America's most hopeless state

Californians talk incessantly about high-tailing it to Texas or Nevada, yet New Yorkers flee at about double our rate. Migration numbers aside, I would still rank the Golden State as the Most Hopeless State. There are other studies that bolster that case, including Chief Executive magazine’s “2013 Best and Worst States for Business” that places California dead last, with New York in 49th place.

The magazine ranks states based on three categories: taxation and regulation, workforce quality, and living environment. Even with its natural advantages in the last category and high ranking in the second one, California still flopped because its officials have adopted a punitive environment in the first category. That takes some doing.

In terms of zaniness, California and its cities can probably put New York to shame. San Franciscans ban McDonald’s Happy Meals and plastic bags even as they debate bizarre “freedoms,” such as the right to walk around in public naked. After much bad publicity, a state assembly committee recently rejected a “homeless bill of rights” that would have, until amended, established a constitutional right to “engage in life sustaining activities that must be carried out in public spaces.” In other words, it would have established a right to urinate in public.

On substantial regulatory, government and economic issues, New York and California are in a dead heat. Both are union-dominated states where public services are overly costly, taxes are too high, and government-imposed edicts and bureaucracies meddle everywhere.