The article is misleading not so much for what it says, but for what it doesn't say. In fact, both Finley and Kotkin avoid mentioning the key role that those in the Wall Street Journal sphere have played in the very problems they complain about.
Finley and Kotkin are trying to make people think that those in the WSJ sphere have the solution to California's problems, when that sphere played a major role in harming California.
What Finlay and Kotkin aren't telling you is below, first this excerpt:
the Golden State's fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest product is red tape... Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states. This is a sharp reversal from the 1980s, when 100,000 more Americans were settling in California each year than were leaving. According to Mr. Kotkin, most of those leaving are between the ages of 5 and 14 or 34 to 45... ...Part of California's dysfunction, he says, stems from state and local government restrictions on development... ...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... ..."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... ...Meanwhile, taxes are harming the private economy...
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...
...And the welfare recipients, he emphasizes, "aren't leaving. Why would they? They get much better benefits in California or New York than if they go to Texas. In Texas the expectation is that people work."
...Mr. Kotkin also notes that demographic changes are playing a role. As progressive policies drive out moderate and conservative members of the middle class, California's politics become even more left-wing...
Give up? Finley and Kotkin are completely ignoring the role that massive immigration - especially illegal immigration of low-skilled workers - has played in harming California. That's the key, underlying factor in what they whine about above. Not only has it increased social spending, but it's also given more power to the far-left (such as Antonio Villaraigosa, Gil Cedillo, and many more). As illegal aliens came in, many Americans left.
What sort of demographer is Joel Kotkin that he won't even discuss that? What sort of reporter is Allysia Finley that she won't ask Kotkin about it?
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 11:09 · Importance: 4