getting squeezed out of California–rather than the politicians–then maybe people will get interested in solving the problem.

      It’s not what the politicians are doing. It’s what’s they’re doing to the middle class. It’s what they’re doing to middle class taxpayers. You don’t like this or that Republican, so what?

      So what are you gonna to stop squeezing the middle class?

      1. 25% of the people are living off the taxpayers, and 40% are on Medicaid–and that gets worse in 2014 courtesy of ObamaCare, right?

        Dyslexia acting up again, but the point still stands…

        Too many people drinking the water. Not enough people carrying the water.

        1. Enviro-weenies: You may neither drink nor carry that water – the delta needs it for the smelt.

          1. Ya know, the entire water issue in CA could certainly be helped and probably solved if the water were pedaled at market rates.
            The fisher-folks could bid what they thought the fishies are worth, compared to the farmers figuring the impact on the sales price of their produce, and those with pools and lawns could pay what it costs to have those pools and lawns, while those who actually drink the stuff wouldn’t bother, since they already pay $25/gal to have it bottled.

            1. This. Water is subsidized very heavily. If people had to pay a real market rate for drinking water, usage and especially waste would drop. Extremely cheap state backed loans and grants keep the capital costs for water treatment plants unreasonably low.

      2. Sometimes I think we put too much blame on the politicians–that can make people think that new politicians are the solution, and they’re not.


        The problem is the fucking politicians that have bought into all the environmental bullshit.

        That’s what is costing CA jobs and raising property values and those are the factors killing the middle class.

        1. If the politicians are a reflection of the people who tolerate them, then the people are the problem.

          Besides, the real problem isn’t the way politicians act. The problem is the effect what they do has on everyday working people. The problem isn’t Jerry Brown; the problem is that middle class can’t finance a decent life for themselves.

          The problem is that people like you are so worked up about the politicians, that most Californians have become convinced that the opposition is about one party over another rather than solving problems that are hurting working people.

          If the problem is that environmental regulation is partially to blame for choking off the viability of the middle class, then the problem isn’t one party or another or one politician or another; the problem is environmental regulation.

          The solution isn’t voting for one party or politician rather than another; the solution is getting rid of the onerous environmental regulation.

        2. What, the ballot initiative process is blameless?

  5. Happy Lenin’s Birthday Earth Day!

  6. Hmm, I was buying my electricity from a green energy company. Lasted about four months before “deregulation” drove the company out of the state.

    1. I have no idea what you are talking about. I suspect you dont either.

      1. Gee, looks pretty simple to translate:
        Mike was getting his oh, so “PC” electricity subsidized by the taxpayers.
        The subsidy went away and Mike certainly isn’t about to pay what it actually costs to feel self-righteous!
        Did I get it Mike?

        1. Well, no, you both got it completely wrong.

          There was a brief period in the 1990s, lasting only a few months, when residential electricity consumers, were allowed to freely choose which power company to purchase one’s energy from. At the time, there was a small green energy company (I forget the name) that I signed up with. A few months later, the infamous monster energy deregulation/power exchange came into being and the company sold its California line of business to PG&E.

          No subsidies as far as I know of.

          1. Sevo, I’m going to guess from your critical tone that you think I’m some liberal complaining about deregulation. Maybe you’re not familiar with the massive mess of energy regulation that was passed in California and commonly labeled “deregulation”.

            1. CA did deregulation completely wrong. Among other mistakes, they limited what distributors could lock into long-term contracts. So distributors were forced to use spot markets on high-demand hot days. Combine that with the shutdown of coal plants and it was obvious where prices where going.

              1. Among other mistakes, they limited what distributors could lock into long-term contracts.

                And dumbshits still refer to that as deregulation.

  7. I eagerly await the federal government bailing out California of its fiscal mess because it would be too big to fail and would plunge the country into a depression. President Mitt Romney and the Republican Congress will lament having to bail out the state, but they will say its what must be done to preserve the American system or some such tripe. Similar to how Bush bailed out the banks to “save capitalism from itself.”

