I seem to recall, not too long ago, California Governor Jerry Brown saying that his state’s policies were about “California leading the country,” which, in turn, could serve as a model for “America potentially leading the world.” Yet again, Gov. Brown has provided an all-too-apt example of how these United States could indeed lead the world: by doing the precise opposite of whatever it is California is doing.
It’s a darn good thing California has all of those beautiful vistas and fantastic recreation to recommend itself, ’cause it doesn’t seem to have much else going for it. In an annual survey, business executives have ranked California as the absolute worst state in the country for doing business for the eighth year in a row:
The survey considered responses from 650 business leaders, who graded states on factors such as taxes, regulations, living environment and more. …
California narrowly edged out New York in what the survey called “the ninth circle of business hell,” sharing the bottom five spots with Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan. …
Its 10.9% unemployment rate is only lower than Nevada’s and Rhode Island’s. A third of U.S. welfare recipients live in California, the report noted. High state taxes and bundles of red tape make operating a business in the state unaffordable to many companies, critics say.
Last year, 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs elsewhere — 26% more than 2010. Most chief executives in Silicon Valley said they won’t expand in the state, according to the survey.
Once the Golden State of opportunity, businesses and residents have more recently been fleeing California’s legislation-happy climes in droves. More than 1.5 million jumped ship between 2001 and 2009, instead moving to more business-friendly locales like the survey’s number-one state, Texas (where unemployment currently sits below the national average — don’t mess).
Try as they might, what with their well-touted forays into subsidized green energy, spectacular feats of nanny-statism and the like, California remains an example of the havoc that ideological mismanagement and over-regulation can wreak on a regional economy. While their heavily left-leaning policies might be able to eke out an existence while dragging down the rest of the nation, their habits aren’t sustainable in the long term, and they’ve got the debt and deficit woes to prove it.
This is exactly why federalism is so brilliant — and why we should cut down on the federal bureaucracy and make better use of it.