A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute, edited by Brian C. Anderson.
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Irrational Outcomes in California « Back to Story
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I've made several similar comments about Cali on this blog, but here it goes again:
At the end of the Civil War, William Sumner espoused the State Suicide Theory: The states of the Confederacy effectively committed suicide as sovereign entities, and deserved the limbo of direct rule from Washington for the foreseeable future. This is becoming true of California.
So I would not be surprised to see a new administration advance some new programs to curtail Californian sovereignty, such as a new bankruptcy provision for state governments to protect bond creditors at the expense of state bureaucrats, withholding of federal aid on conditions of strict oversight of immigration and healthcare, court challenge of blanket runoff primaries (which suggests that Congress might assert a little known prerogative of not seating representatives who are not legitimately elected or have illegitimate agendas), and a demand that Californians create a new constitution, because the existing one is unworkable.
This suggests a few issues that D.C. must confront to reform itself: overhaul of the entire Federal Court System (which generally makes California worse), budget reform to anticipate a balanced budget amendment, reform of the entire US budgetary process that reduces state aid to block grants, and a dismantling of mandates and other bureaucratic elements at the national level to restore state sovereignty and self governance.
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Save $2 billion and restart the economy: fire CARB, CAL-EPA and the Energy Commission.
California Democrats draw overwhelming support from the coastal elites spanning from Marin County to Santa Monica if not points further south. And that includes the majority of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, and many middle class wage slaves in those areas that cannot fairly be called economic elites.
As noted by B.S Davis, perpetuating dependence in divers ways serves the Democratic party's interest. Most of my colleagues and peers (I am a middle class wage slave living in Los Angeles) are simply statists, and trust in the goodness and wisdom of state control. Perhaps part of the widespread Democratic Party support stems from a subconscious hope that the state can pacify the urban poor without enabling them to experience economic growth and thus compete for real estate in the desirable areas. Another part may stem from a sort of unspoken maternalistic racism towards blacks and Hispanics. Such Democrats are typically well-intentioned people and not much interested in economics. They like Robert Reich and Paul Krugman, read the NY Times, and voted for high speed rail.
Meanwhile the urban poor are (small el) libertarian opportunists, participating in the black market economy and/or regular economy as laborers or entrepreneurs while being subsidized by California and Federal handouts of various types. Many are hard workers and family-centered. They do not bite the hand that feeds them and therefore vote Democratic. As unemployment rises and real wages fall, this urban poor population grows as formerly middle-class workers (or their children) join it. Such "poor" enjoy most of the benefits of the middle class, but in noisier, dirtier, more crowded conditions, and with less opportunity to accumulate capital than in the wealthier areas.
The political alliance of the urban poor and coastal elites/middle class that dominates California politics will last so long as California and the Feds can and do continue their handouts while forbearing from any real crackdown on the black market economy. This could be a very long time, although I wonder when the temptation to crack the black market egg will prove irresistible to the apparatchiks.
Sooner or later, or maybe just gradually, the system will run out of other people's money. Real poverty and hunger will grow, the bureaucracies will be diminished, and what is left of the Democratic middle class will wake up to the scarcity of real economic opportunities. I hope that love of freedom among the urban poor and others will at least prevent a great lurch towards totalitarianism, but fear that ignorance of economics and an easy acceptance of populist neo-Marxism among the greater part of the population as well as pressure from special interests will prevent meaningful free-market reforms. My guess is that metropolitan LA is not headed to becoming more like Detroit or Pyongyang, but more like a spread-out, less charming Rio De Janeiro.
I know, what are you going to do? It's as if our vote means nothing. I was under the misconception judges were not supposed to be activists...
skh.pcola - thanks - I have a tendency toward repetition but I have seen what I describe first hand - in Newark NJ, where I used to work. 50 years since the riots and you can forget about walking on South Orange Avenue, a main thoroughfare at night. The schools don't teach, the government is corrupt, but in a legal way.
Worst of all no hope for the future for most of the residents, one group anyway - I saw what is being done to the children. There are no words to describe those who have caused this but there is a word to describe what they have done - a holocaust. My opinion anyway - and I dare anyone who disagrees to take a tour - and also spend some time in Juvenile Court, it's the bottom of the Democratic boot heel.
@B. Samuel Davis: Even though your comment was longer than the editorial to which you replied, you are spot on. It's no longer sufficient to note that there are systemic, structural problems in our nation...it must be hammered home that liberals, progressives, and Democrats are the root cause of most of those problems.
