What the Left did to Cal­i­for­nia it can do to na­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Vir­tu­ally through­out its his­tory, and cer­tainly in the 20th cen­tury, Cal­i­for­nia has been known as the place to go for dy­namism and growth. It did not be­come the rich­est, most pop­u­lous, and most pro­duc­tive state solely be­cause of its weather and nat­u­ral re­sources.

So it takes a lot to turn Cal­i­for­nia around from growth to con­trac­tion, from peo­ple mov­ing into the state to a net ex­o­dus from the state, from busi­ness mov­ing into Cal­i­for­nia to busi­nesses leav­ing Cal­i­for­nia. It takes some do­ing. And the left has done it. Cal­i­for­nia’s Demo­cratic leg­is­la­ture has been more or less able to do what­ever it wants with Cal­i­for­nia. The Wall Street Jour­nal has de­scribed the re­sult:

“The Golden State — which a decade ago was the boom­ing tech­nol­ogy cap­i­tal of the world — has been done in by two decades of chronic over­spend­ing, over­reg­u­lat­ing and a hy­per­pro­gres­sive tax code [. . .]”

One might ar­gue that’s this is a po­lit­i­cally bi­ased as­sess­ment. So here are some facts, not as­sess­ments:

Cal­i­for­nia’s state ex­pen­di­tures grew from $104 bil­lion in 2003 to $145 bil­lion in 2008.

Cal­i­for­nia has the worst credit rat­ing in the na­tion.

Cal­i­for­nia has the fourth high­est un­em­ploy­ment rate in the na­tion, 9.3 per­cent — higher even than the car man­u­fac­tur­ing state of Michi­gan.

Cal­i­for­nia has the sec­ond high­est home fore­clo­sure rate.

Cal­i­for­nia’s tax-pay­ing mid­dle class is leav­ing the state. Cal­i­for­nia’s net loss last year in state-to-state mi­gra­tion ex­ceeded ev­ery other state’s. New York, an­other left-run state, was sec­ond.

Since 2000, Cal­i­for­nia’s job growth rate — which in the late 1970s was many times higher than the na­tional av­er­age — has lagged be­hind the na­tional av­er­age by al­most 20 per­cent.

Cal­i­for­nia has lost 25 per­cent of its in­dus­trial work force since 2001.

Joel Kotkin, one of the lead­ing ob­servers of ur­ban Amer­ica, the pres­i­den­tial fel­low in ur­ban fu­tures at Chap­man Uni­ver­sity, re­cently wrote an es­say on Cal­i­for­nia, “Sun­down for Cal­i­for­nia.” He be­gins with th­ese words:

“Twenty-five years ago, along with an­other young jour­nal­ist, I co-au­thored a book called “Cal­i­for­nia, Inc.” about our adopted home state. The book de­scribed ‘Cal­i­for­nia’s rise to eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal, and cul­tural as­cen­dancy.’ [. . .] But to­day our Golden State ap­pears headed, if not for im­mi­nent dis­as­ter, then to­ward an unan­tic­i­pated, mad­den­ing, and largely un­nec­es­sary me­di­ocrity.”

That is what left-wing poli­cies have done to Cal­i­for­nia. In Mr. Kotkin’s words, “the state leg­is­la­ture de­cided to spend its money on pub­lic em­ploy­ees and im­pose ever more reg­u­la­tory bur­dens on busi­ness.”

Two weeks ago, In­tel, the world’s largest maker of com­puter chips, an­nounced that it would in­vest $7 bil­lion to ex­pand its fa­cil­i­ties. Where? In Ari­zona, Ore­gon, and New Mex­ico. But not in Cal­i­for­nia, the state in which In­tel is head­quar­tered.

The left is bring­ing the great­est state to its knees.

What gen­er­a­tions cre­ated, the left de­stroys. There are few pro­duc­tive and noble in­sti­tu­tions in Amer­ica that the left has not hurt or at­tempted to hurt. But while the left de­stroys a great deal, it con­structs al­most noth­ing (out­side of gov­ern­ment agen­cies, laws, and law­suits).

Take the Boy Scouts. For gen­er­a­tions, the Boy Scouts, founded and pre­served by Amer­i­cans of all po­lit­i­cal as well as eth­nic back­grounds, has helped mil­lions of Amer­i­can boys be­come good, pro­duc­tive men. The left through­out Amer­ica — its politi­cians, its me­dia, its stars, its aca­demics — have ganged up to de­prive the Boy Scouts of oxy­gen. Ev­ery­where pos­si­ble, the Boy Scouts are vil­i­fied and de­prived of places to meet.

But while the left works to de­stroy the Boy Scouts — un­less the Boy Scouts adopt the left’s views on openly gay scouts and scout leaders — the left has cre­ated noth­ing com­pa­ra­ble to the Boy Scouts. The left tries to de­stroy one of the great­est in­sti­tu­tions ever made for boys, but it has built noth­ing for boys. There is no ACLU ver­sion of the Boy Scouts; there is only the ACLU ver­sus the Boy Scouts.

The same holds true for the great­est char­ac­ter-build­ing in­sti­tu­tion in Amer­i­can life: Judeo-Chris­tian re­li­gions. Once again, the left knows how to de­stroy. Ev­ery­where pos­si­ble the left works to in­hibit re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tions and val­ues — from sub­sti­tut­ing “Happy Hol­i­days” for “Merry Christ­mas” to re­mov­ing the tiny cross from the Los An­ge­les County Seal to ar­gu­ing that re­li­gious peo­ple must not bring their val­ues into the po­lit­i­cal arena.

And, then there is ed­u­ca­tion. Un­til the left took over Amer­i­can pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in the sec­ond half of the 20th cen­tury, it was gen­er­ally ex­cel­lent — look at the high level of eighth-grade ex­ams from early in the 20th cen­tury and you will weep. The more money the left has got­ten for ed­u­ca­tion — Amer­ica now spends more per stu­dent than any coun­try in the world — the worse the aca­demic re­sults. And the left has re­moved God and dress codes from schools — with so­cially dis­as­trous re­sults.

Of course, it is not en­tirely ac­cu­rate to say that the left builds noth­ing. It has built vast gov­ern­ment bu­reau­cra­cies, MTV, and post-1960s Hol­ly­wood, for ex­am­ple. But th­ese are, to say the least, not pos­i­tive achieve­ments.

In a re­cent col­umn, Thomas Fried­man de­scribed Gen­eral Motors Corp., as “a gi­ant wealth-de­struc­tion ma­chine.” That per­fectly de­scribes the left many times over. It is both a wealth-de­struc­tion ma­chine and an en­nobling-in­sti­tu­tion de­struc­tion ma­chine.

Den­nis Prager is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.