Once, California, with its sun drenched beaches, the Sunset Strip and Hollywood, was seen as the place to be. There were songs written about the ideal California life. That whole existence now appears to be a mirage.
As people and companies increasingly leave the state, causing negative population growth in California for the first time, with middle and working class families shrinking, the question one must ask is why?
The answer can be found in a multitude of factors.
This includes having one of the worst rates of cost-of-living adjusted poverty and functional illiteracy, the worst housing affordability in the continental US and horrific shortage of mid-skilled jobs. All of which is compounded by one of the lowest personal-income growth rates in the country, which has meant that its GDP has grown at less than half the pace of Texas, the old rival.
But that is not all that is contributing to California’s woes.
A short-sighted policy of shunning industry and ‘solid middle-class’ jobs for social media and entertainment has seen it exposed to over-saturation in a young and oversaturated field, where customers are fickle and not always going to feel the need for the latest gadgets. As a consequence, California now has a deficit of $25 billion which may continue to grow due to the high possibility of a recession.
Because of these two scary factors, California’s political class is under severe pressure to either shrink its welfare state or to raise taxes, neither of which are very popular with the political class or their voter base.
To compound this issue is California’s embrace of green ideology which has seen the state adopt unfounded and unproven climate-centred policies that are costing the taxpayer millions. These policies have been backed by digital oligarchs such as Meta and Google who are in no way impacted by them (thanks China!), but these policies have had a disastrous impact on California’s industrial, logistics and agricultural sectors. All of which is to say that California has turned from being an advanced industrial power in the late 20th century to being an almost industrial wasteland comparable to modern day Britain. Its haemorrhaging of industrial jobs in the 21st century is a direct result of these policies which have contributed to severe underperformance.
These green policies have also seen a growth in racial segregation, as policies that have been pushed by white climate activists (usually wealthy) are underwritten by white billionaires, and have had a disastrous impact on California’s minority populations, who traditionally work in the sectors most impacted by these green policies.
Consequently, one can see why California’s reputation as a pioneering engine for techno-optimism and new-age spiritualism is slowly being seen as a failed ideology and has led California to becoming a failed state.
Whether the Californian dream can bounce back remains to be seen, but one way or another, everyone should view California as a cautionary tale.