You know that line, of course you do. Supposedly it is THE most popular wedding song ever. You can check in but.... Well, sometimes California as state feels like the disaster you can't escape. The reality is that plenty of people ARE escaping California. The people left behind either envy them or denigrate them. Oh... they cashed out their equity! Or ugh... don't let the door hit you on your way out!
Being "pro" or "anti" California is like some sort of weird partisan team sport. You join your team, you hate the other team and denigrate the opposition's fans at every opportunity, and you never waste time questioning your own strategy. Anyone semi sane should be a little less partisan and a little more willing to confront reality. The reality is that California has been in trouble, obvious trouble, for longer than I have been alive.
But the disaster of California is such that true believers need to be bludgeoned --metaphorically-- with facts and evidence. A couple of weeks ago someone more senior than I at the MarinGOP had a bit of a back-and-forth with a member of the press --yes, apparently they still have print newspapers, pity more print journalists don't have more of a lust for the inky battles that made Western newspapers so fabulous a hundred and thirty years ago-- and asked me to come up with a list of "linkable" sources for our bullet point list of current and ongoing California fails and disasters. (Because apparently using a search engine is hard for the modern journalist. To paraphrase the great Dan Bongino, if you call yourself a "journalist" why don't you do journalism stuff? Like investigate a claim? Crazy idea. Just crazy idea.) So... I stepped in and made a list of links to back up our "bullet point" list of California fails.
Some of this is truly shocking. The apathy of too many California voters is also shocking. But, it isn't really all apathy. A lot of it is a lack of knowledge. Maybe the average voter actually thinks the average "journalist" would share some facts once in awhile. Because the voters deserve facts. So... here are some facts. Do your own research. And please, share and share again. Because this is news people should be aware of. Because it isn't sane to ignore problems. No matter how much you love California there is a point when our beautiful golden state will be so tarnished, so trashed, so damaged and so unlivable that we will all fall out of love.
1) Tax Tax and Tax Some More! Taxes are a weird topic. California is famous for leveling "fees" instead of taxes. But if you are paying the bill it is still money out of your pocket. As the legendary Barack Obama once said, there are winners and losers. So not everyone pays taxes in California. But according to the people who do the taxes for close to a quarter of all adult Americans, California has some of the highest "Functional" state income taxes in the country! You can read about it here: Hey... if it is good enough for Turbotax it is good enough for us.
2) Poverty Central: California has the highest Functional Poverty Rate in the Nation. What does "functional" poverty rate mean? Well, it describes the tragic reality that while you can live a fairly comfortable middle class lifestyle in most of the United States on a "family income" of forty thousand dollars a year --single family home, decent used car, etc.-- in California people really don't have much of a quality of life unless they are part of the ten percent or one percent. Don't believe us? Well even that well known RIGHT WING RAG --that is sarcasm for those who don't encounter it much-- Politifact acknowledges that California has the highest FUNCTIONAL poverty rate in the nation when taking into consideration cost of living. Frankly I'd rather be low income in New Hampshire than California, the actual cost of living in New Hampshire is significantly lower so you can have a better quality of life on less, in New Hampshire than in California. Maybe that is why so many middle income Californians and retirees are voting with their feet and moving to states where they can live better for less. You can read about it here!
3) Homelessness is a Growth Industry: Hey... it's a crisis. Ok a certain local newspaper recently called it a "conundrum" but with numbers like this it is actually a crisis. The homeless encampments scattered throughout urban and suburban locales alike are a human tragedy of epic proportions. Rates are all over the board, but you can read the big study in urban.org by clicking here. Frankly the "homeless count" is probably off... We don't have good post pandemic numbers yet. But most serious stats suggest the ONLY place in the United States with proportionally more homeless people is the nation's capitol. And guess what? D.C. isn't a state. Yet. You can read about the comparative homeless rates here in Statista.
4) Sanctuary for Undocumented Criminals: This is very well documented. At a high level the state government of California has chosen NOT to cooperate with ICE regarding "undocumented" people who come in to contact with local law enforcement. Newsom's government treats "non violent" offenses as minor issues. On the other hand, anyone who has lost a loved one to an accident caused by someone driving under the influence probably has a VERY DIFFERENT perspective regarding what qualifies as "criminal." The Left acts like it is somehow "dehumanizing" to talk about "undocumented criminals"... We feel that it is even more dehumanizing to ignore the individual tragedies of the victims of crimes. The reality is that regardless of the intentions of politicians, innocent residents of California have become victims as a result of the non cooperation "sanctuary state" policies pursued by Sacramento. If we value human life we must value the lives of victims. You can read about a few of the individual victims of crime here. Every victim deserves an individual voice. These were people, with hopes and dreams. They deserve to be more than crime stats. California's undocumented criminal sanctuary policy helped turn these people into stats.
5) Educational Fails: California isn't as bad as it used to be, but only because the rest of the country is nose diving towards the bottom. This may come as a shock, but the MarinGOP wants the best for children. And we believe children deserve BETTER than they are currently getting as a result of the failed educational policies of this one party state. California ranks somewhere in the thirties when it comes to comparitive education ranks. These are "low grades" if not failing grades. You can read about it here. Our teachers are comparatively well paid, but our test scores are frankly abysmal. You can read about the "winners and losers" of the California education system here. California's educational ranking has now "improved" to the high 30s according to USA Today. USA Today may not be the best newspaper in America, but their stats are usually decent and a good reflection of public perception. And frankly if you are the ambitious parent of a child you WOULD not be moving to California to enroll that kid in a K-12. You can see the USAToday stats by clicking here.
6) Spend More For Less the Cost of Living Index: Again, if the District of Columbia was a state, California would not look quite as bad as it does. But, as is, currently the state of Hawaii is the ONLY actual state with a higher functional cost of living in California. You can check out our comparative cost of living indexes here.
7) Gasoline Prices: A few months ago we thought most stats were clear that California had the SECOND HIGHEST gas prices in the nation. Now that it is July of 2021 and the tourist trade in Hawaii has almost collapsed, California is literally almost neck and neck with Hawaii.... So... California MAY actually now have the highest gas prices in the nation. Talk about pain at the pump! You can read about it here! If you want to spend less at the pump just go somewhere other than than California and Hawaii!
8) Worst Highways in the Nation: Have you driven outside California lately? The difference can be shocking. (It is so nice and smooth once you cross the border!) Once again California is saved by the horror of the District of Columbia. You can read about it here in US News.
9) Billions Missing in EDD Unemployment Benefits Scandal: Back in 2020 when millions of Californians were thrown out of work by shutdown and desperately attempting to file for their EARNED unemployment benefits it appears that a lot of crooks and conmen were SUCCESSFULLY skimming BILLIONS of dollars of OUR money. The LA Times, the OC Register and other news agencies covered this extensively in the first few months of 2021. Six months ago we thought the fraud was MERELY 8 billion, it is now well over 30 billion. That is billion, not million. Theoretically, that kind of money could fix the school system. The links are here: ABC7 California EDD Unemployment Fraud. LA Times California Unemployment Fraud. CBS8 Local California's Unemployment Mess Explained. ABC7 News California EDD Unemployment Fraud.
10) Unfunded Pension Liabilities: There are a lot of different sources for this. The reality is we don't know HOW underfunded the CALPERS system is. This is a respectable source that shows some of the problems.