The midterm elections turned into a sweeping repudiation of the Democrats’ failed status quo — except, that is, in California. There, not only did the Democrats not lose, they gained clout.
Even as voters in other states said they’d had enough of ever bigger, more intrusive and higher-cost government by the Democrats, California voters said, “More please.”
With the exception of the governor’s office, California has been a virtual one-party state since the 1960s. Now, thanks to decades of anti-business policies promulgated by a series of left-leaning legislatures, its economy and finances are a mess, and it’s hemorrhaging jobs, businesses and productive entrepreneurs to other states.
California and the California Republican Party has been broken for some time. Now, it is just more obvious. Read on as the Investors Business Daily lays out the case for “giving up” in Blue California and moving business operations to another state.
How bad has it gotten in California?
- Some 2.3 million Californians are without jobs, for a 12.4% 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% of the state’s industrial base. Ask any company, and it’ll tell you the same thing: It’s now almost impossible to build a big factory in California.
- With just 12% of the U.S. population, California has almost a third of the nation’s welfare recipients. Some joke the state motto should be changed from “The Golden State” to “The Welfare State.” Meanwhile, 15.3% of all Californians live in poverty.
- The state budget gap for 2009-10 was $45.5 billion, or 53% of total state spending — the largest in any state’s history.
- The state’s sales tax is the nation’s highest, and its income tax the third-highest, the BusinessInsider.com Web site recently noted. Meanwhile, the Tax Foundation’s “State Business Tax Climate Index” ranks California 48th.
- In a ranking by corporate relocation expert Ronald Pollina of the 50 states based on 31 factors for job creation, California finished dead last.
- In another ranking, this one by the Beacon Hill Institute on state competitiveness, California came in 32nd — down seven spots in just one year.
- California is home to 25% of America’s 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants. A 2004 study estimated that illegals cost the state’s citizens $10.5 billion a year — roughly $1,200 per family.
- Unfunded pension liabilities for California’s state and public employees may be as much as $500 billion — roughly 17% of the nation’s total $3 trillion at the state and local level.
So, that is how bad it is in California. But, what really happened in last Tuesday’s election. Why were California Republicans shellacked or wiped out in every statewide race, except maybe one?
Population demographics for one. Look at Los Angeles County.
A large part of the state’s Democratic tilt comes from its massive Latino population. The Los Angeles Times noted that it made up 22% of the voting pool, “a record tally that mortally wounded many Republicans.”
Indeed, Latinos went for Democrats by 2-to-1 — perhaps ending the naive idea of some in the GOP of a New Majority built on the burgeoning Latino population.
Illegal immigration has been ignored for decades by California and the federal government and these “illegal” Californians have had generations of now “legal” and VOTING Californians. And, they, like African-Americans and Jews vote primarily Democratic. Unfortunately for the GOP this may not change for generations and decades as this Hispanic population assimilates. Or, it may become even more polarized and Latinos may drift towards the African-American lock with the Democrats. Voting blocks that approach 40% of the population are very hard to beat in elections – period.
And, there is more.
Latino voters overwhelmingly supported Democrats Brown and Boxer over their respective Republican rivals Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, according to polls conducted by Latino Decisions and sponsored by the National Council of La Raza, Service Employees International Union and America’s Voice.
Brown won election with nearly 54% of the overall vote, while Boxer took a 52% edge in her race. But their support among Latino voters was in the 80 percents.
What will happen next?
For many, it’s as simple as ABC — Anywhere But California. This is an issue near and dear to our hearts. Investor’s Business Daily was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles — and for a quarter of a century has proudly called California its home.
But we too have been affected by the state’s poisonous, anti-business political environment. With de facto one-party rule in the state since the 1960s and few signs of change anytime soon, our optimism about the state’s future has begun to wane.
As a result, sad to say, much of IBD’s future growth will happen at a new facility in Texas — where local and state authorities have bent over backwards to make us feel welcome.
Many more business enterprises will be of the same opinion and simply give up and leave California. There will be an increasingly burdensome population that either does not work or who are not skilled enough to participate in 21st century business. California will go to the federal government which will be dominated by Republicans for a bailout.
None will be forthcoming and California will either change or slide loudly in to a Greece-like abyss of default and bankruptcy.
California can no longer be considered a “Golden State.”