Self-Sufficiency Series

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bashing California

Lately I've been seeing a lot of articles concerning the state of affairs in California, particularly with regards to the business climate, cost of living, quality of life, etc. I rarely see articles praising California; everyone seems to focus on bashing the state.

My family moved to California (from western New York State) in 1972, when I was ten years old. From day one, I hated it there. I'm quite certain my opinion of the entire state was terminally colored by the rotten elementary school I attended, where I was teased and bullied unmercifully for six months (while my parents had a house built) until I relocated to a different (and less hostile) school.

After that first traumatic year, I suppose you could say I got along okay in the Golden State, but I never felt settled or at home, and never had any intention of staying. Nevertheless, you know how it is: inertia goes a long way in keeping someone in the same spot for years and years.

I can quite honestly say the best thing that I ever got out of California was my husband. I've been eternally blessed by marrying this most wonderful man.

When we got married in 1990, it didn't take us long to start devising a plan to leave California. By that point we didn't really have much of a quarrel with the state. We were both well employed, we were renting a nice house with a spacious back yard for our dogs; in short, we were doing fine.

But both of us had the yearning to leave. It just seemed California was too crowded, too expensive, too regulated, and (for me) too hot. The state seemed to stifle independence and self-sufficiency. We weren't sure exactly where we wanted to go, but we knew we needed to get out of the urban zones for which California is justifiably famous and have room to stretch our legs and be more independent. We considered the northern portion and/or the eastern section (along the Sierra Nevada chain) but in the end we up and moved to southwest Oregon in 1992, where we happily stayed for ten years before moving yet again to Idaho.

So my roots in California are fairly deep. My family still lives there. So does Don's family. We have endless dear friends who live there. But neither of us has the slightest desire to ever return (except to visit, of course).

It seems California's regulatory nature and hostile business climate have worsened in the two decades since we left. My older brother is particularly faithful about filling me in about California's woes, and although he's firmly entrenched in that state, he has no illusions about its problems.

Supplementing my brother's emails, I've also been seeing more and more news articles about California's problems. A WND columnist wrote two pieces (here and here) outlining some of the issues. It seems the state is beyond fixing because its issues are too big. What will become of it is anyone's guess.

It's well documented that businesses are leaving California in droves due to the hostile climate and high taxes. Other states have proven more welcoming and enticing, with far lower costs of living as well as more favorable tax incentives. "The Golden State's fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest product is red tape," notes Allysia Finley in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece in which she interviews urban studies Professor Joel Kotkin. Dr. Kotkin notes that the high home prices keep many young people out of the housing market (I can testify!).

The cost of living in California is so astronomical that the middle-class can't afford to live there. Let's put it this way: if Don and I tried to acquire in California what we have here in Idaho -- namely, twenty acres with a good-sized house and a barn -- we'd be spending upwards of a million dollars, easily. And we'd have a mortgage to match. But we spent one-tenth of that by moving to Idaho instead. And we bought this place solely on the income from a home craft business, for Pete's sake. Try doing that in California.

Ironically the state is a magnet to those unable or unwilling to work because the welfare benefits are incredibly generous. This contributes to the income disparity and overall decrease in the tax base for the state, which is why the state continuously increases taxes on the middle class. Catch-22 anyone?

Someone sent me an interesting article on InfoWars (a site I normally avoid because I dislike its conspiratorial they're-out-to-get-us mentality) entitled Sixteen Reasons to Move Away from California. I found I couldn't disagree with a single one of them.

California is a state with a staggering amount of beautiful natural terrain. Ocean beaches, dry hot desert, flat valley floors, high mountains, lush forests, temperate woodlands... it's astounding how many different biomes can be found in one state. There are also pockets with low population (notably the northern-most areas). But the long arm of government reaches every single one of those isolated pockets. No matter how far away from urban areas someone might live, they will still be taxed and regulated to a far higher degree than almost anywhere else.

It saddens me to watch California's slow-motion crash-and-burn. It saddens me that a state which was once a golden land of opportunity for millions -- including my parents, back in 1972 -- is now a state people must flee in order to seek opportunity.

And it saddens me even more that California politicians -- both Democrat and Republican -- don't get it. They don't get why people and business are leaving. They don't get that higher taxes are not greeted with cries of joy from the overtaxed. They don't get that more red tape and higher regulations don't entice businesses to be creative or innovative. They. Just. Don't. Get. It.

So despite the distance from beloved family members, I sure don't regret leaving the Golden State.

31 comments:

  1. Sounds like some weird sort of financial overspin-the more you tax, the more people leave,so the more you tax..until it tears itself apart.
    I have a couple friends in California(at opposite ends of the state)both native Californians..One is self employed, the other ekes out a living with temp jobs(not a very plasant way to live). It's not what I think of when I think of California(Big-Boobed Blonde Bikini Beach Babes).It's interesting to hear what goes on in their lives,and how things differ from here. From what I'm told, the Golden State has a world of problems,most of them seem to be self-inflicted.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This pure speculation on my part, but CA did very well when the Japanese were booming in the 80s, and also got a lot of the Reagan era defense money. None of which is bad, but I think they came to believe that they were special rather than the benifiaries of a place and time. When the rug got pulled out from under them, there aperations were too slow to adjust to the new conditions.

    Of course, you might extend the analogy to the country as a whole, but that is another topic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Palmdale is a prime example of this. Back in the 80's it was a suburban dream. You had Boeing, Northrup, and a few other defense contractors employing a major part of the community. Present day has turned it into a slum with LA casting it's homeless into the surrounding communities. The section 8 housing is what is killing the whole state not to mention the criminals that go with it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read that same article about reasons to leave CA. Agree with you, nothing to argue about there.

    CA has long been mainly run by the Democrats. Other places I look that are run by the Democrats include Seattle, Chicago, Illinois, Oregon and many others, they ALL show the same problems. For sure the Rebubs are far from blameless, but the tax 'em til they give us everything mentality seems to land hardest on the Demos and the public employees unions.

    Governor of Illinois raised taxes 67% on individuals and 35% on businesses, yet they issue bonds to pay for even pension contributions. Recently they admitted it was not enough and not soon enough. But what did they learn? Gotta tax even harder.

    Yup! We ALL are going down the greased tube of bankruptcy. But that is what economic Winter is all about. Anyone remember about Jubilee in the Bible?

    Winston

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe if they didn't shelter the wealthy so much from taxation instead of overburdening the middle class, things would balance out like they did back in Eisenhower's and Roosevelt's time. It worked great for the country then because they knew...no middle class.....no money generated for the rich. It was a win, win.

      Soon.....there will no longer be a middle class at the rate we are going as the million and billionaires get richer and richer and richer. 200 of the richest in the world came forward to Washington to express how They would not mind more taxation if it were to help the country. They went unnoticed and ridiculed by the Tea Party.

      Reagon's era proved trickle down economics is a farce and DOES NOT WORK! Something's got to give.......BJ

      Delete
  5. Okay, but other than -that- Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

    Yep. The PRK sucks. If it were not for my aging parents, who live literally around the corner, I would be "outta here" double quick.

    Liberty? In California? License perhaps, but not Liberty.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are still in California. Looking to get out to "FREE America" as one friend puts it. AND SOON!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just hope the rest of us don't have to pay to bail them out. Possible? :(

    Someone said that it is so bad there even the illegals are leaving.

    Was listening to Tom Sullivan earlier today had he said he rant into Tezas Gov. Rick Perry in Ca. And asked him why he was there. Gov. Perry told him he was fishing where the fish are.

    Terry
    Florida

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'd love to move to California ... if it wasn't in California. Northern Sierra foothills, maybe along 395. Around but well outside Redding...

    Idaho's still my home even if I work elsewhere for a while
    Q

    ReplyDelete
  9. Notice when California had a conservative governor, it did quite well. (Arnie is no conservative.) It was deep in the red when Reagan took over and before you knew it he had the state back in the black! Same here in AZ. We had a Democrat for governor (Napolitano, good riddance) and we were really struggling. Governor Jan Brewer has us back in the black for the first time in a long time, God bless her.

    We moved to Arizona 11 years ago to get away from a state that was becoming more and more liberal every day. California is a beautiful state! The Sierra Nevadas are gorgeous, with their wonderful parks like Yosemite, King's Canyon, Sequoia and all the beautiful water falls and the HUGE trees growing in those parks and, as well as north of San Francisco.

    But as usual, when you have liberal-progressives running a state or a country, they quickly destroy all that is good. Welcoming illegals with open arms isn't helping their troubles one bit, nor is condoning and allowing the perverse GAY lifestyle to infect the schools and every walk of life. There are still enough conservative-minded people in the state that they could save it if they really wanted to. We left because no one seemed to care anymore! --Fred & Deb in AZ

    ReplyDelete
  10. One more thing, dear Patrice: You say California politicians -- both Democrat and Republican -- don't get it. They don't get why people and businesses are leaving, etc., etc. Come on, you don't really believe that now, do you? Those politicians may not be the sharpest sticks in the woodpile, but they're not dumb, either. They know precisely what they're doing. They get it! Yes, they do. And yet they continue on their same course. A course that is destroying our nation's economy and our way of life. A course that's depriving all Americans of our right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

    Then why do politicians do this? It's obvious to me, and I think it should be to everyone else. They WANT to destroy our economy and our nation! We need to stop accusing politicians of not getting it -- because they do! -- and start trying to find out WHY they're doing this, so we can stop them! --Fred in AZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely true, Fred. Thank you!

