Saturday, March 07, 2009

Accounting for California's Suicide.

If we can agree that Californians have somehow squandered a rich natural and inherited wealth, what were the root causes of this collective suicide?

Critics disagree. Some cite expanding but inefficient state government, out of control state pensions and oppressive taxes. Or is the problem costly prisons and astronomical rates of incarceration, illegal immigration, unchecked welfare, and oppressive regulation and environmental restrictions?

All these may be true. But less discussed is the common culprit: a weird sort of utopian mindset. Perhaps because have-it-all Californians live in such a rich natural landscape and inherited so much from their ancestors, they have convinced themselves that perpetual bounty is now their birthright -- not something that can be lost in a generation of complacency.

Californians count on the wealth of farming but would prefer their rivers to remain wild rather than tapped. They like tasteful redwood decks but demand someone else fell their trees for the wood. Californians drive imported SUVs but would rather that you drill for oil off your shores rather than they off theirs. They pride themselves on their liberal welfare programs, but drive out with confiscatory taxes the few left to pay for them.

Californians expect cheap imported labor to tend their lawns and clean their houses, but are incensed at sky-high welfare and entitlement costs that accompany illegal immigration. Lock 'em up, they say -- but the state is bankrupted by new prisons, constant inmate lawsuits and unionized employees.

Read the whole thing.