Friday, March 26, 2010

Where's My Utopia?

We can't keep calling California the Golden State with stories like this in the paper: Personal Income Falls 2.5% In California
Personal income in California fell last year for the first time since the Great Depression, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

State income plunged even more sharply in 2009 than the similar, historic drop that occurred on a national basis, a notable reversal given that California generally has beaten the national averages throughout the 80-year history of this report.

Personal income includes wages and salaries, health and pension benefits, rents, dividends and interest, federal payments such as unemployment and Social Security, and just about every form of wealth except stock sales and other capital gains.

The 2.5 percent drop in statewide personal income works out to $1,527 fewer dollars for every man, woman and child in California.

The accompanying nationwide drop of 1.7 percent works out to a $1,028 decline in per capita income for all Americans.

Prior to last year's drop, personal income in California had fallen only five times since 1929, when such record keeping began. All five of those occurrences were during the Depression.

California, along with Michigan and Nevada, has been one of the worst hit states during the Little Depression. The downturn virtually began here, and shows no sign of letting up in California, even as the rest of the country begins to stagger back to life.

Around here, it's enough for people to say "It's Bush's Fault!" But, how true can that be? California has been a left-liberal state since at least the mid-Nineties with the bloated state payroll, unsustainable entitlements, crushing regulatory environment, dimwitted global warming laws, scummy lifestyle crimes, and high speed rail boondoggles to prove it. Sure, we have had a Republican governor for the past 6+ years, but he hasn't been able to move an ostensibly Republican agenda since 2005. The state legislature hasn't had a Republican majority for as long as I can remember. San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and Los Angeles have been one-party (guess which one) political jurisdictions for years, if not decades. And, millions of Californians hopped, skipped and jumped to the polls in November 2008 to elect Barack Obama president. A sort of lazy "save the whales" brand of gentry liberalism has been the state's default political setting since the days of the (first) Jerry Brown administration. So, yeah, it's Bush's fault.

I don't think Republicans, especially those in the California GOP, have all the right answers to all of life's little questions. But, how long can California voters keep returning to office the liberals who have - enabled by the occasional moderate Republican - driven the Golden State into a persistent vegetative state? How can people who continuously rail against Bush-Cheney not fail to notice that the Boxers and Pelosis to whom they pay obeisance have a much more direct impact on their lives and have done absolutely nothing to relieve the state of its crushing problems? This fall, I can guarantee that Democrats will once again return to the well and run another multi-million dollars worth of ads about how Meg Whitman wants to defund firefighters and close kindergartens. Can the old demagoguery work again? Probably. People here are so desperate to be hip and sophisticated, they would prefer to live in an economic basketcase, rather than vote Republican.

Well, at least the weather will be nice.

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