The Late Great State of California
By Todd Strandberg
No other state outranks California in the prosperity of people and financial wealth. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. California’s economy, with a gross state product of $3.0 trillion, is larger than that of any other U.S. state and is the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.
The Golden State has recently lost its luster in some profoundly karmic fashion. In the richest urban areas, there is a growing homeless problem with tent compounds, used needles, and human excrement on the doorstep of million-dollar homes. Because everything is so expensive, California has the highest poverty rate in America. Here in Arkansas, we spend $2.25 for a gallon of gasoline; in California, some people are paying $4.49 per gallon.
California’s notoriety as the nation’s most impoverished state doesn’t stem from a lack of programs designed to alleviate poverty. The state is currently spending hundreds of millions on the homeless crisis. San Francisco is on the verge of havoc generated by a homeless population, which is roughly 1% of the total populace (around 9,000 homeless and a total population of 860,000.) The problem could easily double or triple.
It’s obvious that California is going down the drain because it has political leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters. I recently read about a Rep. Katie Hill who had to quit because she had an inappropriate sexual relationship. The California voters decided it would be nifty to elect the first bisexual congresswoman. A couple years later, a video of Hill shows up in a British newspaper that has her naked in an adulterous situation with a female staffer; they are smoking pot, and Hill has Nazi tattoos on her body. The only reason she had to resign was because of a House rule barring members from sleeping with their subordinates.
I had given up on California when it decided to return former Governor Jerry Brown to the office that earned him the title ‘Governor Moonbeam’ in the 1970s. When Brown was forced to step down by term limits, the voters replaced him with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. He came from the Bay Area, which guarantees that Sacramento would stay focused on a culturally liberal agenda.
The most glaring indication that California has lost its way are the power blackouts. Over the past month, more than three million people have lost power across California as part of a deliberate blackout by utility PG&E Corp, which is designed to keep power lines from igniting wildfires. PG&E’s equipment was identified as the cause of the Camp Fire in November 2018 that killed 86 people and destroyed the town of Paradise. It was the deadliest blaze in California history.
Another major blaze has already erupted, and the now bankrupt PG&E is facing an uncertain future. The company is already saddled with an estimated $30 billion in liabilities. PG&E’s stock price has gone from a recent high of $70.38 to a low last week of $3.55. California has truly reached a third-world status when the wind speed determines if your home is going to have electrical power.
A recent poll of the state’s registered voters by Cal’s Institute of Governmental Studies revealed that half have considered leaving the state. The top reason was the high cost of housing, high taxation, and crime. Many people are leaving California, but the inflow of illegal migrants keeps the numbers fairly balanced, resulting in a net population loss of only 38,000 for 2018. With many of the millions of migrants taking advantage of California’s welfare system, the state will someday run out of money.
I’m sure most Californian’s still love their cities. It is a land of some of the most glorious wealth on the planet. There have been many songs written about the state, but the only one that is still appropriate is the sinister theme of the Eagles “Hotel California.” The dream of heaven on earth has turned into a hellish nightmare. Unlike in the song, believers in Christ have the ability to check out and leave the socialist mess that will eventually sweep over all 50 states.
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name” (Hebrews 13:14-15).