California’s dysfunctional alliance between suburban greens urban machines has killed what could and should have been a boom, writes Joel Kotkin at The Daily Beast. As part of a large piece about the political danger to the Democrats that comes from fighting the transformational “brown jobs” boom, Kotkin points out that Californians are turning their backs on a bonanza.
Nowhere is the element of choice inherent in energy policy more evident than in California, home to five of the nation’s twelve largest oil fields and energy reserves equal to those of Nigeria, the world’s tenth-largest producer. As high-paying energy jobs swell payrolls in the Great Plains, the Intermountain West and parts of the Gulf, the Golden State has double-digit unemployment, a collapsed inland economy and a series of bankrupt municipalities. Amidst a great national energy boom, California’s energy production has remained stunted even as the state’s draconian “renewable” energy mandates are slated to drive up its already high electricity rates. The state’s high cost of energy has impacted industry: despite its vast human and natural resources, the Golden State, with 12 percent of the nation’s population received barely 2 percent of the country’s manufacturing expansions last year.
Such inattention to California’s resources may be popular in wealthy precincts of Silicon Valley, San Francisco and west Los Angeles, but the state’s green approach has helped place traditionally manufacturing-oriented communities such as Oakland, east Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Stockton in deep distress. Despite central California’s vast deposits of oil and gas, unemployment rates in some oil-rich areas there are over 15 and sometimes even 20 percent.
As economic forecaster Bill Watkins recently told an audience in hard-hit Santa Maria: “If you were in Texas, you’d be rich.”
Destroying the economic hopes of low income people in order to stoke the self esteem of entitled Boomers is not Via Meadia’s idea of progressive politics, but that just goes to show how backwards we are by the exalted moral standards of the California elites.
The destruction of California isn’t a victimless crime. Millions of low income California residents are trapped in decaying cities where, thanks in large part to narcissistic green unicorn chasers, the manufacturing base has withered away. And anything that blights California, blights us all. America and the world need California back on line; the Golden State has too much to offer for anyone to remain indifferent to its fate.
In the long run, California is too richly endowed and its people too dynamic for the self-defeating policies of the green elites to prevail. Either the governing class of California tires of unicorn hunts, or at some point the people of California will get tired of their governing class. And in any case, the current suicidal policy mix means that sooner rather than later, California will run out of the money needed to maintain the illusions of its governing elites and the whole elaborate system of sham and deception will blow away. (See Detroit, modern history of. Ditto Greece.)
One way or another, things will change; what can’t go on forever, won’t.