The Los Angeles Times published an analysis of President-elect Joe Biden’s forthcoming policies and concluded that he wants to “make America California again.” Not the Ronald Reagan version: rather, the contemporary left-wing bubble.
The Times noted:
California is emerging as the de facto policy think tank of the Biden-Harris administration and of a Congress soon to be under Democratic control. That’s rekindling past cliches about the state — incubator of innovation, premier laboratory of democracy, land of big ideas — even as it struggles with surging COVID-19 infections, a safety net frayed by the pandemic’s toll, crushing housing costs and wildfires, all fueling an exodus of residents.
There is no place the incoming administration is leaning on more heavily for inspiration in setting a progressive policy agenda.
California has also supplied Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). But it is less a “model” of a particular set of policies than an example of what the left does when it no longer has an opposition.
California is one of the wealthiest states — and also one of the poorest, with a disproportionate share of the nation’s welfare cases. The middle class is emptying out — taking with it the state’s traditionally Republican constituency.
Geographer Joel Kotkin wrote in 2018:
Rather than serving primarily as a role model, California today should be seen as much a cautionary tale. We certainly produce great wealth, but also far too much poverty. To be sure, California is now home to four of the 15 richest people on the planet and 70 percent of the 56 billionaires under 40; the Bay Area remains the most prodigious producer of high wage tech-related jobs.
But for much of the middle and working classes, more serious has been the erosion of higher-wage blue collar jobs, which have dropped by 500,000 since 2000 and by over 300,000 since the Great Recession alone. In contrast, minimum or near-minimum wage jobs accounted in 2015-16, notes the state’s Business Roundtable, for almost two-thirds of the state’s new job growth.
As companies began fleeing the state’s high-tax, high-regulation environment, then-Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged the problem, but quipped that “smart people figure out how to make it.” Increasingly, they “make it” in other states, like Texas.
In very basic ways, California is utterly dysfunctional. Last year, it had to implement rolling blackouts because solar and wind energy, the result of years of “green” policy, could not provide the power to keep the lights on in a heat wave.
The Democrats who run the state are sheltered from the consequences of their policies by the fact that talented people are still drawn to Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the Golden State’s unparalleled climate. Thanks to the success of Big Tech and Wall Street, the state has a projected budget surplus of $15 billion in the middle of a global economic crisis.
California is expected to lose one congressional seat after the latest census, which showed the state losing population.