  8. Keep in mind, to many Californians, the state grew too much shortly after (year that they moved there), so people leaving is a feature, not a bug.

  9. My impulse is to think, hey, let california flush itself down a giant filthy toilet, then the result of leftist policies will be on full display for everyone in the country to see. Plus, it couldnt happen to a nicer bunch.
    Then I think it would be pointless since many leftists still defend north korea. Reality is rarely of any importance to the left.

    If you are a libertarian and live in california, move to Louisiana. We need more of you here. We have open carry, must issue CCW, damn good food and the fishing is great.

    1. I like LA..what is the job picture?

    2. I’ve lived in California since 2002, and there’s really only one thing that keeps me here. I’m an avid motorcyclist and the roads where I live are not only freaking amazing, but I can ride them 365 days a year without freezing. The state cops spend 99% of their time on the interstates (where I never go) and the local cops are always busy in town. The 33 is practically my own private race track. Oh, and speaking of race tracks, I have 3 I can tow my track bike to within 1.5 hours and several within 5 hours. You get some twisty, hilly roads in Louisiana and we’ll talk.

      1. As an avid cyclist that almost makes me jealous. What a dream.

    3. Detroit turning into a ghost city hasn’t forced the socialists to admit that their ideology is bankrupt, so I don’t know why anything that happens to CA would.

    4. I was stationed in Biloxi and New Orleans to a country boy was an extreme eyeopener (to say the least). I fell in love with NOLA during that time and it must have rubbed off on the offspring, as my oldest was married there in ’07.

      Oh, yeah, I could live there.

      … Hobbit

    5. You can, however, probably get rich by getting your money on the other side of CA bonds if you can find a way.

  10. I drove through Ohio and Kentucky yesterday – Tennessee and North Carolina today. I’m really amazed by the amount of SPACE here in the sticks. It makes me understand some of the disdain that the East/West coasters have for “middle America”, but these internet days, I can do w/o the high crime, deep population density, etc of big cities.

    1. Kentucky is pretty awesome.

      I’m from Miami originally, and there’s no fucking way I’d ever move back to a city. Fuck all that shit. It’s safe. Reasonably cheap. Good gun rights.

      Good stuff all around.

      1. I like ol Caintucky. My grandfather on my mom’s side had a place in eastern KY, in the mountains. I used to go down there a lot, brings back a lot of memories. That area is a major herb growing area, not that I had anything to do with that. I think that it still is. The majority of folks there had a very libertarian outlook on everything.

    2. the sticks? Really? Of course, there is space. Not all of us aspire to be hipsters living in 400SF 4th floor walkup studios in order to be around the corner from the trendy bistro serving the overpriced flatbread sammiches.

      Most of us laugh at the coasters, not to mention their disdain. Why you can understand is a bit of a mystery, but I’m just a hick on the Gulf.

    3. I love both the mountains and the ocean; I could live with only one being in my immediate vicinity, but not absent both. And no, hills and lakes aren’t just the same.

      1. then the answer is: either of the Carolinas and perhaps GA. Mountains are beautiful and a lot of coast to work with, too. GA downside is ATL; a better bet might be Raleigh or Greensboro in NC or Greenville in SC.

        1. Or, on the West Coast, Oregon. Yes, the west side of the state makes it turn fairly reliably blue during presidential elections, but the east side and the large number of agricultural counties keep it from going too blue.

          Also, we don’t have nearly as much of the craziness as CA has, no matter how hard Portland tries.

          1. I lived up there 20+ years ago, around Portland. I’d have to go for the east side of the Cascades these days, although there are some really nice areas on the coast. The good thing about Portland is it is the Mecca of micro-brewing.

            1. I lived on the east side for about seven years before moving to the west side. I much prefer the climate in eastern Oregon. And the smaller number of people. I’ll probably be moving back first chance I get.

            2. The dream of the 90s is still alive in Portland…

              Portland is a place where young people go to retire.

