NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The "Golden State" Still Doesn't Get It

November 8, 2010

The midterm elections turned into a sweeping repudiation of the Democrats' failed status quo -- except, that is, in California, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

With the exception of the governor's office, California has been a virtual one-party state since the 1960s.  Now, thanks to decades of antibusiness policies promulgated by a series of left-leaning legislatures, its economy and finances are a mess, and it is hemorrhaging jobs, businesses and productive entrepreneurs to other states.

How bad has it gotten in the erstwhile Golden State?  Consider:

  • Some 2.3 million Californians are without jobs, for a 12.4 percent unemployment rate -- one of the highest in the country.
  • From 2001 to 2010, factory jobs plummeted from 1.87 million to 1.23 million -- a loss of 34 percent of the state's industrial base.
  • With just 12 percent of the U.S. population, California has almost a third of the nation's welfare recipients; meanwhile, 15.3 percent of all Californians live in poverty.
  • The state budget gap for 2009-2010 was $45.5 billion, or 53 percent of total state spending -- the largest in any state's history.
  • Unfunded pension liabilities for California's state and public employees may be as much as $500 billion -- roughly 17 percent of the nation's total $3 trillion at the state and local level.

This has been building for decades.  In the end, only the voters of California can change things.  But on Tuesday, they opted for more of the same governance that will only make conditions worse, says IBD.

Source: "The 'Golden State' Still Doesn't Get It," Investor's Business Daily, November 4, 2010.

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