      Delete
  11. Our family fled - yes I said FLED - California in July 2008. My kids and I cheered as we crossed the border into Nevada on our way to Pennsylvania. We were able to get out and get our house sold a few months before the real estate prices crashed and the schools got flushed. One of the good things about being frugal, buying a repo & not treating your home like a bank with refinancing? We dropped the price and got the heck out.

    Tax season 2008 (for the 2007 year) I prepared taxes for 363 people & families. All together I probably talked to 500+ people about their incomes, their jobs, what their employers were doing. I came to the inevitable conclusion that the economy was about to fold. It started with construction and careers that support construction such as masonry, carpenters, building supplies, transportation. It moved into retailers cutting hours, raising prices. It showed in the number of taxpayers with multiple W2s for part-time work they had been picking up. Jobs that would have fed a family at one time, such as carpentry/plumbing/electrical, had hourly wages smashed by illegal aliens willing to work for less than minimum wage.

    Then, one day, a teacher's aide pulled me aside and let me know that one of the school plans to deal with shrinking financial revenue was to put 35 special education students (my son has autism) with one teacher and two aides. Our rural mountain school had test scores that plummeted. The number of english as a second language students soared. Students receiving free lunch climbed. We got the heck out of there and never looked back.

    We still have family there and encourage them to visit. No one in the immediate family has any desire to even visit California. We'd probably get some sort of ticket designed to fill empty coffers. My daughter went out for one week with her dad last year. Her comment? "I liked seeing grandma & grandpa, but boy I'm glad to be home!"

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've lived in Calif. for 50 years, been trying to leave for 30 of those years. Life happens, kids, grandkids, aging parents and a business all have kept us here. But now we must find a cheaper place to retire can't afford the property taxes or health care and our business is dying a slow death.
    On the bright side, I do live in a remote mountain community with like minded people who believe in God, being prepared and the 2nd Amendment.

    Jackie M.

    ReplyDelete
  13. i have only visited california twice in my lifetime-and that was enough...a short layover at the la international airport on my way to okinawa via anchorage alaska and back again six years later...opinion has not changed...i wondered then what was up with the rude abruptness of the natives, and the "dont care " attitudes. well, guess now i know-just folks reacting to ever increasing problems of the state they are in. i believe that most residents in california, be the rich or poor have brough on most of their problems onto themselves and i hate the thought of having to bail them out.

    ReplyDelete
  14. If I could get out of here, I sure would do it in a hot minute. My daughter and grandchildren are up in Montana and I so want to be closer. But, I'm upside down on my mortgage, so I'm stuck. Not to mention, I went back to school to become a teacher, now I can't find a job as a teacher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could not agree more Linda. I am also stuck in So Cal. I have been born and raised here and surely miss the California of my youth. It is very discouraging to be bound (and gagged) by an upside down mortgage and unemployment however I think this would summarize a majority of our states population. Think positive.....maybe one day we will escape:)

      Delete
    2. Fortunately, I do have a job, but it sure would be nice to do what I'm trained for. Especially when there are so many teens around my area who's parents don't give a hoot about them. It would be good to show them what "normal" looks like. But I know God has a plan and I must wait. But I'm still hoping for an escape.

      Delete
  15. Praying for a buyer to our beautiful place in far northern CA, (Mt. Lassen area) so we can come to Idaho, too! We've poured our heart and soul and every dime into our property here, most of my children were born here and we know it's past time to get out of CA.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My parents both landed in California as a result of world war II, my Mom as a nurse and my Dad on a hospital ship coming back from the european theater. When I was a kid and we used to go "back home" to visit family, Arkansas and Alabama, other kids would get excited when they found out I was from California and want to know all about it. Now, I would be ashamed to admit that is where i'm from. California is an absolutely beautiful place that has been turned into a sewer by the utopians. Don