              It’s like the Bush administration never happened… it’s like Al Gore got elected.


                Keep an eye out for epi at the 1:00 minute mark.

    4. My experience is that when you really try to dig down to find out what it is exactly that makes people in the coastal northeast and coastal California think that they’re fundamentally superior to the dreaded “Middle America”, it largely consists of the fact that they have easy access to 24 hour bagel stores, baba ghanosuh, five star Thai food, etcetera etcetera.

      If you’re the type of person that simply can’t live without these things, then you definitely should stay in the liberal enclaves. But if you’re one of those unsophisticate knuckle-dragging hayseeds that can get by on meat and potatoes and such, there’s really absolutely nothing these places have to offer that you can’t get between Interstates 5 and 95 in the year 2012.

      1. ‘Murrica is changing. Those things are becoming available everywhere.

        The subtext is, the country is getting blue-er. The sub-subtext is every small town across America wants a gay neighborhood and high-speed rail.

        We’re Europe.

      2. The thing is, there’s Thai restaurants in every city with 60000 people in it in America.

        And if you’re living in someplace like New York or San Francisco for convenience, the outrageous convenience of barely-zoned Houston will blow your mind.

    5. Disdain for space? Does not compute.

      1. Poor bastard probably has agoraphobia.

    6. TN is freaking awesome. I would love to live in eastern TN if my business could make it so. I have lived in OH, TN, and KY. I would rather live in Brazil than anywhere in the US but I am a few years away from that also. But as far as states in the US, I would choose TN hands down.

  11. Where is that worthless sniveling cocksucker T o n y today?

  12. Oh, and there aren’t any ‘low-priced spreads’. Headline:
    “Lawsuit says wind energy industry hurts condors”
    From the article:
    “Environmentalists are hoping a court will curb Southern California’s growing wind energy industry,…”
    So it’s enviro vs enviro, is it?
    (no link; curse you reason filter. Check your fave AP reseller)

        1. Looks like the reason filter squirrels are learning.

    1. So it’s enviro vs enviro, is it?

      Not the first time.

      1. Really hard to pick the good guys in *that* kerfuffle.
        A pox on both their houses.

  13. Hey, Sunday evening; time for laughs:
    “1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed”
    An interviewee:
    “I don’t even know what I’m looking for,” says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.”
    Well, you *should* have been looking for a degree in something worth more than the pot you piss in, bozo.
    (No link; curse you reason filter. Check your fave AP reseller)

    1. OK, with the links again:
      “Bledsoe, currently making just above minimum wage, says he got financial help from his parents to help pay off student loans. He is now mulling whether to go to graduate school, seeing few other options to advance his career.”
      Yep, a real demand for baristas with advanced degrees in ‘creative writing’!……DTL&tsp=1

      1. Hmmm. It looks like the filter doesn’t like hyperlinking (href) news links.

        1. GM,
          AFAIC, reason can figure out their own damn filters. If they want help from me to randomly type stuff and try it, why a buck-seventy-five per hour sounds about right.
          A couple of days ago the SFComical links weren’t working.

    2. looking beyond this lad’s stupidity and the fraud perpetrated on his parents by an actual degree in Creative Writing, he could:
      –be a freelance writer for small businesses who need pamphlets, brochures, and other marketing materials drawn up.
      –look to the world of sales which is far less interested in your ability to write than in how well you can verbally communicate with folks who have a want or need for your product. My eldest is a PoliSci grad; making a killing in IT training sales.
      –consider moving to a place with a reasonable cost of living, perhaps a small town newspaper that needs people who can write, or look at the hospitality industry there and elsewhere as it is forever looking for sales/marketing folks.

      Graduate school would only advance his career if he actually had one. All it would do know is delay the inevitable and require a new set of loans. Jesus on a biscuit, who the hell lets their kids major in useless things? Writing is like music: if you can do it, you don’t need higher ed in it; if you can’t, no amount of higher ed will teach you how.

