California: Toxic to Business or Head in the Sand?

One day we’re going to wake up, and Californians will have gotten the message. California is toxic to business. If the LA Times says so, as it did here, it must be so.

If it isn’t painfully obvious, one can see business decline by looking around.
If it isn’t painfully obvious, one reads about consistent decline of business in California.
If it isn’t painfully obvious, people and businesses are leaving the state.
If it’s so painfully obvious, why are Californians the last to see it?

The rest of the country felt the painful decline that began around 2008. I remember the day the great national recession began. It was October 29, 2007, the day the stock market crashed. I was in California feeling the pain up close and personal.

California’s decline began much earlier than that day, which boded so badly for the rest of the nation. Things began to get bad in California as early as the year 2000. What started with the turn of the millennium was the loss of 262,000 jobs. That many evaporated from the Golden State by the time the rest of the country got caught up in it in 2007.

Up to that point in time, California stood as the envy of the nation. Jobs in the hundreds of thousands were created in the Golden State. What could legitimately be called ‘golden’ was the era between 1992 and 2000, when the dot-com boom in California catapulted the nation to high technology. But the boom went bust, starting the state in decline that lasted to now.

With the continued decline for more than a decade came the proliferation of California state government. State agencies, particularly environmental ones, produced a plethora of rules, regulations, and restrictions on business. Protecting the environment gained much more importance than protecting business. State environmental agencies such as CARB, in cooperation with a liberal state legislature and leftist leadership in Sacramento, wrote the rules that rode businesses straight out of the state.

In the name of saving everything but jobs, state officials, such as the governor and congressmen, continued to be elected from long-standing liberal ranks. Career politicians–Democrats by another name–rule for the good of everything but the people. And, they won’t be–can’t be–removed. Witness the re-election of Jerry Brown for governor, again, and the long congressional careers of those bright lights, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

There is a minority in the state that recognizes the importance of business. Yes, not everybody in California has a leftist’s view of the world or lives only for sunshine, celebrity, or livelihood by handout. Assembly members of this minority brought successful Texas businessmen to California to share the secrets of business promotion at the state level. But the business-promoting model was rejected. Californians don’t decry the declining state they’re in, obviously preferring a life with their heads in the sand.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared that “California always comes back,” as if some miracle will arrest the decline. But, decline may be purposeful and demise inevitable, as Californians elect those who deliver more of the same, time after time.

Business is leaving. Jobs evaporate. Wealth departs. People emigrate. Soon California will be in the business of nothing but sunshine.

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