08.23.2012 22

The not-so Golden State of America

By Rebekah Rast — In the 1850s droves of gold-hunters hoping to make it rich rushed into what would later be established as the Golden State.

The pristine beaches, vast mountains and plenty of opportunity persuaded some to stay in the state.  But now, California is facing a different kind of rush—one that is causing people to pick up and leave.

The state boasts a population of more than 37 million. However, the Orange County Register reports that 870,550 people left the state between 2005 and 2009.  “That’s like the whole city of San Francisco just up and left,” the article states.

What is chasing people away?

It might have something to do with the state having the third highest unemployment rate in the nation at 10.7 percent and the $500 billion of unfunded liabilities of its pension systems and a roughly $16 billion deficit. The state, with one-ninth of the U.S. population, is also home to 34 percent of the welfare recipients in the country. If that’s not enough, California’s top-down tax structure deters businesses from opening or expanding, and the environmental movement is in full swing in the state, even preventing the agriculturally rich Central Valley from receiving its full water allocation.

These are some unfortunate statistics coming from a state with the ninth largest economy in the world.

The icing on the cake could be recent reporting from CNBC that there is a shortage of farm labor workers in California this year and some crops are left unattended and unpicked.  It is not news that these jobs are typically filled by California’s southern neighbor.  Is a bad economic climate keeping them away as well?

The repercussions of this fiscal mess are being seen in cities like Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino—all of which have recently declared bankruptcy.

Municipalities in the state are overrun with pension liabilities from union contracts they simply cannot afford.  Declaring bankruptcy allows city governments to rebuild, reorganize and renegotiate their obligations.

For example, the city of Vallejo in northern California came out of bankruptcy almost a year ago.  Though the number of cities workers and employees are greatly reduced, home prices have dropped and many businesses were forced to close their doors, the city now has a feasible plan to work itself back into prosperity.

Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis told the Los Angeles Times, “I feel excited about where we are.  Although it was difficult, and it required a lot of stress on everybody… I think we’ve done the right thing. And now we’re doing all the things to bring our city back.”

The city of Vallejo is not alone.  In June, voters of San Diego and San Jose overwhelming supported ballot initiatives designed to help balance city budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers.

Taking hints from the voters of these cities, there is hope for a state initiative on the ballot this November on pension reform.

Maybe there is some hope and the tarnished reputation of California can be golden once again.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com.  You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.

  • Fred Mangels

    Ms. Rast wrote, “Maybe there is some hope and the tarnished reputation of California can be golden once again.

    As a native Californian, I’d disagree. I don’t see any hope. The people and government(s) are still doing the same things they’ve always done and environmentalists still have a stranglehold on the state. The legislature, for example, will go into a committee on how to bring jobs to the state, then go next door and legislate more punitive or restrictive laws against those businesses.

    The state is toast. I believe it will have to go down in flames for any hope that it might rise from the ashes.

  • cmjay

    These bankrupt cities have a common denominator – they are run by DEMOCRATS and UNIONS. Obama is taking the country in the same direction and we need to STOP him. CALIFORNIA and GREECE – is this what we want for AMERICA ?

  • EddieW

    Could it be considered “sick” when leaders like in Calif, but other cities and states as well, are
    trying to follow Socialism, by going immensely into debt with their free programs, mainly to
    illegals and aliens, and cannot understand the relationship between their spending huge amounts
    of money on social programs, and their current debt? They don’t see it…they don’t understand it…
    somehow…a total brain disconnect altogether!!! They always think a bunch more tax dollars
    would fix it!! SICK sick!!!

  • ProudlyUnaffiliated

    They chased me out decades ago and I never looked back. I wonder if they can chase the illegals out but hopefully not. We need one state to take them all and I think Cali qualifies.

    There is no hope — only decay, decline, desperation, and gentile diaspora on the horizon for the Moldin’ State.

