“Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California – where nearly one out of five residents is poor.”
That is the beginning of a great op-ed that I saw in the L.A. Times by Kerry Jackson called “Why is liberal California the poverty capital of America?”
It amazes me that liberals in California, in the name of fixing things and making life fair, have destroyed it. They have created chaos instead.
They have the most stringent gun control laws in the nation, and yet have the worst gun crimes i all 50 states.
They have the liberals dream of legislation to steal from the rich and give to the poor, and yet have obtained the title of Poverty Capital of America!
Generous welfare policies, lack of pro-work welfare reform, self-interested bureaucracies that want to keep the welfare rolls high, restrictive land-use regulations, out-of-control environmental rules, high minimum wage, and high-speed rail… all designed to help the poor.
All by themselves, extensive environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions make energy more expensive, also hurting the poor. By some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50% higher than the national average.
Jackson goes on…
Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.
Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).
California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.
Obviously, one reason for the increase in California’s poverty rate is the state’s high cost-of-living including sky-high housing costs (median home price of $519,100) and because of high taxes and energy costs.
But there are so many items that Sacramento has tried to micromanage, just focusing on one item is almost impossible.
Kerry Jackson identifies several specific factors that collectively contribute to making California the “poverty capital of America.” We already covered welfare, housing and energy. Jackson also throws in the $15 an hour minimum wage.
Looking to help poor and low-income residents, California lawmakers recently passed a measure raising the minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour by 2022 — but a higher minimum wage will do nothing for the 60% of Californians who live in poverty and don’t have jobs.
Research indicates that it could cause many who do have jobs to lose them. “Estimates suggest that a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14% increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating),” according to a Harvard University study. These restaurants are a significant source of employment for low-skilled and entry-level workers.
With a permanent majority in the state Senate and the Assembly, a prolonged dominance in the executive branch and a weak opposition, California Democrats have long been free to indulge blue-state ideology while paying little or no political price.
The state’s poverty problem is unlikely to improve while policymakers remain unwilling to unleash the engines of economic prosperity that drove California to its golden years.
California lawmakers recently passed a measure raising the minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour by 2022. A higher minimum wage will do nothing for the 60% of Californians who live in poverty and don’t have jobs. Research indicates that it could cause many who do have jobs to lose them.
Of course then there is the Nancy Pelosi school of thought:
Not everyone is meant to be a “worker”. Some do not work to protest the system of capitalism. Others wish to devote their time to writing poetry or song lyrics or publicly playing instruments.
So just how is all this working out for you California? I give the state 5 more years to be in total collapse.
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