      1. warweagle, agreed.
        Right now, Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are employing legions of ‘creative writers’ in the hopes of convincing the population that one is less incompetent than the other. And the same is true even in the Peoples Republic of Seattle and many other locations.
        Even more to the point, what is a resume’ if not an exercise in creative writing?
        But nowhere was it claimed he was skilled in the trade, only that he has a degree.
        I’m going out on a limb and suggest the economics of the ‘creative writing’ department depends on graduation rates rather then any real skills; show up for class, turn in the assignments, and hey. presto! Your folks get to watch you get a “degree”!

        1. But nowhere was it claimed he was skilled in the trade, only that he has a degree.

          By Jove, I think you’ve got it! Perhaps the idealistic lad can write pamphlets extolling the virtue of eating lichen for the local eco-theological church.

          Degree =/= Marketable Skill.

          1. “By Jove, I think you’ve got it! Perhaps the idealistic lad can write pamphlets extolling the virtue of eating lichen”
            Dunno how that’ll work. Vermin shit was certainly ‘creative’ in pitching it, but lichen-on-the-rocks really doesn’t ‘sing’, if you know what I mean.
            And, hey, those Euro lichen farmers are gonna gripe if the US starts exporting lichen!

            1. And, hey, those Euro lichen farmers are gonna gripe if the US starts exporting lichen!

              Out of what, do you think, Euros are made?

              1. The rocks. Lichen has value.

  14. Shit. I meant this. The comments are quite funny in the aforementioned link.

  15. California is a national problem. It is by far and away the best state in the country in terms of climate and natural resources. It lead the post war boom. It should be leading the recovery. Instead it is a drag on the rest of the country.

    I would love to just let it go broke and maybe just kick it out of the country. But I don’t really think that is the smart thing to do. The best thing would be for California to get sane government and go back to being the engine of the national economy.

    In some ways I wonder if maybe the best thing would be for California to go broke. But then in return for a bailout go into some kind of recievership where strict conditions are placed on getting the money. Force California to adopt a sane government. That is a fantasy I know. But it would be nice.

    1. The best thing would be for California to get sane government

      Cool thought, but I can’t think of any practical way to do that. The die has been cast.

    2. John|4.22.12 @ 10:26PM|#
      “California is a national problem….”
      As a resident of SF, I’m going to disagree. CA’s problems are CA’s problems; the voters of CA either fix them or pay the price. ‘Too big to fail’ is bad policy whether it applies to companies or states.
      My family’s insulation from the CA or even the SF city gov’t policies is pretty complete, by design; we’ll be spectators. Let Moonbeam and Lee run them into the ground until there is no other choice.

      1. It is a national problem in that we are all poorer because California is so fucked up. If California had a sane government, the national economy would be doing much better for it.

        1. True enough, but history is pretty clear that wealth-transfers don’t do much to solve those sorts of problems.
          *IF* CA were to elect a sane government, all bets are off, but there’s entirely too many CA voters who think they’re benefiting from the current system to make that a reality.

          1. True enough, but history is pretty clear that wealth-transfers don’t do much to solve those sorts of problems.

            Yet states still refuse to turn up their noses to the sweet, sweet lucre of Federal Grants. That’s about the only thing keeping even fiscally sound states in the black.

            The dependence on Fed booty is not limited to Cali-Land, and it’s STILL hopelessly in the red.

        2. Oh John. Do you want to see what would happen after these ‘strict oversight’ loans? Look up ‘Greece’. They will hate you for helping them and America will be worse than before. California must burn to heal.

          1. The problem is that their issues go deeper than money. Even when they can’t borrow another buck and have to stop spending, that won’t stop them from regulating themselves into poverty. It is just a giant vortex of stupid.

            1. Even when they can’t borrow another buck and have to stop spending, that won’t stop them from regulating themselves into poverty.

              Such as unionizing baby sitters, writ large.