  • reggiec

    Adults needed
    It is no longer a question that can be asked as: Is the federal government out of control? It has now reached the point where we can make a definitive statement. The same applies to California.
    The brutally honest truth is that government has grown to the point that the productive, private sector, wealth creating portion of society can no longer support it. In California it is worse because California is driving that portion of society out of the state.
    There is a TV program that now airs called “Intervention”. It showcases individuals who are locked in some type of self-destructive behavior and documents the efforts of others who intervene in attempts to convince those people to abandon their particular destructive behavior. Without intervention these people have no hope.
    Washington DC and some states, including California, are locked into self-destructive behavior just like some individuals are locked into the destructive addiction to drugs or alcohol. The government’s addiction is spending.
    Where are the adults, including members of Congress, or state legislatures in our society that will stand up and do what is necessary to intervene in the government’s addiction? Failure to do so will have the same ultimate results for our nation that faces the individual that continues their self-destructive addiction.
    The alternative to reform is an economic crash greater than anything previously experienced in our country. Government with all of its bureaucracies, agencies, regulations and continued out of controlled growth is presently the biggest danger facing These United States of America and specifically California.
    That proverbial can being kicked down the road is no longer an empty battered can that used to contain some beans. It has grown to the size of one of those city water tanks atop a tower. The road the can has been kicked down is now a steep hill and it goes up not down. When the efforts to keep kicking it fail, it will roll back down the hill and crush us.
    The debt that our federal government has saddled the American people with is not sustainable. The path that liberal controlled California is taking will result in the failure of a once great state. Our politicians in both parties know this but they are frozen in their current path like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. They are addicted to spending as an addict is addicted to his drug of choice. Both the politicians and the addict know what they are doing is destructive but the years of addiction have destroyed their self-control. The brutal truth is that if we are to survive economically as individuals or as a nation some “cold turkey” treatment administered by adults in our society and based on brutal economic honesty is going to be needed.
    Both political parties share in the blame of causing government to grow and assume powers not considered by our founding generations. The present “Establishment” of both parties in Washington has forgotten the American public and has created an “old boys elite” that has lost touch with America and its founding ideals. California has been taken over almost completely by the left whose agendas are bleeding the state dry. The influence of special interests, bringing home the bacon to their respective states or in the case of California their state districts and or being reelected is more important than the traditional national interests of American citizens at all levels. The only programs the federal government should have any influence in are those that have a significant “national” interest. State and local interests should be dependent on state and local support.
    Are you an adult? Monitoring your government at all levels is like the old saying about checking the proverbial baby diaper. Many of our politicians and governmental agencies can be equated to baby diapers in many ways. You are irresponsible if you don’t monitor them with great frequency and change them when needed for the very same reasons.
    In another respect government is like the baby itself or like a teenager when older. “We The People” should be the adults and it is our responsibility to guide our politicians and government away from irresponsible or destructive actions. One of the problems in our society is that the proper role has been reversed and some in our society have allowed government to usurp the role of parent while they have accepted the role of the child.

  • Dean

    California, Do us all a favor and secede from the Union. That way you will also help Obama because he will only have 56 states that he needs to fight against.

  • MontieR

    Don’t count on a rebound Cali, until you stop electing the libidiots that have run you into the ground.

  • J.P.

    The Democrats & Public sector Unions have been in charge in California for close to fifty years now. SOME of the people of Ca. are just beginning to see the results of their leadership. I believe it’s much too late now and Ca. is without question falling off the cliff.

    I regret to say that it’s probably best to let it fall so the citizens of Ca. will see what happens when the Democrats, Public Unions and all the liberal’s in our state government run out of others peoples money to spend.

    More and more Ca. taxpayers are seeing the light and getting out of here. Simply a matter of time before the non-taxpayers win the race for government subsidies but there won’t be the tax revenues available to hand out.

    The only thing those folks in Sacramento know how to do well is Spend, Spend, Spend and raise taxes anyway they can so they can keep feeding their spending addiction. Example of our governments priorities …….. A bullet train from no place to no where that will cost the Ca. taxpayers multi million dollars built by a state that’s already going bankrupt.

    I’m moving out of Ca. in another year myself, maybe less. I’ll miss the great weather here, the beaches, mountains, rivers, wine country, Big Sur, Yosemite, so many things here to love.

    But government in Ca. has opened it’s arms to the takers and any special interest group that serves their interest. It’s no longer a place for hard working taxpayers interested in stability and longevity in their communities.

    The takers in California’s society have won. It’s all gonna be theirs. The old saying, “Careful what ya wish for, you just might get it” is proving to be very true in Ca.

  • Public_Citizen

    As a fellow Native Californian I have to concur with everything said above.
    Add in the statistical fact that the California Economy has fallen from the third largest in the world to ninth place in less than two decades and you will have a better perspective on how far and how rapid the collapse has become.
    There is no hope for California under the current gerrymandered political system. The legislature has assured a 2/3 Democrat 1/3 Republican gridlock by over a decade of political maneuvering that has concentrated power in a few Democrat controlled urban districts, to the detriment of the majority of the state and the near destruction of the agricultural regions that provide so much of the fresh fruits and vegetables to the entire nation. Similar destruction is ongoing in the ranching and dairy industries.
    The only solution that will work to the benefit of the nation is to allow California to proceed through this period of cannibalistic self destruction to its nadir. Only when the political wreckage has been cleared away to bare ground will it be possible to rebuild a functional political and economic system in the once Golden State.