    ReplyDelete
  17. YEP, living in CA sucks right now. I am in debt with student loans and no job. The sad thing is I am a credentialed teacher and yet because I have a few years as a teacher under my belt and more units than most ( I believe in learning new things so I can help my students)I get passed over for jobs all the time because schools don't have the money for experienced teachers so they hire ( if they have the money to) new teachers who just got out of college. With the economy the way it is and classrooms getting larger, schools need experienced teachers who know how to handle 30 or more kids behaviors in a classroom and know how to get scores up and steady. If schools don't do this soon they will be loosing a lot of money because those test scores are going to plummet, unless the school cheats on the tests ( ahem, see in first hand). My friend was straight out told by her kids teacher, 3rd grade 31 kids, "I will not get to help them all, its is a sink or swim classroom now!" The other day my husband asked me do we want to move, I say yes, however I am so scared to move to a state where I have no idea if we can get jobs. To move to a different state means my husband will loose the job he has that is keeping us afloat, but it also means cheaper everything, and maybe even a job for me a teacher or phlebotomist ( yes I just went to school paid cash to get a different career, sad isn't it) however I am the kind of person who needs to know how things are going to work, I can't just jump, I need things to be figured out before we jump...SIGH what to do, what to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What does your husband do? My hubby had a job lined up before we fled. Maybe time to do a little out of state research? Our old district is up to 30+ kids per teacher crammed into old portables on what used to be the playground.

      Delete
    2. Sheet metal and air conditioning. He is a foreman and puts in and runs the duct, puts in units, etc- he tends
      To work on colleges and hospitals who are
      Remodeling, replacing old units or
      Building, drives into Los Angeles a 1.5 or
      More
      Drive from our house. Schools here are the same, 31+ kids,y child is lucky so far only 16 in her
      Class, she is is a program where
      Student have been taught in Spanish and English since kinder. It's to a point that if she were in regular class I would highly think about homeschooling!

      Delete
  18. I lived in CA briefly when I was a kid, but don't really remember it since I was so young. I never been back and wouldn't live there if you paid me.

    My wife on the other hand says she could live there and wonders why I wouldn't. I told her here are just a few of the reasons...

    Taxes, mud slides, wild fires, earth quakes, rolling black outs, water shortages, liberals, crappy gun rights, Hollywood, terrible business climate, regulations and environmental Nazis

    NO thanks! I will stay in the Mid-West where some sense of normalcy still exists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did anyone see the Occupy The Farm protest? I'll let the article speak for itself, once our esteemed hostess approves it for the board.
      http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/
      (It's the first article entitled, "Meet the New Farm, Same as the Old Farm? Occupy Seizes Berkeley’s 'Gill Tract'.")
      Insanity, thy name is California.

      Delete
  19. Let those expensive houses go back to the bank and state that owns them. You don't own your house anyway. Don't pay your rising taxes and see. Declare bankruptcy if you have to, just swallow your pride and get out. Will life be hard? Yes. Can you work through it? Yes! This country is going to divide soon. If obuma gets re-elected or declares martial law it's on. Will you be in a lock down state or some place freer? It's sink or swim time

    ReplyDelete
  20. Saw this today. It emphasizes the effects of the Liberal Conservative divide. California ranked 49, gosh how surprising.

    http://cfif.org/v/index.php/commentary/61/1399-the-results-are-in-conservative-states-prosper-while-liberal-states-decline

    But just try to put that in the face of any Liberal politrickian and out will come a maze of lies, deceit, and outright BS.

    Winston

    ReplyDelete
  21. Patrice,

    I thought you might enjoy Fred's latest. Like usual he brought many smiles, even a few good giggles on a subject near and dear to your heart. Enjoy!

    http://www.fredoneverything.net/Enstupidation.shtml

    Winston

    ReplyDelete
  22. Speaking of California, I just saw this info for you: Your former idol, Jane Goodall, is going to be Grand Marshal of the 2013 Pasadena Rose Parade. Maybe you could visit then!
    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/04/25/jane_goodall_named_grand_marshal_of_rose_parade/
    --K in OK <><

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, that would be a wee bit far to travel -- but I'll be she'll have a blast!

      I met Jane Goodall briefly in 1978 following a lecture she gave and to which my dad kindly drove me (it was a couple hours' drive away). Got my book autographed and everything. I had stars in my eyes.

      - Patrice

      Delete
  23. In my state I find that the Californians come here causing forested areas to be cut down to build the California-like houses they want to buy, bringing non-native plants many of us are allergic to for landscaping, voting in the same ways that caused the problems in their states, and with a bad attitude about how 'In California things are this way'. It's not just the politicians there...it's the majority of people cluelessly bringing their poison with them to the rest of us. It's no surprise there's more articles bashing them than not since those entitled jerks make the rest of us have issues with all the rest of them.
    The general rule seems to be that if you're a native you can hardly stand to even have this subject brought up in polite conversation.

    ReplyDelete