            2. John|4.22.12 @ 11:13PM|#
              …”It is just a giant vortex of stupid.”

              And there’s not one damn thing that anyone other than CA voters can *effectively* do about it.
              My (our) lifeboat looks pretty well provisioned; let it sink.

      2. Geez, Sevo, I was just sitting here lamenting the fact that I live in communist Maryland, but finding out that you are in SF just made me feel better. I guess that misery loves company thing is true.

        I lived in Cali for 5 years, but I was a kid and it was a far different place then, I am sure. They are trying to tax us to death here also, I think zero population is the goal since the state has whored itself out to the Agenda 21 fascism.

        Well, I am sort of serious about that because I did choose commie Maryland over fly over country where I resided for more than a decade because I found a better financial situation here and also the climate is about 1 million times better than in fly over land. I don’t worry about being blown off the earth by some freak weather at any given moment or literally freezing my balls off every winter. Also don’t worry too much about being swallowed up by a giant fissure in the next big one (:

        1. Hyperion|4.22.12 @ 11:31PM|#
          …”I guess that misery loves company thing is true.”…

          No misery here. The area is beautiful, the climate is terrific, our home is firmly on bedrock, and financially, the state and city can only cause pin-pricks.
          Yes, we have to pay ‘fixers’ (“consultants”, “advisers”) to make sure that works, but, hey you folks are no dummies; you can figure out how to avoid the penalties at minimal costs. Incorporate that company in, say, Nevada.
          Screw ’em; let ’em vote “free” stuff ’til there is no more.

          1. Oh, and Hyperion,
            Remember the CA ‘millionaires tax’ that meat-head promoted?
            Wanna guess how many high-income H’wood folks have residences in, say, Idaho? And how many ‘days per year’ they ‘reside’ there?
            Hollywood produces movies as a side effect of producing hypocrisy.

          2. Sevo, the misery thing was a joke, I thought that I made that clear later in my reply.

            Anyway. I am upset that liberal fucktards have managed to take over most of the better places to live in the country.

            Therefore I am working on a proposal here in Murland named ‘Adopt a Liberal Retard’.

            Under my new program, anyone in flyover land, where they have much space, can adopt a parasitical retard progressive living in their mommies basement once they reach 40 years of age( this is about 90% of them). Compensation is a case of their favorite beer each week for life(Not sure what that might be, but I am stocking up on bud light).

      3. I’ve been a resident for 16 years, and I say California isn’t even my problem, let alone the rest of the country’s. The state services suck even when the economy is booming, and the only practical effect I’ve seen from all these horrendously devastating to-the-marrow budget cuts I keep hearing about is that library hours have been reduced a little bit — an indignity we’ve been able to weather with the help of a little-known modern technology that combines telephony with difference engines. I hope the city, county and state all go bankrupt and will argue to withhold any federal bailout when the time comes.

        The problem, which I think John is getting at, is that I’ll be the only one making that argument. California’s two senators have been in office since Cassius was in the Senate, and they are experts at bringing in federal money.

    3. California is a national problem.

      No. It isn’t. Yes there will be national implications. But California isn’t my problem, it is theirs. They thought they were on the cutting edge of enlightenment… Fuck them. If the feds bail them out, I ain’t paying fucking federal taxes anymore.

      1. As a californian, I agree completely.

        The state government is what is fucking up CA and any federal bailout would just enable our state government to continue fucking up the state.

  16. I will enjoy watching California implode.

    Voting with your feet is going to become more and more prevalent as states become more polarized as Blue or Red. Hopefully a few states will move libertarian as a competitive advantage to attract businesses and professionals. Maybe even to the point of secession. I’d move to one of them.

    1. California rest in peace
      Simultaneous release
      California show your teeth
      She’s my priestess, I’m your priest
      Yeah, yeah


    Speaking of stupid. Explain to me again why anyone should view global warming as anything but just the most modern iteration of fascism? What a nasty worthless fuck this guy is.

