Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"But my heart cried out for you California"

The lyric in the title is from Joni Mitchell's "California" off the "Blue" album 1971.  However one might argue that the economics profession is singing the same tune.  WSJ featured a great interview with demographer Joel Kotkin over the weekend which really got to the heart of the economic challenges facing the Not-So-Golden State.  The issues are many: high and rising taxes, restrictions on property use that make housing unaffordable to the middle class, a cap-and-trade law that will chase away the few manufacturing jobs that remain, and rising energy costs in a state committed to go green whatever the cost.

Kotkin thinks things will only get worse as out-migration changes the mix of the electorate:
As progressive policies drive out moderate and conservative members of the middle class, California's politics become even more left-wing. It's a classic case of natural selection, and increasingly the only ones fit to survive in California are the very rich and those who rely on government spending. In a nutshell, "the state is run for the very rich, the very poor, and the public employees."
To borrow from another well-known 1970s lyric: Greece is the word.

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