We'll have Californians dropping pearls of anti-wisdom shortly, in their flaccid defense of their atrophied dystopia.
What's the long term plan here? As business unfriendly as the place is, how does it expect to regain prosperity? How does it expect to ever again be a shining example of how government should be run?
The answer of course, as noted by this article, is 'never.' Conservatives need to understand that California Democrats are quite comfortable with a government caused poor economy - poverty by another name. The Democratic leadership in California (and elsewhere) is clued in to the fact that poor people vote Democratic, middle income Americans less so, and the well off least of all, with a very few well publicized exceptions. So, for California Democrats, for ALL Democrats, a functioning economy, schools that teach, a society founded on children raised by two parents, in a crime free environment are not objectives, but conditions to be carefully avoided.
In other words, Democrats fully understand that they do well among those who are poorest and most dependent on government. It's why black Americans under Democratic leadership have done so badly - it's a state of affairs that is calculated never to change, while Democratic leaders, with hands wringing, extract the most money possible from tax paying citizens, all the while claiming that the money is necessary to assist needy families and other, 'progressive' causes.
It's a flim flam that has continued for 50 years or more and no matter that the money never makes a bit of difference it's the same story over and over again. Programs funded by Democrats exist solely for two purposes - enrich Democratic leaders and those favored, and to fill Party coffers so that the swindle can continue. You can't help but notice that Democratic leaders no longer bother calling for more jobs in the inner cities - there isn't any need, since by now it is understood by that the only interest the leaders have is in maintaining the status quo, not bettering lives. After all under current conditions Democrats get 100% of the vote. In other words, Democratic leaders know that crime, poverty, shattered families and dependence on government are perfect conditions for getting votes.
So, for Democrats, the more misery the better. And, in California Democrats get to use their strategy on a state-wide scale. They adopt policies that chase away Republicans, import poor people to replace them, then get the misery machine up and running. And if anyone complains, just shout 'racism!' Democratic media has conditioned all of us to hear that and then reflexively shut up. It works every time - if you got uncomfortable with the statement above that black Americans are doing badly under Democratic leadership - an undeniable truth - that is your conditioning, something that Democratic media knows how to do all too well. (think '1984' when the interrogator asked Winston Smith how many fingers he saw).
You say this can't be true? Look at the facts - 50 years of Democratic leadership in the inner cities and conditions are the same or worse than they were in the 1960's when Democrats fully came to power in the black community. Look at California, one of the most well run state governments in the country, make that on earth, and in one or two generations Democrats have run it to the ground, at least as one would normally think of the phrase. One can't seriously look at what has happened in California and not think that there was an intention to make conditions exactly as they are today, and exactly where they are heading.
So face it - Democrats aren't and never will be serious about economic recovery. As this article shows it's the furthest thing from their minds. For Democrats government exists only for government workers, so they are well paid, and in return government unions funnel taxpayer funds to the Party coffers.
And, of course, to people dependent on government. The rest be damned, or be used, as with those 'environmentalists' who play their part in maintaining the misery - and reap the rewards of being on the Democratic payroll.
It's no joke since the system is so inherently repressive that sooner or later it will collapse. But corrupt people by nature never think long term, and those in the Democratic Party are the most corrupt there are.
The author of this piece ends with the hope that irrational budgeting will somehow get Democrats to reexamine their 'premises.' Are you kidding? Why should they? What possible incentive is there for Democrats - at least those in the leadership, to have good government as normal people think of good government. Good government? To be avoided! For Democrats BAD government is where the votes are.
In other words, there is absolutely no price that Democrats pay when an economy goes south - it just means more poor people. And since Republican leadership for the most part are dumb as posts (in the sense of being deaf, probably in the other sense as well), there is no chance at all of Democrats being called out for their corrupt ways. You certainly won't see or hear Democratic media saying a thing about what's going on. Democratic media has become more and more partisan - so don't expect NPR segments on Democratic failures in California, even if some staffer put it in a press release.
In fact, even if what's set forth above exists only on a subconscious level it makes no difference all - this IS the state of affairs. Democrats really don't care about prosperity - they want the opposite since poverty gives them the votes AND it drives Republicans out of the state. And that isn't lost on Democrats - not in California, not anywhere else.
In short, why would Democrats want prosperity when they do so well with misery?
The Politburo approved the 5 year plan, complete with the results of next year's harvest.