    1. here is the article The comments are appalling…..te-change/

      1. Oh, there’s a few diamonds in the rough there, John. Zwick is one smug POS though. Typical fart smeller.

        1. I like how one commenter notes that the author is a hypocrite for not living what he preaches. Zwick responds by saying that he either bikes or takes mass-trans to work and that this offsets his lifestyle. Ha! You could probably save as much energy by cutting an hour off of your teevee watching a day.

          I like to ride my bike to get around, mostly because it’s fun. But I’m careful not to tell any one because you can’t just use a mode of transport because you enjoy it; it HAS to be a political act. You tell a guy like Zwick that you ride and all of a sudden he thinks you’re some sort of fellow traveler and wants to talk to you about some crypto-commie green fascist bullshit.

    2. Alex Jones, John? That guy is a certified nut bar.

      However, Zwick, while walking back his analogy, is in the tank for this fascist stuff.…..te-change/

      1. How is Zwick, walking back?

        1. It’s on the second page, John. I *would* post the quote, but it appears the filter won’t let me do so. And I haven’t the patience to doctor it with the appropriate ASCII.

          Basically, it’s the “I apologize you’re offended, I never endorsed burning down houses…” type stuff.

        2. From the link:

          First Im not advocating anyone go out and burn someones house down just as the firemen didnt burn anyones house down but rather withheld a service from people who didnt pay their fair share. (A friend of mine did actually have his house burned down by a deranged animal rights activist so I know there are crazies on both sides of this debate.)

          Pardon the bad grammar; Not my fault.

    3. Yeah, I saw that John, I was surprised that Reason didn’t pick up on it and do an article on it. These people are really asking for a good old fashioned ass kicking. I really, really hope that some of these pricks show up to burn a ‘deniers’ residence and get themselves some free lead jewelry.

  18. “There’s no way anybody with practical experience of trying to survive in L.A. on less than $92,000 a year could have written the deathless lines to the left. ”

    I remember a candidate running for local office knocked on my door, and counter to my normal instincts, I sat and talked with him for about twenty minutes.

    We yakked about all the local stuff: Transportation, the Big Dig II (Alaskan Way Tunnel Project), South Park Bridge.

    The guy was your garden variety progressive but he listened to my beefs. At one point in the convo, I said, “it’s like everyone pushing these projects lives in Madison Park and commutes downtown- to them, there is no need for more roadways… it’s electric buses and wind-powered high-speed rail all the way down…”

    He got an embarassed look and said, “I used to live in Madison Park…”

    PS: Dear God, REason, fix your ‘word longer than 50 characters’ bullshit. It makes me long for the trolls and pre-registration.

  19. Hey guys, we are having a presidential election over here and I was wondering who the most libertarian candidate is.

    1. I suppose you should support Sarkozy and the UMP since part of its coalition is the classically liberal Reformers, who want free market reforms to take place in France. Who knows, if things really go to shit in Europe he might start listening to them.

    2. Sarkozy is less left wing than most, but that is not saying very much, increasing the working age by two years or not wanting to raise taxes as much as Hollande (again trivial numbers in comparison), does not make him much less socialist than Hollande. Sarkozy is an unprincipled politician who will change his stance on issues day to day, he is not even close to anything libertarian.

      France is politically utterly socialist, the days when the words of Bastiat are ever used in mainstream France is going to be a very long time.

  20. I was born and raised in Oragne County and I simply have a deep and unwavering affection for Southern California. I enjoy the exposure to people of every possible ethnic and cultural background (even if they aren’t always pleasant), the geography, the weather, the Dodgers, and In N’ Out among other things.

    Goddamnit, this place is worth saving! We just need something to shake people out of complacency, be it a fiscal disaster or a great libertarian Moses that will lead this state out of the desert that is progressivism.

  21. Where did the black and white picture come from? An old movie? If so, does anyone know the title?

  22. At the risk of repeating myself, I left California for Nevada in 2010 and I’m never going back. No income tax, reasonable property taxes, and zero traffic (I’m not in Vegas).

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