The newer companies that can afford the sky-high costs of coastal California, and can pay their employees adequately to do the same—places like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter—employ relatively few people compared to older, manufacturing-oriented technology firms such as Hewlett-Packard and Intel. While cherry picking highly educated professionals, the new firms create few local support positions that would spread some of the wealth. What middle-income jobs they do create tend to be located in lower-cost, more business-friendly American cities like Salt Lake City or Austin, or, increasingly, overseas.
Elite institutions like Stanford still thrive, but the state’s once-great educational system is creaking under reduced funding, massive bureaucracy, and skyrocketing pensions. Once among the best-educated Americans, Californians are rapidly becoming less so. Among people over 64, California stands second in percentage of people with an associate degree or higher; among those aged 25 to 34, it ranks 30th.
For devoted Californians, accustomed to seeing their state as a national and global exemplar, these trends are deeply disturbing. Yet the key power groups in the state—greens, public employees, and rent-seeking developers—seem intent on imposing ever more draconian regulations on energy and land use, seeking for example, to ban construction of the single-family houses preferred by the vast majority of Californians.