What happened to the Golden State?
The golden patina has flaked off the "model for the nation." What happened? For one thing, California's leaders believed their own propaganda:
During his State of the State Address in January, California Gov. Jerry Brown spun a tale that reached all the way back to the first Spanish Missions, through the gold-seeking '49ers, and up to the founding of Apple. "What is this but the most diverse, creative and longest standing mass migration in the history of the world," Brown said of the Golden State. "The rest of the country looks to California. Not for what is conventional, but for what is necessary to keep faith with our courageous forebears." It's a nice story. And up through the tech boom in the late 1990s, it was largely true. California was an engine for innovation and job growth. It was a prime destination for middle-class families throughout the country who were looking for a better life. But it isn't true anymore. More Americans now emigrate from California to other states than immigrate from other states to California. This exodus has cost California more than 1.5 million residents since 2000. And the reason is simple -- the jobs are fleeing first. ... California is no longer a model that other states want to or should emulate. It currently has the nation's third highest unemployment rate, its highest poverty rate and more than one-third of the nation's welfare recipients.Looks like what we've already seen at the city level is also true for States. You can import poverty for only so long, and then all that diversity is no longer the colorful exception, but the norm. Then the "white flight" begins. This raises another question: If it can happen at both the city and State levels, can it happen at the national level as well? There are those who are not just willing, but eager to find out. I'm not one of them.