“The only thing still shining in California besides the sun is the taillights on the cars as they speed over interstate ten, mid-west and south to escape liberal politics and high taxes.” — Jason Mulberry
At one time, California was consecrated the nirvana for creative industries and new technology — a place where the dreams of the future were incubated. It was a marriage of historic Spanish and frontier cultures interwoven from its southern borders to the hills of Eureka that produced endless opportunity for all comers. It was the epicenter of the American Dream. A place where the sun rays shined on wealth and innovation. It was a haven for inventors, and those seeking their dreams of fortune and fame on stage and in movies. It was where the first TV station was born — KTLA Channel 5 — in Hollywood, the location of the dot-com industry in the Silicon Valley, and the hub of the universe of modern rock and roll music.
“Yes, I’m California dreamin’ — that’s the place — for me …” — The Mamas & the Papas
Considering California’s weather and opportunities, one would intuitively think its diverse economy would be a haven for those seeking their slice of the American pie. Despite its abundance of tree huggers, global warmers, tin-foil hatters and anti-capitalistic progressives, it maintains many of the amenities that induced past thrill seekers to plunge into its Pacific waters. Although many of its famed allurements in the music, movie and TV industries have self-destructed, it still has sunny beaches, shovel-ready jobs, its tech industries and a populous in need of services. Yet people are fleeing California faster than a thief can steal an FM stereo in the parking lot at an El Monte Legion Stadium oldies concert.
“Forty years of liberal politics have confiscated the California dream.” — Larry Wood
Given its iconic past, the idea that more wage earners are leaving California than entering it breaches its former uniqueness and promise. Census Bureau data validates that businesses and middle class families are escaping California’s liberalism faster than Houdini could a straight jacket. This progressive state is facing an epic shortage of trained workers and business start-ups. Imported unskilled labor lured by a lucrative welfare system has turned capitalism into quasi-socialism. New cottage industries have replaced real businesses and economic cleavage between the haves and have-to-depends reeks havoc on the mostly highly taxed state in the U.S. Liberalism has turned all prosperity into poverty.
“The Liberal Californians invented their lifestyle, and this alone will be their doom.” — Ross Billings
The promise of California has soured, and its fall might be the harbinger for all. It did not self-district overnight. It took decades to meet the moirai of misfortune that started when Ronald Reagan left for D.C. The state became ground zero for illegal immigrants seeking Shangri-La in the 1980s, whose offspring are sympathetic to those coming today. Their cause was soon adopted by social progressives who displaced the red block that elected Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan. As they wooed this coterie into their party, sympathizers followed, and this consortium was the beginning of the end of political and economic order that tarnished the Gold Coast.
“Corruption, societal greed, and Americanized quasi-socialism can ruin even the most wonderful places. California proved that.” — Tiffany Madison
In the late 70s, as tensions ran high between public service unions and governments across the U.S., Gov. Jerry Brown imposed union-shop collective bargaining on all agencies. This empowered the fascists of public sector unionism. Now these unions are the most powerful political force in the state. They control the legislature with a supermajority they established, buying votes with union dues. No politician, left or right, acts without consulting the union bosses and the affluent state welfare agencies autocrats.
“We need more welfare, and fewer jobs.” — Jerry Brown
The consequences of pro-government union power have ruined California. There are over 250,000 school teachers in California and each pay union dues of $1,000 annually. The CTA spends almost half of that on politics each year. They pursue a progressive agenda in lockstep with the far-left ideology that beset the once center-right ideology that made California the envy of every state. The unions — not the taxpayers — control all school boards, which control all education. Their schools rank dismally compared to most in the U.S. Yet public education unions spend well over $350 million a year lobbying?
“Best way to live in California is to be from somewheres else.” — Cormac McCarthy
When the police and firefighters saw the gains made by the teachers’ unions, they too jumped on the union gravy train. They have attained unsustainable pensions for members who are eligible at age 50 for a lifetime pay equivalent to 3 percent of their highest salary times their years of service. At age 50, a 20-year veteran can retire with a pension of 60 percent of their highest year’s salary. Some others learned how to spike the system and get 90 percent of their highest salary. They pay lobbyists with your tax dollars to maintain the status quo of their public service unions. They’re so busy protecting their members, the words “public service” mean nothing anymore. They now serve the unions first, not “we the taxpayers.”
“Organized labor is organized to control assets others are paying for.” — Al Carnie
Since their pension requirements are held under the California Rule, they are irreversible. Once they’ve been adopted, neither the voters nor the politicians can derail the money train. With public service union engines running overtime, California must raise taxes to fuel them. As they continually underperform, alienated bondholders are refusing to invest good money into a bad investment any longer. This imploded their bond market, and unfunded liabilities are staggering. Their estimated total unfunded pension liability for all governments is over $260 billion.
“The public service unions now believe they are the fourth arm of government that has replaced the press.” — Charles Shelby
Ronald Reagan said, “Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.’” Today California is in economic and political paralysis due to the far left and the unions ganging up on taxpayers, who’d rather leave than face their Waterloo. This predicted meltdown caused by decades of temerarious delinquency, political and union pandering, and progressive ideology accelerated with the unholy alliance between the public service unions and liberal politics. This Left Coast state that set the bar for government failure wrote its epitaph and eulogy long ago. We must profit from it.
“It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.” — Ronald Reagan
When they euphonize Prop 13 next election, this will be the holocaust of methodic genocide. This will pacify every Left Coast progressive vying to emulate the failures of Barack Obama. Just as Jim Jones did, voters will drink a fatal dose of liberal Kool-Aid and embolden the progressive dream of social Darwinism paid for by taxpayers. This will nail the coffin shut on the goose that laid the golden egg, as the few remaining entrepreneurs and tax-paying elites abandon California to escape the calamity of the liberal morgue.
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” — Ben Franklin
California has proven that, just as Vladimir Lenin said, “The road to socialism is paved by capitalists.”
As Californians flee this liberal utopia, they’d best leave their politics and socialist ideology behind. They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Let’s hope what happens in California stays in California or we will end up giving away what’s left of our libertarian republic. Unions and politics is a marriage made in hell with no chance for divorce.
“Facts are stubborn things.” — Ronald Reagan
William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, author, and citizen legislator in California for over 40 years. He got his start working to approve California Proposition 13.
A version of this article appeared on the Watchdog.org website.