Graphic Courtesy of Sacramento Bee
Today, Tim Cavanaugh over at Reason has a piece that aptly makes the point that the California Decline is real and not just hot air spewed forth by conservative pundits who are smarting for the recent shellacking of the GOP in the recent elections.
Any column about California that gets thumbs up from both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown is cause for deep suspicion, and in the case of Market MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends’ sustained defense of California, the suspicion is justified.
Arends’ thesis is that a cabal of rightwing pundits are manufacturing the story of the Golden State’s economic troubles. He makes some points that are true: California pays out more than it receives in federal funding; the state’s $2 trillion economy is the eighth largest in the world; and housing is way too expensive. (Arends conspicuously avoids looking at some of the reasons behind that last problem.)
Does this mean all the grim forecasts you hear about the Golden State (most emphatically from Gov.-elect Brown, though Arends says critics of Californianomics are motivated by animus toward the incoming third-termer) are bogus? Only if you’re really willing to cherry pick your data.
There is little doubt that California is hurting big time, too many people are out of work and prospects for a quick turn around as in the 1980’s and 1990’s are not promising. So, what will the Democrats who control the legislature and every statewide constitutional offices do?
Well, they have two choices – either cut state spending or declare bankruptcy and beg for a federal government bailout.
Neither option looks forthcoming, so California will muddle along, but decline nonetheless. I believe it is called attrition.