Eastward, ho

The problem with federalism is that sometimes the states run experiments whose results are hard to discount.  This week has seen a flood of California-is-boned articles, summed up for us in a handy way here, but this short set of statistics stood out for me:
From the mid-1980s to 2005, California’s population grew by 10 million, while Medicaid recipients soared by seven million; tax filers paying income taxes rose by just 150,000; and the prison population swelled by 115,000.
California also ranked in the top five or ten in a number of troubling contests, from most-taxed to most-regulated. It typically shares honors with New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.


MikeD said...

T99, you see that as a bug, I see it as a feature... right up until the point that they convince the Federal government to bail them out of their bad decisions. Citizens of the People's Republic of California do have the option to vote with their feet. I have zero idea why my in-laws (who certainly have the means) have not yet done so.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I suspect there is a blindness based on half-truths. Possibility #1: The people who moved there before 1985* built a tremendous economy. The people who came after, not so much. That pre-1985 group did some things right, and they know it. The problem is, they have likely identified the wrong things, but have stuck with them over and over, because they think "It worked before." What Californians think made them great is actually different from what did make them great.

Possibility #2. The negative consequences are not separable from the positive. They got the benefit and now have to pay the cost.

I can come up with 3 or 4 different theories as to what the specifics are of my general theories above. Probably needs book-length treatment.

*I picked 1985 because the study did. Another year, or span of years, might be a better break point.

Texan99 said...

Mike, I don't think it's a bug. It's obviously inconvenient for the folks who'd rather keep predicting success for the reforms they'd like to implement on a national scale.

Texan99 said...
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MikeD said...

Inconvenient, perhaps. But only if they actually cared about the results. After all, it's really the intent that matters, right? If the results don't match "expectations", then either it's the fault of reactionaries, or it just wasn't tried on a big enough scale (not enough money, not enough time, not enough something).

Gringo said...

My guess is that illegal aliens, which vastly increased beginning in the 1980s, constitute the break point that AVI alluded to.

Call Dog Hill the break point. Dog Hill was the palace constructed by former President Portillo of Mexico [1976-1982]. It got that name because Portillo in the early 1980s had vowed to "fight like a dog" to defend the peso. Unfortunately for President Portillo, loans based on anticipation of increasing oil prices, coupled with decreasing oil prices, which began to fall in the summer of 1981, made his vow as seem like a Chihuahua fighting a wolf. After he left office, Portillo was driven out of a posh Mexico City restaurant when clients began barking at him.

The collapse of the Mexican economy due to the debt problems resulted in an influx of Mexicans to the US.

California previously handled influxes of the poor- such as the Dust Bowl Okies. But there was no welfare state awaiting them.

As others have commented, when you have open borders with a welfare state, you have problems. Either a welfare state with controlled borders, or open borders with no welfare state can work. But not a welfare state with open borders.¿Me entendés?

douglas said...

Like most plane crashes, it's a confluence of things- growing entitlement, increasing demand on the state from illegal immigration (and some depressing of wages), increasing reliance on Federal funds (particularly in education), a growing enviromentalist bent and over-regulation which made a massively hostile business enviroment that chased jobs out of the state, and now an increasing outflow of right thinking folks getting out while the getting is good.

If I didn't have most of my extended family here, or thought I could convince them to move, I'd seriously think about moving, even though in my field, you build a clientele regionally, so it would be a massive hit business wise.

MikeD said...

Frog in a pot then? I'd move to California only if Hell froze over. I'd start a business there only if the Devil truly repented. But I can see not wanting to move if you're already established. Bird in the hand and all. But what's the point at which you finally throw in the towel? Where the line that if they cross would force you out?

tyree said...

I said a long time ago, "If we don't stop illegal immigration it will eventually stop on its own, when living here is worse than living there."

It appears as if I was right.