  • MAC49

    Untill the freebees and the unions and all the State, Federal, Local, Perks, such as high wages, retirement, medical, dental, stop and be intelligent. There is no way the taxpayers can afford to pay all these Millions of Federal employees and their perks, car, gas, medical, dental. All the state employees, DMV, Schools , Janitors, Gardners, Unemployeement offices, Social Security Offices, Teachers, Administrators, Forest rangers, park officials, Every little agency, EPA, Inspectors(building, Bridges,) every District attorney, Judge, every single person that works in a court house right down to scrubbing the crapper and mowing the lawns, Child proctectives services, Adult Protectives services, Look into you phone book and just see how many local agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, and just think of the number of employees they have Just to name a few…….because every town has them……Now that is just the ones that are now working, DO NOT forget all the Retired Federal, State, Local workers that you are paying. Don’t forget it starts from the Administrators to the people who scrub the crappers to the ones mowing the lawns, and every state local and federal employee, Past present and future. Now lets just feed every Illegal that comes here, Free food, Housing, School lunches, Medical, Dental, (Seniors on SS Don’t even get their teeth fixed, and they pay premiums on Supplemental Insurance for their medical, so don’t say they get free health, even tho they have paid into SS all their lives). People Who have never worked a day in their life, drawing SSDI. Please don’t let California be the only place with state employees and all their Entitlements, past present and future. The only thing that is taking California down faster are the illegals and their anchor babies. BUT NO STATE OR LOCAL OR FEDERAL can sustain all that they are being paid, plus their out rageous retirements, medical, dental. They make enough money to save for retirement, pay medical, dental, yet the tax payers are stuck with their retirement. And all the President and his wifes people that work for them. all the senators, representatives, that work for them in D.C. and their states. The people that clean, mow and guard the White House , States Capital, the Secret Service, while in office and after, President jet setting all over playing golf, appearing on T.V programs ( the jet fuels alone) plus pay the security to secure the place before he arrives, Michelle appearing on Television, Kids programs! Just pay for that security and jet fuel. Just think about it HONESTLY, and it will absolutely make you wonder how we have lasted this long, But TRUST AND BELIEVE it can’t last much longer. Sorry to bore you BUT someone best look at the big picture!

  • MAC49

    You are out of your mind if you think California is the only state with Mexicans, Not even remotely close. They are in every state, no exceptions!

  • FloridaJim

    California is the champion of bankruptcy city by city due to their foolish and cowardly politicians who are too weak to stand against union thugs while their state sinks in the sea of corruption, illegals and unfunded pensions.

  • Greg137

    California liberals are so out of it they can’t figure out why people are leaving? You take away their jobs, you turn their childrens brain to mush, you make them die of thirst and you looney left-wingers can’t figure it out? I will give them a hint: SURVIVING AND PROSPERING VERY POPULAR AMONG THE LIVING… I guess Liberals are too stupid to figure even THAT out!

  • Granny

    That and California will have rid itself of the Unions, Socialist Politicians, etc…

  • Granny

    Your politicians are some of the most liberal I have ever seen. Other states I am sure don’t mind taking them in, but want them to leave their liberal voting habits in California. California & New York are prime examples of what happens when liberal politicians hold the purse strings and keep being voted back in.

  • Granny

    Sad, but true. There are many good people in California, but you have too many liberals who keep the liberal politicians in office. Good luck.

  • Granny

    Amen! Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein just to name a few.

  • Sue

    Having 4 generations in California makes simply packing up and moving out a little difficult. Plus why should we be the ones being pushed out? Our family has worked hard in order to be here. We keep hoping that the government will run out of money, but they don’t care about that. It’s about going into debt in order to give favors and wealth to their crony allies, whether they be so call enviro’s or capitals. They are both benefiting with the government debt machine at the expense of small businesses and farms – the real backbone of our country. Neither the enviros nor crony capitals care if the debt pushes California into a socialized state.

  • While it is difficult to know for sure, which organization will ultimately win this battle, researchers have noted
    that Boeing has recently been awarded in new contracts from airlines located in the
    Asia-Pacific region which could account for more than $16.
    Poor off the fuel leaving the water, and your have your first home made bio-diesel.
    Find out how many years have they been in business.

Back to top

Copyright © 2008-2016 Americans for Limited Government