Monday, January 28, 2013

Don't need a weatherman in California

I've devoted a number of pieces to California over the past year, detailing how the most populous State in the Union--right now--is losing its middle class, how it's ceasing to grow economically and electorally, and how it is steadily descending into something of a feudal state. Some key points:
But here's something to consider: in every Apportionment since 1900, California has gained at least two additional seats, until 2000 when it gained just one and 2010 when it gained...none. Most of the gains for the West were fueled largely by a booming California in the past. Not so in 2000 or--obviously--2010. Now, the growth in the West is in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Washington...
And this, by the way, indicates something often ignored or not understood by people generalizing about the housing bubble--or housing crisis--in the United States: it was initially limited by location. Note that most economists, politicians, pundits, and the like talk about the bubble as having started around 2001. But in California--and some other places--it started much earlier. In fact, trouble was already brewing in the California housing industry long before the sub-prime crisis, long before the housing bubble is said to have "burst."

The evidence very clearly suggests what Sowell claimed: restrictions on land use and development are being used to maintain a lifestyle for the rich, white, older residents of Marin County. Middle and lower class peoples are being kept out, except when they are needed for work. And not-so-oddly, Marin County is a liberal and Democrat stronghold.
This situation is not limited to Marin County, alone, in California. But it would appear there are consequences for maintaining such limiting structures. According to Joel Kotkin, many young families have had enough of the gatekeeper mentality of California's wealthy elitists...
To combat it's various budgetary problems--created by California's progressive and Democratic leadership via out of control spending for decades--the State has opted to increase taxes on the wealthy. And of course, this is a part of the Democratic playbook being championed by the current President, who believes the same sort of "solution" would be appropriate for the nation as a whole, who looks at California as some sort of model State, representing the ideal.

But Obama--along with the leadership of California--are missing the obvious problem for the State: people don't have to stay there. Indeed, as I've noted previously middle class families are heading for the door in droves. California's population is only growing on the low end of the income scale. And from the middle class springs the upper middle class and the wealthy. California is steadily destroying the primary source of its tax revenues in this regard.

The current crop of rich folks are also not tied to the Golden State. They're also free to leave. And many have done just that, finding States like Florida much more hospitable, moved themselves, their families, and their businesses right out the door. But this isn't all that new of a phenomenon; it's being going on for decades, particularly among the uber-rich professional athletes who were born in California or at least once called it home.

Tiger Woods left the State well over a decade ago, just when he turned pro and received numerous endorsement deals. He knew damn well what he was doing. All told, his departure cost the State of California some $100 million in tax revenues. And he's just the tip of the iceberg. The Williams sisters, Chris Evert Lloyd, Michelle Wie, and numerous other athletes competing in individual sports who once lived in California opted for greener--or more tax-friendly--pastures. Some football and baseball players have made similar choices for their off-season residences. It's happened in Hollywood-land, as well, though it's rarely publicized.

Last week, professional golfer Phil Mickelson had the audacity to announce he was considering "drastic changes" because of California's new tax rates. For speaking bluntly, he's been mercilessly hammered in the press, called a whiner, a one-percenter, and basically told to shut his trap. And he's since apologized for his remarks which frankly makes no sense whatsoever. He did nothing wrong. He's remained in California--he's a native son--throughout his very long career and paid more--way more--than his fair share into the State's never-satisfied bureaucracy. Now, as his career is in its latter stages, he's thinking about the future and where his money is going. Common sense. It doesn't take a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing.

But apparently, common sense and honesty will not be tolerated when they conflict with the progressive agenda.

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