Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The New York Times Touts California's 'Resurgence'

While heading out for lunch today at the Village Cafe in Lakewood, I was reminded of this morning's New York Times front-page story, "California Finds Economic Gloom Starting to Lift." As I was pulling up to the restaurant I noticed an empty storefront across the street, with real estate vacancy signs posted all across the front window. "There's that New York Times economic rebound," I thought to myself. It's true that things are getting better in California, but not much. And I certainly don't think the state's economic prospects warrant the Grey Lady's boosterism. I didn't bother to snap a photo, although shots of run-down urban areas and the still wobbly real estate market would be much more accurate than the picture of the cellphone hipster  at the beach which graced the cover of the paper's national edition this morning.

In any case, here's Victor Davis Hanson, "It’s Hard to Screw Up California — But We Try Our Best." Hanson observers three flaws regarding California by the Times, with the  omission of immigration problem perhaps most glaring:
The Times piece also deliberately ignores the third rail of all California decline stories — illegal immigration. About 40 percent of all illegal immigrants are believed to be living in California. Probably about a $20 billion share in the much larger figure of annual remittances to Latin America comes from California. And such facts do help explain why once-competitive California public schools now rate 49th in many math/science/English national tests, one-third of all U.S. welfare recipients live in California, 8 million out of the last 11 million added to the state’s population went on Medicaid, and why the Central Valley is suffering from record unemployment, depressed housing prices, and mass exoduses of higher-income residents. In this regard, note the following Times sentence: “California has the worst poverty in the nation. The river of people coming west in search of the economic dream, traditionally an economic and creative driver, has slowed to a crawl.” In fact, “the river of people” long ago ceased “coming west” to California, but rather for 30 years has been coming “north” into the state — a direction that is politically incorrect to note.
And here's a bit from Hanson's conclusion:
In sum, things may not be becoming worse in California, but it is not because of anything that Jerry Brown or the legislature has done, or the expectation that all these new record-high taxes (not yet exacted) have so excited the private sector that we are already anticipating a new recovery. Again, agricultural exports boom despite not because of Sacramento; there is renewed interest from private parties in our vast natural resources, whose prices are at record levels; illegal immigration has slowed; and after four years of recession, there is always a natural American cycle of recovery. But until the state deals with its cumbersome regulations, record taxes, hostility to resource development — and supports closing the border and promotes ethnically blind assimilation rather than serial amnesties and ethnic chauvinism — we will continue to have the nation’s worst schools, worst infrastructure, worst business climate, and highest exoduses, as California plods on, coasting on the fumes of what nature and our ancestors so generously bequeathed to us.
RELATED: From Joel Kotkin, in 2011, "The Golden State Is Crumbling." And from earlier this year, at the Wall Street Journal, "The Great California Exodus."