The Golden State is a shining example of paradise lost by wrong policy choices pursuing a “woke” agenda. Since the Biden-Harris regime intends to Californicate the entire nation, it is critical to understand and avoid the wrong road taken. David L. Bahnsen writes at National Review The Great California Exodus. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
A look at why droves are leaving the state
What caused and continues to cause the exodus out of California is not tax burden, or regulation, or cost of living, or housing prices. Rather, it is the burden, and regulation, and cost of living, and housing prices, and more.
There is no evidence that the declining appeal of staying in California is simply a tax protest. On top of being walloped by taxes, one takes fiscal hit after fiscal hit — property taxes that average $5,000 per year for a lower-end middle-class home with no frills and that can easily approach $10,000 per year for the most mundane of tract homes. Utilities, car registration, insurance, and education expenses are all in the top decile.
One is being asked to pay a lot more to live in California, and yet education results are abysmal, crime rates are unacceptable (the state has the 14th-worst rate of violent crimes per capita), the electricity grid is a debacle, and the job market has hollowed out. (The CEOs of great California companies have maintained homes in Menlo Park or Palos Verdes; recent factory or plant expansions of the companies have gone to Nevada, Arizona, and Texas.)
The value of living in California has declined but the cost has not been correspondingly reduced; in fact, it has exponentially increased. A business cannot survive when it raises prices while simultaneously making a worse product. Neither can a state.
California made a choice to adopt a cost structure perfectly tailored to the needs of its public-employee unions. (The same could be said of Greece.) Policy-makers have made a conscious decision to make no effort whatsoever to diversify the state’s revenue base. The extreme revenues that highly specialized companies in Silicon Valley have earned bought legislators time as they came out of the great financial crisis. But the dysfunctional dependency on a technology tax base in the go-go 1990s and the subsequent dot-com bust taught Sacramento nothing. Today, the state depends on a revenue base narrower than ever before, even as debt levels, pension-funding needs, and infrastructure needs are at code red. One need not ignore the blessing of high capital-gain revenue when Big Tech flourishes, but to assume that the gravy train will continue is perilous.
For the leftist ideologues who have brought about the exodus, an unexpected turn of events is taking place. The Left underestimated the impact of the pre-pandemic outmigration. It was never good for the fiscal and cultural health of the state that so many, after weighing the pros and cons, voted with their feet. One can be forgiven, however, for thinking that the Left was not all that shaken up by 650,000 middle-class people per year realizing that, in Texas or Arizona, they could buy more house for less money, with a smaller tax burden and greater job prospects for their kids. The “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” mentality of so many lawmakers was hardly disguised, especially while another social-media company was making an IPO or a new venture-capital fund was ringing the cash register.
But the newest development in the Left’s fatal designs for this state is a game-changer. It is no longer just a family of four making $90,000 per year packing up the U-Haul and headed to Utah for a better life. The leftists themselves have had enough. The tech wizards of Palo Alto realize they have artisanal coffee shops in Denver, too. The cultural appeal of California has spread outside its own borders. Middle-class traditional families had already made the cost–benefit analysis of leaving the state, but now the gravy train has caught on as well. The Hewlett-Packards and the Teslas and select Silicon Valley gurus capture headlines now as they pack their own version of a U-Haul. What lies ahead for the state is ten years of a slow build of this same dynamic — even the cool kids are getting out of Dodge.
Legislators make conscious decisions sometimes. So do middle-class families. And guess what? So do hip, tech-savvy Millennials.