Chapman Professor Tells Wall Street Journal Why Everyone Is Leaving California

Categories: Politics
uhaul-california.jpg
"California, here we come! . . . Oh, no, wait, let's get the hell out of here!"  

If it seems like more and more people are fleeing California to start new lives elsewhere, it's because they are. In the last two decades, four million more people have booked it out of this perhaps-not-so-golden state than have entered from other parts of the country. Need further proof? Just check U-Haul rates.

What's the matter with this place? Joel Kotkin thinks he knows. A leading demographer and a fellow at Chapman University, he talks about the state's demise in a Wall Street Journal piece titled "The Great California Exodus." He was interviewed by opinion writer Allysia Finley, who has lambasted California's economic and political policies before. (In 2010, Finley, a former Orange County Register intern, called California the "Lindsay Lohan of states," describing it as "a prima donna who once showed some talent but is now too wasted to do anything with it.")

According to Kotkin, here are a few reasons why California sucks.

Government restrictions on development. Policies have artificially limited housing supply and put a premium on real estate in coastal regions, the piece argues. "Basically, if you don't own a piece of Facebook or Google and you haven't robbed a bank and don't have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak," Kotkin says.

Jerry Brown's green focus. Kotkin blasts the governor's dream of green jobs replacing all "tangible jobs" that the state has been losing in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing and construction. "Green energy doesn't create enough energy!" he says. "And it drives up the price of energy, which then drives out other things." He later adds, "You see the great tragedy of California is that we have all this oil and gas, we won't use it. We have the richest farm land in the world, and we're trying to strangle it."

Taxes. The piece cites that California has the 48th-worst business tax climate according to the Tax Foundation. Middle-class workers pay a higher income tax percentage than what millionaires pay in 47 states. Kotkin believes that the governor's November ballot initiative to raise taxes even more for "millionaires" (those who make more than $250,000 a year) is going to hit "small business owners and the young family that's trying to accumulate enough to raise a family" because in many parts of California, $250k isn't all that much.

But . . . but . . . but . . . what about our sunshine?! And beaches! And beautiful people!

Read the full piece here.

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18 comments
David N
David N

My wife and I used to live in California.  We are both engineers and almost qualified as "enemy of the people."  We were paying $1500/month in state income taxes.  We left in 2006.  Best move we ever made.  California is just punishing. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Dispute it if you wish but the professor is spot on... And even if we fall out of the top ten in taxation as Bill suggests, we are all sick of seeing that money being pissed away to pet projects that increasingly benefit those that contribute the least... Regardless of how you feel about entitlements we are not a socialist society... No matter how hard the liberals in Sacto try to take us down that road... Many have little tolerance for it and I have always said the best way to vote is with your feet, and the sad thing is that the majority of the people leaving are middle class and mostly vote conservative. Meaning, you may get your liberal utopia sooner rather than later. Class warfare? We'll see in ten years after the state government hits up the supposed wealthy for another percent a year in taxes.  

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

if the governor would allow industrial hemp to be grown and processed in california there would be a huge boon to california economics. damn what the federal government thinks. The governor can stand between the feds and california farmers who can produce industrial hemp for food fuel and fibers.

Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco

What does Gustavo know? He is not even an economics expert. He should focus on bashing more gabachos not economics. I hate to admit it. The economy of California sucks and the state is in a deficit comparing to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia have a budget surplus. For the sake, lets sell it back to Mexico or pay back to China.

mitch yoiung
mitch yoiung

One reason Virginia has a surplus is that all lot of tax money flows to 'The Capitol' and workers at 'the Capitol' living in VA.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Kotkin is the most overrated professor this side of Victor Hanson...

mitch young
mitch young

Klavito is right for once. Only and idiot could write about the exodus of Americans from California without mentioning the giant immigrant influx which drives up housing prices, crowds schools, and lowers wages.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Why aren't you whining about Barça's pathetic loss to Real Madrid--oh, wait, you like Franco's pan-fascism over ethnicity...

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Who says I follow La Liga? Although my apologies: Franco wanted the Catalans gone, so of course you'd hate them. ¡Qué pinche fresa!

mitch young
mitch young

Soy aficionado de <<er beti'="">> capullo, porque vivía in Andalucia. No tengo nada que ver con los Polacos de Barça, Y ser aficionado de 'Real Madrid' es como ser 'aficionado' de los Yankees--es decir un afficionado de mundalization,  es el equipo para los pijos.

If you knew anything about 'La Liga', you'd be following Espanyol -- the team that the migrants -- internal and external -- living in Barcelona root for.</er>

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

 What did you find wrong with his analysis?

Bill T.
Bill T.

Reporting the relative IT and ignoring other sources of state income is lying by only telling part of the truth. If you look at total taxation California drops out of the top 10 highest taxed states, still high, but not in accordance with the hype.  Other distortions too, just one example.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

All these Cali naysayers never take into account the essentialism that is boom-and-bust in California. I hate Brave New Urbanists as much as the folks over at Cato and LewRockwell.com, but they know nothing about California history. In 10 years, those pendejos will hail the Golden State as an avatar of affordability. Texas is...Texas.

qdpsteve
qdpsteve

Which begs the question...So why did you run the piece?

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