Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 5, 2009 / 9 Adar 5769

Accounting for California's suicide

By Victor Davis Hanson


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What went wrong in California? I think we can all agree on at least three observations.


First, California is by nature the most richly endowed region in the world. Nowhere else is there so much fertile land, watered by gravity-fed winter runoff from the majestic Sierra. California has ample supplies of oil and natural gas. Millions of acres of timber abound in its coastal and mountain forests. Temperate climate and weather allow outdoor activity almost year round. The coastline is over 1300 miles long — with two of the great natural ports of the world at Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay.


Second, prior can-do generations of Californians created an unparalleled infrastructure of dams, canals and hydroelectric generation that once provided the state with ample energy, irrigation and recreation. Its three-tier higher education system — 110 junior colleges, 23 state universities, and 10 University of California campuses — once ensured a literate populace.


We associate Hollywood with the world's motion picture industry. Napa Valley tops the wines of France. The Silicon Valley fueled the high-tech revolution that gave us Apple, Google, Hewitt-Packard, Intel and Yahoo. Millions of tourists each year flock to Disneyland, Death Valley, Kings Canyon, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite.


California remains America's richest farming state, leading the nation in fresh fruit, vegetable, nut and dairy production. In other words, the present generation enjoyed quite a head start on their lives through the work and investment of often forgotten predecessors.


The final observation we can agree on is that something has gone drastically wrong in the state in the last two decades.


California managed to achieve all at once the nation's highest sales and income tax rates — and yet also the largest annual state deficit. So far under Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's tenure, state spending grew 34.9 percent, well beyond inflation and population that increased only 21.5 percent. And yet the governor often prevented the state Legislature from spending even more it didn't have.


The budgets of Medi-Cal, the state-run health program for the poor, are out of control. Prison costs increased about 50 percent in less than a decade, and now claim almost 10 percent of state spending — almost as much as higher education.


The state is in its third year of drought. Billions of dollars of agricultural production are threatened by water cut-offs. Yet California hasn't build a major dam or canal in years.


Biannual state proposition initiatives, often put on the ballot by narrow special interests, allowed voters to vote for additional entitlements and benefits without providing the money to pay for them. Yet Californians are not an informed electorate, as the state's mediocre high schools experience 30 percent dropout rates.


More than half a million aliens are caught each year trying to enter California's southern border illegally. Some estimates put illegal alien state residents at 3 million, a population that may cost the state's taxpayers more than $13 billion per year for services.


California has the worst credit rating in the nation. It has the fourth highest unemployment rate and the second highest home foreclosure rate, thanks to enormously inflated prices due in part to complicated building regulations, high labor costs, and often Byzantine land-use restrictions. California's net state-to-state migration loss was higher than every other state. Most reports suggest that those who are leaving the state are far more highly educated than those entering it.


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.


In short, after Californians sue, restrict, mandate, obstruct and lecture, they also get angry that there is suddenly not enough food, fuel, water and money to act like the gods that they think they have become.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


Archives

© 2009, TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles