Twenty Percent of California Lives in Poverty, What’s Going On?


by Mish Shedlock, Mish Talk:

On a cost-adjusted basis, California leads the nation in percentage living in poverty. Blame the Progressive oligarchs like Governor Newsom.

Warning to the World

Spiked makes a strong case that a dominant class of oligarchs and woke bureaucrats has bled the Golden State dry. It’s a Warning to the World.


Many still see California as the home of a ‘new progressive era’. It is often viewed as an exemplar of social equity, one that reflects, as a New York Times column put it, ‘the shared values of our increasingly tolerant and pluralistic society’. In truth, far from embodying an egalitarian ethos, it is pioneering a new kind of almost feudal society. A relative handful of oligarchs and a vast bureaucratic ‘clerisy’ lord it over a massive class of what are essentially serfs.

California is not only home to by far the highest number of billionaires in the US. But it also suffers the highest proportion of Americans living in poverty and the widest gap between middle- and upper-middle-income earners of any state. It endures among the US’ highest rates of unemployment, as well as massive net outmigration, an exodus that has increased sharply since 2019. It also has 30 per cent of the nation’s homeless population, with some now living in ‘furnished’ caves.

Even without adjusting for costs, no Californian metro area ranks in the US top 10 in terms of well-paying, blue-collar jobs. But four – Ventura, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Diego – sit among the bottom 10.

Gavin Newsom, California’s governor and prince of the oligarchic elite, seems determined to double down on his attempt to shape California as the model for the ‘progressive’ future. ‘Unlike the Washington plutocracy’, he proclaims, ‘California isn’t satisfied serving a powerful few on one side of the velvet rope’.

Such rhetoric crashes against reality. Newsom’s high-taxregulation-heavy regime is driving enormous poverty. The state’s ethnic-minority communities are suffering most. Ignoring the interests of these people, California legislators and regulators enact proposals for the almost total elimination of fossil fuels.

This, as attorney Jennifer Hernandez explains, has created a kind of ‘green Jim Crow’ that disproportionately hurts working-class, ethnic-minority families. Californians have the highest energy prices in the continental US and energy poverty is particularly rife among the heavily Latino inland areas. Recently, the California Air Resources Board, the primary executor of California’s climate policies, projected that these policies will result in significant income declines for individuals earning less than $100,000 annually, while boosting incomes for those above this threshold.

Rather than address class issues, California’s progressive project focusses on issues like gender, abortion and race. All provide excellent ways to virtue-signal without threatening the ruling cabal of the oligarchical elite, the government bureaucracy and the political class. This has led California to pass such measures as mandates for stores to have gender-neutral toy sections and allowing children to change genders without parental approval.

But it is the race card that California’s feudalists rely on most to appeal to both the guilt-ridden white progressives, as well as the non-white majority. Their regulatory and tax policies may undermine the aspirations of minorities, notably Latinos and African Americans, but they offer support for race-based affirmative-action measures. This is despite the fact that Californian voters have twice rejected such efforts by wide margins.

This hasn’t stopped the state’s nine-member Reparations Task Force. Last month, it recommended state payments of $223,200 to black descendants of slaves living in California. The bill for this could top $569 billion. Equally terrifying, the Racial Justice Act 2020 came into effect in California this year, allowing anyone serving time for a felony to retroactively challenge their conviction and sentencing, on the basis of systemic racial bias. This will essentially allow race to become a major deciding factor in convicting and sentencing criminals in California.

Today, even in face of a record $68 billion deficit and a weak economy, the state’s political establishment seems reluctant to curb its spending or regulatory impulses.

Rather than change course, Newsom and his allies employ budget tricks to deal with the deficit. The governor has even blamed climate change for much of the problem. California’s Democrats are not remotely serious about fixing the budget. Redistribution continues to ace out wealth creation, as epitomised by a pledge to provide undocumented immigrants, hard-working or not, with free healthcare. Meanwhile, middle- and working-class Californians pay ever higher premiums.

These new costs are being imposed even as the high-tech industries keeping California’s economy afloat are beginning to erode.

Dissatisfaction with these and other state policies is becoming more widespread. In one recent survey of California opinion, some 57 per cent said the state was headed in the wrong direction, up from 37 per cent in 2020. Residents of most states hold positive feelings for their state, but not in California, where four in 10 people are considering an exit.

As for the Republicans, the road to resurgence is filled with boulders, many of which are of the party’s own making. The potential is there. Barely 40 per cent of Latinos surveyed recently thought the Democrats were best suited to meeting the state’s challenges.

Such multi-racial coalitions will be critical. California’s future preeminence can only be assured if we return to the kind of common sense, growth-oriented politics that served it so well in the past. The Golden State was once the world’s epicentre of human aspiration. We can’t just surrender it to the neo-feudalists.

The Path to National Ruin

If you live in California and vote for Progressives, you deserve what’s happening. The problem, of course, is the rest of the state does not deserve the madness you impose.

Going one step further, if you are also for slave reparations in a state that never had slaves, then you deserve to lose your house to someone clearly more deserving than you. At a cost of $569 billion, the only way to pay these reparations is for people to be taxed out of their homes.

What’s happening in California is also playing out in Illinois led by Progressive governor J. B. Pritzker.

At the city level look at policies by Chicago by mayor Brandon Johnson, New York City mayor Eric Adams, Boston mayor Michelle Wu, and San Francisco mayor London Breed.

“Wu has argued for charges including shoplifting and disorderly conduct to be beyond the reach of prosecutors along with other serious crimes including the receiving of stolen property and even driving with a suspended license.”

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